Toronto inside workers can strike or be locked out March 25

Ontario Labour Board approves city's request for 'no board' report
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 03/08/2012

The City of Toronto’s request for a “no board” report has been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. The city requested the report March 2, saying negations with its inside workers had reached an impasse.

The city’s 23,000 inside workers will be in a legal strike position and Toronto in a legal lockout position on March 25.

A "no-board" report means a conciliator is recommending that a conciliation board not be brought in.

"The City of Toronto has taken this step because we want to negotiate new agreements," Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said in a press release after the city applied for the report. "We are continuing to bargain with Local 79 and remain hopeful that a resolution is possible during this 17-day period."

The contract between the city and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79 expired on Dec. 31, 2011. City employees who could soon find themselves on the picket line are caretakers, daycare workers, ambulance dispatchers and urban planners.

The city's bargaining position hasn’t changed since negotiations first began, according to Tim Maguire, CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire.

"We've waited 12 weeks for discussions and real proposals on issues affecting Local 79," he said in a press release. "Instead they've moved toward a countdown period."

The key issues in the dispute are believed to be job security and pay.

In February, Toronto reached a four-year deal with its 6,000 outdoor workers’ union. The city negotiated major concessions from CUPE Local 416, including a small wage hike, narrowly avoiding a work stoppage. The union also agreed to revising its seniority policy so layoff protection isn’t in place until the employee has accrued 15 years’ seniority. Similar concessions are expected to be asked of the inside workers by the city. Neither party will elaborate on what concessions the city is seeking.

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