Toronto

Police wage hike deal panned by councillor

A tentative deal that gives Toronto police officers an 11.5 per cent wage hike over the next four years sets an expensive precedent for future contracts with city workers, says Coun. Adam Vaughan.

A tentative deal that gives Toronto police officers an 11.5 per cent wage hike over the next four years sets an expensive precedent for future contracts with city workers, says Coun. Adam Vaughan.

The agreement was presented to union members on Wednesday. It grants a raise of 3.2 per cent this year, three per cent for the next two years and two per cent in 2014.

The Toronto Police Association, the body representing police officers in contract negotiations, recommended that its members approve the deal.

Vaughan, a former member of the Toronto Police Services Board, said he doesn't begrudge the police association trying to get the best possible deal for its members. But he said Mayor Rob Ford, who campaigned on reducing labour costs, agreed to a deal that was too generous.

"This is an extraordinarily expensive contract that's going to push the cost of policing well past the billion dollar mark. The mayor effectively caved in," Vaughan told CBC's Metro Morning.

Union leader 'doing cartwheels'

He said the deal not only pushes costs up for policing, it also affects other contracts, notably one that is being negotiated with the TTC. The TTC was recently designated an essential service by the Ontario government, at Ford's request.

The deal with the police, also an essential service, could be used as a template by an arbitrator for a new contract with TTC workers if negotiations break down, said Vaughan.

"When they go to arbitration, they will point to this contract, and these costs will now be driven across the TTC employment group, he said. "And that includes every mechanic, every fare collector, every driver, every ticket taker, every ticket printer at the TTC, [who] will now be eligible for this kind of settlement. It's got huge implications."

He added that Bob Kinnear, the president of ATU Local 116, which represents TTC workers, "is doing cartwheels after this decision."

Neither Mike McCormack, the president of the Toronto Police Association nor Ford would comment on the deal until it has been ratified.

Coun. Doug Ford told the Globe and Mail it was a "fair" deal and is glad the deal didn't go to arbitration, which would have cost the city more.

Police officers will vote on the deal on May 25.