STM campaign aims to boost transit worker respect, safety

April 16, 2024
The campaign comes in response to recent spikes in harassment towards STM employees.

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) has launched a communications campaign to encourage its customers to be respectful of frontline employees on the job. The campaign comes after the agency began experiencing growing hostility towards its employees on the ground. 

The campaign can be seen in the STM ad spaces and features frontline workers on the job in the public transit network. The messaging delivers a clear, firm reminder that STM employees deserve everyone’s respect, every day. 

According to data compiled by the STM, the total number of assaults, threats and acts of intimidation experienced by its frontline workers in the course of their duties rose by six percent between 2022 and 2023, from 328 to 348. 

“Our frontline teams are our most valuable resource; without them, our transit network simply can’t function," said STM CEO Marie‑Claude Léonard. "Those same people are experiencing more and more rudeness, threats and intimidation on the job. It’s important for us to take action in response to what is clearly a growing trend. The pandemic exacerbated certain social issues and seems to have led to a more strained social climate, which has a direct impact on our employees. We’re keenly aware of the strength and dedication it takes to face those kinds of situations, day after day. The awareness campaign is a clear reminder that just like our customers, our teams deserve respect at all times.” 

The local unions concerned were asked for their input to help decide what issues the campaign should address. Displays of impatience, verbal abuse and aggressive tones and body language were the behaviors most often cited in these discussions. 

“Although the majority of our customers are kind and respectful toward our teams, it’s important to understand that even small acts of hostility, repeated dozens of times a day, can have a huge impact on our employees,” Léonard said.