Mayor Tory in Tinseltown to hype city's film industry as labour dispute simmers

Mayor John Tory is in Los Angeles this morning to promote Toronto's $1-billion film, television and digital media industry. But Tory leaves an unresolved and ongoing labour dispute back home.

CUPE Local 79 is on a work-to-rule-campaign, waiting for the city to respond to an offer

Mayor John Tory is in Los Angeles to boost the city's film, television and digital media industries but a labour dispute continues back home. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Mayor John Tory is in Los Angeles this morning to promote Toronto's $1-billion film, television and digital media industry, as an unresolved and ongoing labour dispute simmers back home.

Over the next three days, Tory will meet with officials from 11 prominent studios including CBS, Paramount, Sony and Warner to encourage them to expand their presence here. According to the mayor's office, these studios currently have over $800 million in development planned for Toronto this year.

Meanwhile, CUPE Local 79, which represents 20,000 inside workers, is on a work-to-rule campaign. Its president Tim Maguire says the action is aimed at making the public aware that union workers often perform duties outside their regular job descriptions

Before leaving town, Tory made it clear any deal with Local 79 would be on the city`s terms.

"I don't think anybody should underestimate my patience as being in any way lacking in resolve in doing what I have to do for the taxpayers of Toronto," he said.

Maguire has said the two sides are "still far apart on key concessions," adding that "we made a offer to the city and we are waiting for them to respond to it."

The city and the union say they will continue to talk but Maguire hinted the work-to-rule campaign might soon begin to have an impact on Torontonians. Members of Local 79 work in community housing, community centres, arenas, child-care centres, public health offices, long-term care facilities and municipal offices, among other places. 

"We will continue to build it and will look at what we have to do," Maguire said.

Councillor Joe Mihevc believes residents will start to feel the effect of the job action.

"I think work-to-rule is easy in the first days," he said. "It gets progressively harder as things don't get done, so as this thing wears on, I think Torontonians will feel it more so."

On Thursday morning, CUPE Local 416, the union representing outdoor workers, will vote on whether to accept a contract offer from the city. The union representing about 5,400 unionized outside workers — including garbage collectors — reached a tentative agreement with the city Feb. 19.


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