Meet ATU International Vice President candidate Bob Kinnear, a powerful voice for transit workers in Toronto for thirteen years — a leader with the track record, the commitment and the passion for the change we need.

No ATU member in Canada was ever better qualified to represent transit workers than Bob Kinnear. A seasoned leader with years of on-the-ground experience, Bob worked his way up through TTC Operations as a Maintenance Worker, Bus Operator, Collector, Subway Operator, Subway Guard, and finally as the youngest-ever President and Business Agent in the hundred-year history of his union.

In his thirteen-year tenure, he proved himself time and again as a proponent of publicly owned transit against all odds, a fierce and respected negotiator, and a passionate, vocal defender of members’ rights.

Watch Bob’s story now.

The Three Big Issues

What are the most pressing issues facing public transit today? Bob Kinnear has three main concerns to bring to the International ATU.

Bob Kinnear’s Agenda for a Stronger ATU

Bob Kinnear brings 13 years of leadership experience as President of the 11,000-member Local 113, one of the largest transit workers’ locals in North America. He has an agenda for making ATU a truly 21st Century union and forging cooperation between the International and the Local Unions. We are all fighting the same battles and cooperating in these struggles is the only way to go.


Here is an overview of Bob’s main priorities for the union over the next three years:

01. Privatization/Contracting Out

Job security is our number one priority as a union and the biggest threat to that security is privatization and contracting out, which is another term for privatization. The International Union must be a resource to our locals when they are fighting privatization in their cities. Local 113 has successfully campaigned against transit privatization and will bring that experience to the International to share with others.

02. Public Communications

Reaching out to the public to gain their understanding and support is an essential job of our union. Many locals have done a good job of this but many locals feel they are too small to conduct public campaigns. Our International can design template programs for public outreach that would make it possible for even smaller locals to do this.

03. More Government Funding

Public transit is an essential public response to climate change. But many politicians are not convinced of this and so do not support adequate transit funding. Our union must ally with the many other organizations that believe in public transit. We can – we must – provide leadership at the state, provincial and federal levels for sustainable transit funding, and more of it!

04. Health and Safety

Our locals have a wealth of knowledge about health and safety challenges on their own properties. We must combine all this knowledge at the International level and develop health and safety expertise that is available to all. Of special urgency is the growing number of assaults against our frontline members. We must aggressively lobby governments to fund anti-assault measures that are over and above operating funds. We must also press for more aggressive prosecution of those who attack our members.

05. Pensions and Benefits

After decades of public service, our members are entitled to pensions that provide a dignified retirement. And while they are working, their families should be protected with a full range of health care benefits. The International should establish a Special Task Force on Pensions and Benefits. This task force would collect data on existing pensions and benefits and provide that information to all locals, who could use it in collective bargaining.

06. Membership Communications

Welcome to the 21st century! Many members say that our International Union is stuck in the past when it comes to membership communications. It’s time to use new technologies and programs to keep our members informed and united. The International should be a source of training in how to effectively use communications technologies, new and old.

These are the main priorities Bob will be calling for at the GEB. I hope I have your support and I invite your input on how we can work together to make our International a stronger and respected union for decades to come.

Ten Things You Should Know about Bob Kinnear

As ATU Local 113 President, Bob Kinnear spearheaded dynamic and memorable media campaigns.

Each of these videos gave voice to the urgent issues affecting his membership and the public — a voice that was heard loud and clear by management and government alike.

Keep TTC Public – This TV ad sends a compelling message that Toronto’s transit system is “Not For Sale,” urging viewers to support politicians who will keep the system public..

Keep TTC Public Part 1 – This in-depth video looks at the world’s global cities, showing how privatization of public transit has been a disaster for taxpayers and riders every single time.

Keep TTC Public Part 2 – This in-depth historical video shows how Toronto’s once-private transit system was a failure, showing the key role played by transit workers in the founding of the public system.

ATU Public Transit PSA – This TV ad drives home the message that Toronto needs “Public Transit, Not Private Profit,” urging viewers to stop the threat of public-private partnerships.

Premier Wynne jogs past failed public-private partnerships – This TV ad mocks a recent Liberal television ad for Premier Kathleen Wynne, asking viewers to question Wynne’s support of transit privatization and use their votes to stop it.

Toronto’s Transit Future – This gripping video takes an honest look at the deterioration of the TTC, showing how politicians are the ones failing to fix things, and expressing the willingness of transit workers to help find solutions.

Protecting What Matters – This stunning campaign shows the true value of transit workers, taking us literally underneath the city of Toronto, to little-seen places where hundreds of people work around-the-clock to keep the city mobile.

Lifecycle of a Streetcar – This video takes us behind-the-scenes with the skilled workers of the Life Extension Overhaul project, who work their magic on decades-old Toronto streetcars to save both funds and the environment.

Battery Refurbishment Project – This video follows the inspiring story of a visionary Toronto transit worker, whose in-house battery refurbishment program saves over a million dollars a year.

Cast Your Vote for Bob Kinnear

In Canadian cities and around the world, public transit is under attack from politicians who want to privatize our jobs and take away our collective bargaining rights. At election time, when it comes time to elect your International Vice President representing Canada, choose a candidate who will have a real impact on our future. Vote for Bob Kinnear.


Get in touch

Do you have thoughts to share or concerns that you want heard? Get in touch today.