Toronto inside workers vote to strike

Union says it will only strike March 24 if city imposes new terms
||Last Updated: 03/26/2012

Toronto’s inside workers have voted by an “overwhelming majority” to strike, according to the union that represents the 23,000 workers.

UPDATE: Toronto inside workers to vote on deal from city

Over 85 per cent of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79 members who voted were in favour of striking, according to the union.

“Clearly our members understand what is at stake and the bargaining committee is grateful for their support,” CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire said in a statement.

In a press release, the union said that while bargaining has been difficult, it has no plans to strike on March 24 unless the city unilaterally imposes new working conditions on the workers.

“Local 79 will not be walking off the job — calling a strike — this Saturday morning if we do not have a contract,” Maguire said. “But we will consider that option if the city determines that it’s going to take away basic employment rights.”

Having the mandate in upcoming negotiations with the city this week will “assist the union in reaching a fair settlement, as well as protect workers from potential threats the city may make to strip workers of basic employment protections,” the union said.

Toronto officials are refusing to discuss whether they will impose new terms on the union or lock out the workers on March 24.

If a strike should occur, Maguire said Local 79 will give sufficient notice of the job action.

CUPE Local 79 represents daycare workers, nurses, caretakers, city clerks and community centre employees. Most city services would be affected by a strike and it would likely mean the closure of recreation centres across the city.

Toronto’s outside workers — represented by CUPE Local 416 — ratified a four-year agreement in February that included wage increases, but cut back job security.

Job security is a key issue in the city’s negotiations with Local 79.

Toronto is also currently in a labour dispute with its 2,300 library workers who walked off the job on March 19.

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