Toronto applies for conciliator in outside workers’ talks

Countdown to possibility of strike or lock-out begun
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 12/16/2011

The president of Local 416 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Mark Ferguson, is accusing the City of Toronto of having “abandoned” negotiations with outside workers.

The city called the request for a conciliator in bargaining with the outside workers “a further step in its effort to achieve” the goal of “collective agreements that provide it with the flexibility that it requires to effectively and efficiently provide important services to city residents.” However, the union alleges, the city had earlier refused to union’s offer of mediation to move the process along without recourse to a conciliator.

The appointment of a conciliator starts the clock toward a possible “no-board” report and a strike or lock-out.

The city angered the union earlier by announcing that it would be hiring new, part-time employees who will not fall within the bargaining unit. This is at a time when the city is also offering buyouts to reduce full-time staff.

Collective agreements for the city’s 6,000 outside workers, represented by CUPE 416, and 22,000 inside workers, represented by CUPE 79, will expire at the end of 2011.

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