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TTC union calls for mass testing at maintenance facility

Last Updated Apr 18, 2020 at 11:23 pm EDT

The union which represents TTC workers is calling for mass testing at the Queensway garage after four employees recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 president Carlos Santos wants Toronto Public Health to send a mobile health unit to the division to test every worker who may have come in contact with the four who have already tested positive and four others who are now showing symptoms.

“We need serious and decisive action to stop this outbreak from becoming a lethal cluster and spreading any further,” said Santos.

The union is also criticizing the TTC for not adopting the same measures it did when an outbreak occurred at another maintenance facility, which included sending workers home as a precautionary measure.

“With respect to the Queensway garage, we did not see the same precautionary measure adopted by the TTC,” said ATU Canada President, John Di Nino. “Furthermore, we want the TTC to implement all of our demands to ensure the safety of all passengers and transit workers.”

Aside from the mass testing, the union is also calling for every worker to self-isolate with full pay for the next 14 days or until their have tested negative along with a deep cleaning of the Queensway facilities.

Last week, 38 TTC bus drivers walked off the job over coronavirus safety concerns after a subway operator from the Wilson Division tested positive.

On Friday, the TTC said it would be distributing masks and other protective equipment to drivers this weekend.

The transit agency said it had already received a shipment of 15,000 multi-use disposable polypropylene masks and that another 10,000 would be arriving on Monday.

“These masks are being distributed to bus divisions now and are intended as an interim measure while we manufacture and distribute reusable cloth masks over the next two to three weeks,” said TTC spokesperson Stuart Green. “This weekend, bus operators will receive two masks each to start along with their gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.”

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