Toronto

Toronto, union reach tentative contract

The City of Toronto and the union representing 6,000 of its outside workers have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract to avert a work stoppage.

Ford hails 'fantastic day' for taxpayers

The City of Toronto and the union representing 6,000 of its outside workers have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that averts a work stoppage.

Mark Ferguson called the contract talks one of the toughest labour negotiations in Canadian history. (CBC)

Mark Ferguson, president of CUPE local 416, who informed reporters of the deal at a Sunday news conference, called the contract talks "one of the toughest labour negotiations in Canadian history."

While Ferguson said the union "had to give in a number of areas," he was "pleased" that union negotiators had been able to reach a settlement with the city.

The city had earlier said it would impose terms of its latest contract offer if there was no deal by 12:01 a.m. Sunday, setting up the prospect of a lockout or strike. But the deadline was extended as talks continued into the morning.

Mayor Rob Ford hailed the agreement and the "absolutely fantastic day for the taxpayers of this great city," and said he was confident union members and City Council would ratify the deal.

Mayor Rob Ford (centre) said he believed the terms of the tentative deal would be acceptable to both city workers and City Council.

"I think the taxpayers are the winners here," Ford told reporters after the deal was announced. "We worked well with the union team, and I want to thank the union for working with us, and I want to thank our team for helping the taxpayers of this great city."

Terms of the tentative pact were not immediately disclosed.

But the mayor said he expected that the deal would be acceptable to both city workers and City Council.

Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said that he was also hopeful that the deal will be ratified by both sides.

"I would just hope that both sides will see the benefits to the taxpayers and benefits to the workers and do what’s right and that would be to affirm the action," he said.

CUPE's Ferguson said negotiators would reconvene at 9 a.m. Monday to finalize the agreement.

The city's pre-deadline offer had included lump-sum pay increases in each year of the four-year proposed contract, as well as changes to contentious job security provisions and other items, such as scheduling. The union had offered to take a three-year wage freeze to reach a deal.

The city's outside workers collect garbage, do about 25 per cent of the city's snow removal, perform road and park maintenance and run the water filtration plants.

Paramedics are also part of the union, but must keep staffing levels at 85 per cent during a work stoppage.