Toronto inside workers split on city’s final offer

2 groups accept offer, 1 in legal strike-lockout position, 1 in arbitration
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 03/29/2012

Toronto inside workers are divided on the city’s final offer. Two of four groups voted to accept the agreement, while the other two rejected it.

"This is a huge win for taxpayers," said Toronto mayor Rob Ford in a statement. "The city's offer was fair, reasonable and affordable, and I'm pleased that the offer was ratified by these employees without any disruption to city services."

Part-time recreation workers and long-term care services workers turned down the offer. Long-term care workers are designated as an essential service, so they — along with the city — will enter arbitration.

Part-time recreation workers, however, are in a legal strike-lockout position.

“This is an administration that’s out to cut services and contract out services,” Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79 president Tim Maguire said.

CUPE is hoping the city will return to the bargaining table.

City negotiators will be meeting March 29 to decide on what the next steps will be regarding recreation workers, deputy mayor Doug Holyday told reporters. An announcement will be made shortly, he said.

Before the vote, Holyday called the city's final offer "fair, reasonable and affordable." He said the offer was similar to the one accepted earlier by outside workers, represented by CUPE 416.

The city also threatened to impose new working conditions on the workers if the deal was rejected.

In response, the union said it will have little choice but to use the strike mandate that 85 per cent of the members voted for should new working conditions be implemented.

If a strike or lockout occurs, the following services would be affected:

  • city-run programs at community centres
  • indoor swimming pools
  • activities at arenas
  • curling clubs and fitness centres
  • programs offered at public, separate and community schools such as camps, classes and drop-in clubs

Toronto’s 23,000 inside workers include childcare workers, ambulance staff, dispatchers, nurses, caretakers and parks and recreation staff.

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