pedler-windsor-strike

Private citizens mowed grass in city parks during the strike. ((CBC))

After more than 46 hours of bargaining, a deal has been reached that could end the 100-day strike by civic workers in Windsor, Ont.

Union negotiators were not overjoyed when they emerged from the talks at about 6:45 a.m. Thursday. 

"I think there's a willingness on both sides to try to get something done and we sat through it and we worked hard at it," said CUPE Local 82 president Jim Wood. 

Wood also said the union would not be recommending workers accept or reject the deal.

The decision, he said, is "really within their hands and they're going to make their decision."

Jean Fox, president of the other CUPE local out on strike, said it will not be making a recommendation either.

'As far as we can go'

"We believe that we've gone as far as we can go, we've done the best job we can do and it will be up to them," said Fox.

Although details of the tentative agreement have not been released, there are hints the union did not get the protection for retirement benefits it was seeking.

Instead, CUPE is believed to have given up post-retirement benefits for new hires and in return it has agreed to wage increases and lump sum payments.

CUPE workers will vote on the contract offer on Friday.

The strike by about 1,800 city workers has shut down services in the city.

There has been no garbage collection for 15 weeks. Other city services have also been shut down while the two sides have tried to find an agreement. 

'Pleased and hopeful'

Windsor city council will also hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss the details.

Helga Reidel, the city's lead negotiator, said the city and residents should have "hope" that the workers accept the deal. 

"One hundred days is a very long time. We're very pleased and hopeful that council will have a look at this and we can get these employees back to work," she said.

While the strike in Windsor could be over, the strike by city workers in Ontario's largest city continues.

When asked for his reaction on Thursday morning, Toronto Mayor David Miller said: "Obviously if Windsor can reach an agreement, it should be possible to reach one in Toronto. As I've been saying for weeks, there needs to be a sense of urgency at the table to find a way to say yes."

More than 24,000 inside and outside workers, also members of CUPE, have been on strike in Toronto since June 22.

With files from Canadian Press