Kinnear asks judge to jail rival leader as struggle for control of TTC union continues
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 10:23AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 23, 2017 11:41AM EST
The legal fight for control over a union representing more than 10,000 TTC employees was back in court today as the reinstated president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 asked a judge to toss a rival leader in jail for violating a previous order.
Bob Kinnear, who is the longtime leader of ATU Local 113, and his entire executive board were ousted from their roles on Feb. 3 after the union’s American-based parent organization placed the local under a trusteeship and put international Vice-President Manny Sforza in charge. A total of 12 members of the executive board were then reinstated later that day after they reportedly signed "loyalty oaths" to the American union.
At the time, Sforza accused Kinnear of “single-handedly and secretly” attempting to end an affiliation with the ATU and deliver his members to Unifor. Kinnear, however, argued that he only wanted to give members a chance to vote on which union they wanted to be affiliated with and accused the parent organization of suppressing democracy. Kinnear then sought a court injunction to regain control of ATU Local 113, which he was granted on Tuesday.
Just hours later, though, the executive board of the local passed a motion of no-confidence in Kinnear’s leadership and two other elected officers who purportedly helped him in pursuing a split with the ATU.
"A Canadian court has upheld a democratic vote of our members to elect their chief representative,” Kinnear said in a statement released after that vote. “Now this executive board thinks it can simply ignore both the vote of the members and a court decision upholding that vote."
The motion that was put before an Ontario Superior Court justice today asked that Sforza be found in contempt of the Feb. 21 court order and be fined and imprisoned for “such period and on such terms as the court directs.” The motion also asked the judge to make an order, barring Sforza and the Amalgamated Transit Union from “threatening, intimidating, or otherwise communicating directly or indirectly with any officer of Local 113.
The hearing, which was largely procedural, has been adjourned until Monday. Kinnear was not present in court.