Three peepholes into the women's public washroom at the Eglinton subway station were kept open for at least six weeks while TTC special constables tried to catch the peeping Tom, the Star has learned.The TTC and its union — Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 — are heading to arbitration on the matter in March, with the union accusing the TTC of violating the privacy of the women and children who used the washroom — including female staffers — by leaving the peepholes open for so long. "I think they used the public as bait," said Michelle Baird, the TTC track worker who discovered the peepholes between the women's washroom and neighbouring utility room in early December 2004. "It was like: `Oh my God,'" Baird said yesterday. "I felt absolutely sick. There's children that use it, disabled people, elderly people. There's people in there, period. Who knows how long they've been there undetected?" On average 70,000 people a day enter and exit the Eglinton station. Baird told the special constables about the peepholes and the TTC plugged them. But someone quickly poked through the drywall compound and the peepholes were reported again on Dec. 14. The TTC then decided to leave them open while special constables monitored the utility room using video cameras. Two employees — a manager and a union member — were fired after being caught using the peepholes. The two were charged with mischief, and break and enter, and one was charged with theft. The holes were covered again after their arrests on Jan. 26. Baird, who is based at the Davisville station, spotted the holes when she travelled to the Eglinton station during a break. She went to a bathroom stall and noted a light coming through a hole just beside a feminine napkin dispenser.Having previously been a TTC janitor, she knew the layout and went into the utility room located on the other side of the wall. She found three holes with overturned buckets beneath them — like stools. She sat, looked through, and was shocked."You could see anything from the midsection down. If a woman was undoing her pants, you would see," Baird said.She said she has taken some heat from co-workers for being a whistleblower."Some people think I should have just minded my own business. I would have lost sleep knowing they were there if I hadn't done anything."Baird's complaint is part of a series of grievances filed by the union against the TTC and its special constables, who are not part of the union.The union is not grieving the firings but is complaining that female union members as well as other women and their children were used as bait during the sting. The union is seeking undisclosed damages on behalf of female members who used the washroom, the firing of all personnel involved in the sting, and human rights training for TTC personnel."We could hardly believe that TTC management would allow knowingly this outrageous violation of privacy, but that appears to be the case," union president Bob Kinnear said.TTC chief general manager Rick Ducharme said it would not be fair of him to comment on matters heading to arbitration. "Once you have a decision, you can play the blame game," he said.Among the other union allegations:

  • Special constables wrongfully arrested a ticket taker, accused him of theft, and denied him access to a lawyer.

  • TTC constables consumed alcohol, and expensed their drinks, as part of an undercover operation off TTC premises to see if union members were drinking alcohol on the job.

  • TTC constables attempted to arrest for trespassing a union board member who was attending an Occupational Health and Safety Board meeting.The union wants the TTC's political masters — the nine city council members who form the TTC commission and meet today — to conduct their own investigation. The union is also asking that Toronto police — not TTC special constables — investigate allegations of wrongdoing by TTC union members.The TTC has 76 special constables, who carry all the power of regular police but can't carry firearms. They patrol the subway, streetcar and bus systems, responding to calls for help from dispatch. They can arrest people, although they hand over suspects to police. The TTC wants to hire 100 more over the next five years.