Bob Kinnear steps down as head of TTC union

Resignation follows weeks of lockout by international leadership

The president of the TTC workers union has called it quits, after a lengthy battle over the group’s affiliation with its U.S-based parent company.

A statement, released Friday afternoon by the executive board  of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, said Bob Kinnear, who had led the organization since 2003, has decided to step down.

“With this distraction behind us, we’re now focused on what matters most — representing Toronto’s hardworking transit workers,”said secretary-treasurer Kevin Morton in the statement.

“More united then ever, we’re moving forward to fight the TTC’s plans for alcohol and drug testing and to prepare for next year’s important collective bargaining.”

Kinnear has not commented about his decision to resign.

He joined the TTC in 1988 as a janitor and worked to his way up from bus driver, to subway guard before becoming head of the union.

Over the past six weeks Kinnear has had a difficult time at the Local 113, which represents 1,000 workers at the transit agency. On Feb. 13 representatives from the locals U.S.-based parent company, Amalgamated Transit Union International, locked out Kinnear, along with the rest of Local executives, from their headquarters on Wilson Avenue and placed the local under trusteeship.

ATU International, which is based in Maryland, claimed Kinnear was trying to separate from the U.S. organization without proper consent of the local’s membership.

Brad Ross, spokesperson for the TTC, issued a statement Friday saying the transit organization wishes Kinnear well in his “future endeavours.”

In the wake of Kinnear’s sudden resignation, Larry Hanley, president of ATU International, also issued a statement saying that “important changes” are needed to restore trust back in the local.

“The last six weeks have been extraordinarily difficult for them and their families, in fact, the entire labour movement,” he said.

“As this traumatizing chapter comes to a close, there are still work to be done and important changes to be made to restore trust within the Locals and across the Canadian Labour Congress.”

The board will now assume leadership of the union.