Durham Region strike: workers to vote on 'final offer' Saturday
A strike by inside workers that has closed six daycare centres in Durham Region could end as early as next week after the union agreed to present the employers' latest offer to workers on Saturday.
If the offer is accepted, the workers could return to work by Monday. They've been on strike since Wednesday.
CUPE Local 1764 president Pauline Hopley said she's not elated with the offer, but said the decision to ratify remains with her members.
"I'm not happy about how this went," she told CBC News on Friday. "We have a lot of angry members. [The employer has] tried to bargain through the media."
Hopley says the big sticking point has been that Durham Region doesn't want to pay paramedics when they're off sick.
She says the region has not sat down with the union since Wednesday:
Hopley says the union should know by 11 p.m. Saturday night whether its members have voted for or against the offer.
Durham Regional Chair Roger Anderson says the employer has put forward what they feel is a fair and "final" offer that includes raises for everyone.
"We would like our employees back to work … but we also have to have respect for our taxpayers," he told CBC News on Friday. "Hopefully if all goes well on Saturday, our employees can be back to work on Monday. I think what we've presented to the members is fair."
Workers represented by the union include paramedics, court staff, income support, child caregivers, health inspectors and others.
There are contingency plans in place to keep some services running to avoid major disruptions to the public.
Paramedics will continue to provide essential services, while services such as long-term care, pre-scheduled provincial court matters and curbside waste collection will continue.
But many people needing child care will have to make other plans as six of the region's seven directly operated childcare centres will be closed since provincial child-to-caregiver ratios cannot be met.
One of the key sticking points in negotiations is increases in benefits. The union has said the increases offered are nowhere near those management received after the last contract was ratified.
With files from CBC's Michelle Cheung