Ousted president of ATU Local 113 says he won't step aside
Members of ATU Local 113 speak with ousted president Bob Kinnear following a news conference on Tuesday. (Brian Carr)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, February 7, 2017 1:13PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 7, 2017 2:31PM EST
The ousted president of a union representing more than 10,000 TTC workers is refusing to cede control of the organization.
Last week the U.S.-based Amalgamated Transit Union placed ATU Local 113 in a trusteeship in the wake of what it says was a “secretive” attempt by President Bob Kinnear to end the local’s affiliation with the parent union.
At the time, the ATU removed Kinnear and 16 other executives from their positions; however 10 of those people have since been reinstated.
In a news release issued Tuesday, the temporary trustee of ATU Local 113 accused Kinnear of violating his oath of office by pursuing a split with the ATU while being paid by the union.
Kinnear, however, told reporters at a subsequent news conference that he still considers himself to be the rightful leader of ATU Local 113.
Unifor national president Jerry Dias joined Kinnear at the press conference in a show of solidarity.
“As far as I am concerned I am still representing the members as best as I can,” Kinnear said. “I will do the best I can despite being thrown out of office and despite being cut off from any of the relevant information I need to represent the members.”
Kinnear has previously said that he filed an application with the Canadian Labour Congress so members could ultimately decide whether they wanted to be part of the ATU.
He said that union members need to call for an “orderly democratic process” so this issue can be settled once and for all.
Dias, meanwhile, said that his union will stand behind Kinnear amid what he referred to as "disgusting" tactics by the ATU.
“The only group of people that can remove Bob Kinnear and the executive board from their positions is the members that elected them in the first place,” he said. “In no way, shape or form can somebody sitting in Washington make a royal decree about putting a local in trusteeship because they want to exercise their democratic options.”
Some union stewards have signed letter denouncing Kinnear’s actions
On Monday, the ATU announced that 72 per cent of Local 113 shop stewards have signed a letter denouncing Kinnear’s attempt to pursue a vote on membership in the ATU.
Kinnear said that he has received more than 1,000 supportive calls and emails, though, and believes he has the support of members.
Asked about comments from several current members of ATU Local 113 who have denounced his actions, Kinnear conceded that the “division” in Local 113 is “not all directed at the international.”
He then said that the local has “a lot of weak-kneed leaders that are prepared to flip flop and go back and forth.”
“I have been consistent in standing up for Canadian values and standing up for the members I was elected to represent. I will continue to do that despite all the assertions,” he said. “I am trying to provide a democratic opportunity for our members so they can control their future and not my future.”
Kinnear is currently pursuing a court injunction to regain control of Local 113.