OFL urges Mayor Andrea Horwath to oppose the privatization of Hamilton LRT

HAMILTON, Ontario, April 23, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is calling on Mayor Andrea Horwath to uphold the public interest by voting against the proposed privatization of Hamilton’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) line. On April 24, the Hamilton City Council will vote on a 10-year public-private partnership, aimed at outsourcing operations and maintenance to a private contractor.

“Ontario unions have long supported Andrea Horwath for her opposition to privatization, including her robust defence of public services from the profit-driven agenda of Doug Ford’s government “We fully expect her to uphold this principled stance–and protect public services and the good union jobs that sustain them.”

For 150 years, the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) have successfully operated and maintained Hamilton’s transit system. “Given the proven capabilities and track record of the HSR and ATU, there is absolutely no justification for privatizing the Hamilton LRT,” Walton added.

“Municipalities across Ontario have suffered enough from flawed public-private partnerships, as seen in Ottawa and Toronto. Privatization often compromises quality and safety for supposed cost savings,” Walton continued. 

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT in Toronto has experienced 12 years of construction, billions in cost overruns, and a lack of accountability. Similarly, the O-Train in Ottawa has faced derailments, delivery delays, and severe operational issues, along with numerous safety concerns.

“We must learn from these failures and prevent them from happening again,” Walton added. The OFL reminds Hamilton City Councillors of their 2017 commitment to keep the LRT public under the HSR’s operation.

The labour movement calls on Mayor Horwath and the City Council to do the right thing–keep transit public in Hamilton to prevent placing an untenable financial burden on Hamiltonians for years to come.

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. It is the largest provincial labour federation in Canada. Visit OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

For more information, please contact:

Jenny Sellathurai
Interim Director of Communications
Ontario Federation of Labour
jsellathurai@ofl.ca | 416-894-3456