TTC union board votes 'no confidence' in Bob Kinnear after court reinstates him

A Toronto judge has reinstated Bob Kinnear as the head of the TTC's largest union after he was suspended for allegedly trying to split the local from its U.S.-based parent Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).

Executive board says it condemns alleged attempt by Kinnear to split local from U.S. parent

Union leader Bob Kinnear made his case at a TTC board meeting Wednesday, arguing the testing, which the board agreed in April to implement, only serves to give the public a false sense of security. (CBC)

The executive board of the TTC's largest union local says it has unanimously approved a motion of "no confidence" in the leadership of Bob Kinnear.

In a statement late Tuesday, the board said the move follows a decision by a Toronto judge to reinstate Kinnear as head of the the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 and it came during an emergency session of the board held in Toronto. Local 113 represents some 11,000 TTC workers.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny reinstated Kinnear, who had been suspended for allegedly trying to split the local from its U.S.-based parent. Penny slammed the suspension.
Bob Kinnear has been reinstated as president of the local arm of an international union that represents some 11,000 TTC workers. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The board, in a news release late Tuesday, said it condemned Kinnear's alleged attempt to split the local from its U.S.-based parent and it called on him to "cease and desist" from continuing his alleged campaign.

It said it also demanded that he refrain from any attempt to sue the union over his suspension and hold Local 113 responsible for any damages.

As well, the board approved a motion of "no confidence" in two elected members who allegedly helped Kinnear in his alleged attempt to split the union local from its parent.

And it said the board went on record to oppose "all efforts to decertify, disaffiliate or raid Local 113."

Union local placed under trusteeship

Earlier this month, the ATU alleged Kinnear was suspended for a "secretive effort" to get Local 113 out of the larger union without its members knowledge.

In the interim, the union local was placed under the temporary trusteeship of the ATU's international representative, Manny Sforza, who is based in Toronto.

In the decision of the case, Justice Penny slammed the trusteeship as an attempt to "quell dissent" and "silence opposition." 

Following Kinnear's reinstatement, Sforza called Tuesday "a sad day for all workers in our city," saying the decision "undermines a long history of union democracy in the province."

Reinstatement called 'breakthrough'

Ten of the union local's 17 executives were also suspended along with Kinnear, but were reinstated later that day. Sforza said all 17 were immediately suspended when the union local was placed under trusteeship.

Kinnear alleged the major shakeup is due to Local 113's affiliation with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). Recently, Kinnear said he approached the CLC to mediate a dispute between his workers and the ATU, and he believed that led to his suspension.

"They don't believe in Canadian autonomy," he said, following his suspension, adding he didn't want Local 113 to separate from the ATU. 

In a statement Tueday, Tim Gleason, a lawyer for Kinnear, called the decision "a breakthrough for Canadian union members who want to break free of American organizations that have dominated them for decades."

TTC employees are now entitled to vote for their interests as a result of the ruling, he added.