Friday night 9,000 Toronto Transit Commission’s unionized workers voted on a tentative deal with the TTC and, despite the expectation by both the media and Toronto residents that they would either accept the deal or give 48 hours notice of any strike action, they did not accept the deal and went on immediate strike at midnight. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 President Bob Kinnear had endorsed the deal, but it is speculated that a number of maintenance workers were not happy with the lack of job security given in the agreement.
The immediate strike action was taken because the union feared for the safety of its workers. However, the immediate strike left thousands of shift workers and young club goers alike, many who live in the suburbs, with a struggle to get home in the middle of the night as they were either asked to leave the transit mid-ride or did not find out about the strike until trying to get home.
As soon as the strike was called Friday night, Mayor David Miller asked Premier Dalton McGuinty to convene the Ontario Legislature at their earliest convenience to bring in back-to-work legislation. The Legislative Assembly of Ontario had a special sitting Sunday afternoon at 1:30. They had unanimous agreement by all parties to dispense with a number of the formalities that usually go into passing legislation to simplify the process.
After an introduction by the Premier, and responses by Howard Hampton, leader of the NDP, Brad Duguid, Minister of Labour, and MPPs Robert Runciman and Peter Sherman, Bill 66, Toronto Public Transit Service Resumption Act, 2008, went into Second and Third Reading votes. To speed up the process, it was not noted who voted, but instead a simple call for “All in favour say ‘Aye'” was made.
Bill 66 was passed within 31 minutes; it then went to Lieutenant Governor David Onley who gave it Royal Assent within less than an hour, shortly after 2:30 p.m. The TTC did go back to work and buses, streetcars and subways were running again by 8:00 last night.