Members of Local 79 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees came out in historic numbers to vote for a strike mandate, providing their bargaining team with greater leverage in the last days of negotiations.
“It was a remarkable turnout,” said Tim Maguire, president of Local 79. “Clearly our members understand what is at stake and the bargaining committee is grateful for their support.”
An overwhelming majority of Local 79 members voted to support their Bargaining Committee, which faces the City’s bargaining deadline of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 24.
Maguire said the strong strike mandate 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.
At the Local 416 table a month ago, the City threatened to impose “terms and conditions” of employment, including unilateral changes to wages, hours of work and benefits, and stripping worker protection against unfair discipline, if a deal wasn’t reached by the deadline.
“We are not going to walk off the job if there is no deal come Saturday,” assured Maguire, “we are prepared to keep bargaining beyond the arbitrary deadline imposed by the City.”
“We are going to consider the option this mandate gives us if the employer starts to gut our collective agreement and strip away basic rights and protections.”
Local 79 represents City of Toronto employees working in all City divisions, including public health, city inspectors, homeless hostels, transportation, childcare centres, offices, recreation programs, and long term care homes.
Tim Maguire will be available to comment on the results of the vote at 10am in the City Hall Press Gallery on Wednesday March 21st.
For more information: Cim Nunn, CUPE Communications: 416-627-7695