Toronto, Ont - The City of Toronto has made little effort to bargain in its contract negotiations with two unions, Local 79 and Local 416 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) reported today in an update on bargaining with the city.
“The city’s most recent proposals include some movement in some areas, but on key issues, we remain far apart,” said Tim Maguire, President of Local 79. “The city has shown no movement on issues of stability. This leaves too many frontline workers sitting by the phone to find out when they work next; too many workers worried they won’t have a job in six months; and too many frontline workers stuck in part-time and temporary positions with no access to full-time positions.”
Half the workers represented by the two locals are in part-time, temporary or seasonal positions, which leads to instability in many of their lives, and which reflects the stark reality faced by about half the workers in the city.
“The city is stuck on the idea that the only possible solution to achieving a settlement is another round of cuts that will further destabilize city workers – and the services they deliver,” said Matt Alloway, spokesperson for Local 416. “We are willing to negotiate a fair deal – but the city appears to have little interest in finding common ground.”
In contrast, during each meeting yesterday, the city was presented with an idea CUPE believes is the way forward for bargaining around benefits – a joint approach that would look at potential cost efficiencies from things like benefits pooling. At present, the city has separate benefits plans for each of Local 416 and Local 79 – as well as every other major employee group.
“It only makes sense to look at the possibility of taking advantage of these economies of scale,” said Alloway. “There are about 28,000 workers in these two locals, but by adding the more than 70,000 other city staff, you have a pool of about 100,000.”
The locals noted the city could also realize savings through bulk drug purchasing and other similar measures.
Maguire said, “The city says times are tough; our members certainly know that – like workers across Toronto, they are struggling with insecure work and unpredictable hours. We need the city to be a leader in providing good jobs, instead of destabilizing jobs and services – for the city, for residents who depend on the services they deliver, and for these workers and their families.”
For more information, please contact:
Katrina Miller, 647-272-5024
Cim Nunn, 416-627-7695
Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641