John Tory warns of 'real chance' of labour disruption in letter to councillors

Mayor John Tory warned of a "real chance" of a labour disruption involving indoor and outdoor workers in a letter to city councillors Thursday.

Outdoor, indoor workers in legal strike position as of Feb. 19, Feb. 20, respectively

Outdoor and indoor workers are in a legal strike position as of Feb. 19 and Feb. 20, respectively. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Mayor John Tory warned of a "real chance" of a labour disruption involving indoor and outdoor workers in a letter to city councillors Thursday.

"Unfortunately, the current climate at the negotiations table and the union's declaration that they will accept 'no concessions' indicate that there is a real chance we will have a labour disruption," the mayor wrote.

As a result, he said, city staff was set to issue letters later Thursday to stakeholders who would be affected by a labour disruption, including parents whose children are in city child-care centres.

"Later this week I expect there will be a news conference to provide Torontonians with the details on contingency planning," Tory said.

The city is currently negotiating a new labour deal with two CUPE locals: Local 79, which represents inside workers, and Local 416, which represents outside workers.

Local 79 workers are in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 20, while Local 416 is in a strike position as of 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 19.

Last week, the province's labour ministry issued no-board reports, indicating that talks are at a standstill.

But according to Tory's letter, members of the city's bargaining team will continue to meet with representatives of both unions, as well as conciliators from the ministry.

"Throughout the course of negotiations it has been my hope that we will reach negotiated collective agreements.  We are seeking new agreements that acknowledge the hard work that our employees undertake for the residents and businesses in the City," Tory said.

"We are also seeking new agreements that reflect the current fiscal challenges that we are facing."

The city is offering a wage increase across the course of the agreement while trying to keep the cost of benefits stable, reduce absenteeism and improve scheduling for part-time workers, Tory writes.

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