Tuesday, December 13, 2011

YRT/VIVA Strike: The Rest of Mr. Doyle's Story

As the York Region Transit Strike drags on into it's eighth week, union leaders are still trying to get their message out to the public, the Region of York and the contractors that the unions are unhappy with the current private contracting arrangement using contractors Veolia, Miller and First Group.  ATU Union Local 1587 President Ray Doyle though has taken the step too far by not telling the full truth behind York Region Transit's history and it's current operations.

Ray Doyle was interviewed on CityTV saying that:

GO Transit, a government operated transit system, paying better wages and benefits, operated regional service...York Region transit service in Richmond Hill and they turned a profit on those lines and now it's turned over to the Region they put four private contractors in place and they are subsized at $4.10 per ride. I would like Bill Fisch to explain to the taxpayers of this Region why now with all these contractors that he says are working so well is costing the taxpayers so much more money to operate. - Ray Doyle, ATU 1587, CityTV Interview.

Mr. Doyle continued speaking to the media on this same issue when David Fleisher who is a reporter for Yorkregion.com caught up to Mr. Doyle:

Mr. Doyle pointed out GO Transit used to run profitable routes on Bayview Avenue and Yonge Street, while the region’s taxpayers subsidize more than 60 per cent of every transit ride. - Yorkregion.com Story

What Mr. Doyle fails to understand is the full history of York Region Transit (YRT).  He is completely right that, in 2003, Region of York purchased GO Transit's old Yonge "C" Route on Yonge Street and the Bayview Avenue route and were notably profitable. 

What Mr. Doyle fails to explain was that 2 years earlier, in 2001, the Region of York amalgamated five municipal transit agencies (Vaughan Transit, Richmond Hill Transit, Markham Transit, Newmarket Transit and the former Aurora Transit) into one Regionally controlled and funded agency.  Each of these individual agencies had contracted their operations out to contractors like Miller, Laidlaw and Can-ar.  These routes include same routes that Mr. Doyle's own Union Members now drive including Route 85 along Rutherford Road, Route 1 along Highway 7 in Markham and others.  These same routes and other neighbourhood routes (like the 86 Weldrick-Newkirk) are not currently profitable at all because there just is not the ridership or these routes travel long distances through winding neighbourhoods in search of passengers.  Bottom line Mr. Doyle, you conveniently left out the old routes the municipal transit agencies used to operate that never were intended to be profitable and thus only provided half the truth.

By conveniently leaving out the other 95% of the pieces that make up the Region of York, and probably 80% of ATU Local 1587 (i.e. Mr. Doyle's) membership, it is quite easy for Mr. Doyle to try and paint the Region and the contractors as money mismanagers. But then again, perhaps Mr. Doyle is subtely suggestiong that the Region should get rid of 80% of Mr. Doyle's membership and the contractors and invite GO Transit to resume service along the Yonge "C" Service and Bayview Avenue.  The real question in all of this, do the other 80% of the drivers stand behind Mr. Doyle and his suggestion of Union Layoffs or half truths? 

Mr. Doyle should study up on the History of York Region Transit a little better.  Obviously he doesn't know the full history otherwise Mr. Doyle, as President of ATU Local 1587, would know of regional amalgamation of transit through Aurora Transit, Markham Transit, Newmarket Transit, Richmond  Hill Transit and Vaughan transit in 2001 and not just the purchase of the GO Transit Routes.  Otherwise Ray Doyle and the ATU Local 1587 has slid into only conveniently telling half truths during this strike which will never stand up in the court of law where in most jurisdictions it is "the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God".

1 comment:

  1. I agree that union leaders distort information to their benefit often leaving out essential information which result in members not seeing the full picture. This is all to garner support of members to justify their existence!

    At the end of the day, it is the unions that are hurting their members, the company, the government, the country. Labour is usually one of the largest cost element for any organization. How reasonable is it to expect government and companies not to try to rein in costs under the current economic environment? Most people not in the unions and other countries worry about keeping their jobs whereas for us, the unions continue to demand increases in pay, benefits. It is the unions that is causing tax increases, increases in transit, medical costs, governments to be in deficit, high electricity prices, etc... Do employees who are in the unions understand the consequences? When companies cannot make ends meet, have to shut down or when Canada becomes less competitive and attractive to investors with higher labour costs and taxes,these union employees may be many of those people without jobs or for that matter, there will be no benefits or pension plans when the government or companies go bankrupt. There is no bottomless pocket these days. Just like your personal financial situation, you have to stay within budget or risk being out on the street. Think of what is happening with the government in Greece or when Ford has to cut cost and choose to produce in other countries and not in Canadian plants because we are expensive!

    If these union employees are smart, they should just overthrow their union leaders who are compromising their future, the future of the country, our children for short term gain and their political career.

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