Toronto CUPE Local 79 to re-engage in negotiations with mediator, president says

The head of the union that represents more than 20,000 indoor city workers says the union has re-engaged with a mediator and that he’s hopeful that workers will still have a new deal.

Union concerned about unpredictability of work, future 'contracting out' of city services

Tim Maguire, president of CUPE Local 79, says his union is focused on reaching a collective agreement, not on escalating its job action. (CBC)

The head of the union that represents more than 20,000 indoor city workers says the union has re-engaged with a mediator and he's "hopeful" that workers will strike a new deal. 

CUPE Local 79 President Tim Maguire said he will be providing a mediator with the union's response to the city's latest offer. Maguire said that offer was labelled as the city's final offer, but he's since been told by Toronto Mayor John Tory that there's still room to negotiate.

"I'm going to take the mayor at his word," Maguire said before re-iterating his desire to reach a collective bargaining agreement. 

Employees represented by Local 79 have already launched a work-to-rule campaign and are also in a legal strike position. Maguire said his union is focused on reaching an agreement, not on escalating its job action.

At city hall, Tory suggested he wants Local 79 to accept the deal, which he said is similar to the one accepted by Local 416 and approved by council Monday.

Tory said the offer is "very fair" and continues to create good jobs for those who work for the city.

But in a document released to the media, Local 79 said that latest offer fails workers on several fronts.

The union said the city's offer would mean part-time work is still unpredictable and younger workers could be affected by "contracting out" of city services. Further, the document said, the wage increase offered by the city is lower for Local 79 workers than for other city workers.

The city has said the following services will not operate in the event of a strike or lockout:

  • Child-care centres.
  • Recreation and fitness centres would be closed. Camps and any recreational or fitness classes would be cancelled.
  • Pool and swimming classes.
  • City-operated ski hills.
  • Building permits.
  • Collection of household hazardous waste, electronic waste and metal goods. Hazardous waste depots will also be closed.
  • Processing of residential parking permits.
  • Street cleaning, road, bridge and sidewalk maintenance.
  • Enforcement of non-emergency bylaws connected to animals.
  • Public tours, visits to city hall.
  • Skating at Toronto City Hall, Scarborough Civic Centre and Mel Lastman Square.
  • Toronto Archives.
  • Municipal job postings will be suspended during a labour disruption.
  • Dental screening services through Public Health.
  • Sexual health clinics.
  • Home checkups for new parents.
  • Food safety inspections.

Earlier Monday, city council approved the new deal with CUPE Local 416, which represents the city's outdoor workers.


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