Toronto

City preparing for possibility of outside worker strike or lockout next week

The city announced a contingency plan on Thursday for service delivery with the prospect of a strike or lockout of Toronto’s outside workers looming.

CUPE Local 416 represents 5,000 outside workers in Toronto

The city received a 'no board' report from the Ontario labour ministry earlier this month, which means the city and union will in a legal position for a strike and lockout as of 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 27. (Patrick Dell/Canadian Press)

The city announced a contingency plan on Thursday for service delivery with the prospect of a strike or lockout of Toronto's outside workers looming.

CUPE Local 416, which represents 5,000 outside workers, will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 27. The city will be in a legal lockout position at the same time.

The city said in a news release that its bargaining team has been at the table with the union since last fall, and "remains committed to negotiating a new collective agreement that is fair and reasonable to employees and affordable for residents."

The union, for its part, says the city has been "driving these talks toward a deadline and a dispute from the beginning.

"If the City is being honest with the people of Toronto and their workforce, they will come to the table, negotiate a deal and avoid a labour dispute," said Local 416 president Eddie Mariconda, in a statement.

A labour disruption would affect the delivery of city services and programs, like:

  • Suspension of garbage, recycling and organics collection east of Yonge Street and from public parks and litter bins city-wide. There may also be delays in collection west of Yonge Street.
  • Closure and cancellation of programming and event permits at all city recreation centres, greenhouses and conservatories, pools, arenas and outdoor ice rinks, fitness centres and ski hills.
  • Limited access to civic centres including Metro Hall and city hall.
  • Suspension of non-emergency Toronto Animal Services operations, and reduced animal shelter locations and hours.
  • Suspension or longer wait times for many city administrative services.

The city says police, fire and paramedic services would not be affected, nor would seniors services and long term care, the TTC, Toronto Community Housing, and Toronto Water.

The city's full contingency plan can be read here.

Mariconda said in his statement that the city chose to impose a deadline of Feb. 27, not the union.

"On Feb. 28, I want to see our members delivering quality public services in neighbourhoods across Toronto," he said. "But based on what I saw from the city today, it's not clear to me they are equally committed to doing the work it will take to find solutions.

"I want to assure the residents of Toronto that if there is a stoppage it will be because of the city, not the union."

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