Amalgamated Transit Union Canadian Council

Amalgamated Transit Union Canadian Council

April 10, 2012 15:48 ET

National Transit Union Outraged at Bus Driver's Suspension for Washroom Break

REXDALE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 10, 2012) - The Amalgamated Transit Union Canadian Council takes serious issue with the discipline of a Mississauga bus driver who was suspended for 5 days by Mississauga Transit for taking time to use the washroom while on duty.

"This is a national issue which affects the health and safety of both our country's bus drivers, and the public at large", says Stan Dera, Director of the ATU's Canadian Council.

There are numerous studies which confirm that forcing an individual to wait an unreasonable amount of time to use the washroom has serious effects both in the short term and in the long term. In the short term, a driver's concentration is diminished, which endangers both the driver and the passengers on the vehicle. In the long term, there are significant medical consequences to the individual, including bladder damage and kidney disease.

While the health and safety risks are of course paramount, this issue also engages basic human dignity. "Mississauga Transit is treating drivers as if they were children", says Dera, "and this could set a dangerous precedent in terms of how transit operators and, in fact, all employees, are treated by their employers. We're not in grade school any more, and we shouldn't require permission to use the washroom. If a driver says he or she has 'to go', they mean it."

Dera also says that this suspension is yet another slap in the face for bus drivers after recent setbacks in their struggle against workplace violence. "It just goes to show that our employers do not take our complaints seriously. We are regularly subjected to assault, and transit employers fail to take steps to protect our safety. In fact, they actively compromise it with ridiculous suspensions like this. It's one more blow in the open season on bus drivers".

The local ATU union (Local 1572) has filed a grievance, and Dera says that the Canadian Council is fully behind the local. "We know that this local has been raising this issue for years, and we fully support their fight against this insupportable and dangerous suspension."

The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labour union for transit workers in North America with over 180,000 members. The ATU membership includes bus, subway, light rail and ferry operators, clerks, baggage handlers, mechanics and others in public transit, inter-city and school bus industries.

Contact Information

  • For more information or to schedule an interview with
    Stan Dera, Canadian Director, ATU
    please contact his office at
    416-679-8846