Monday, 27 February 2017
Donovan Ritch, a rank and file member of ATU Local 113
On February 3, 2017, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 was placed under trusteeship of its parent union, the ATU International. What this practically meant in the initial stage was that the entire 17-member elected executive board was dismissed and physically locked out of the union office, the monthly democratic membership meeting for February cancelled, and Manny Sforza, former Local 113 executive board member and current International Vice-President, appointed as temporary trustee to direct the affairs of the Local. The trusteeship was imposed swiftly in response to Local President Bob Kinnear's approach to the Canadian Labour Congress on February 1st, which was enacted with the intention of initiating a process of disaffiliation of the Local from the ATU. In the drama that has ensued both Kinnear and Sforza have claimed to be the defenders of workers' democracy in the union, when in reality both have been responsible for actions that are completely the opposite. From the standpoint of the rank and file, there has yet to be legitimate political case made for either trusteeship or disaffiliation, and as a result, this entire episode appears to be one of settling long-standing bureaucratic rivalries while workers are pushed to the sideline in the process.