TORONTO Toronto Zoo employees, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1600, will be back at the bargaining table tomorrow (Tuesday, March 8) to negotiate a new contract. Their current contract expires on March 31.
We have had a rocky bargaining history but we are really hoping that things improve in this round of talks, says Jim Fudge, a zoo employee and president of the local.
The big issues for the union are wages and benefits. The Toronto Zoo and CUPE have commissioned a joint study that compares Toronto Zoo wages with pay scales at Ontario Place, Canadas Wonderland, the Calgary Zoo, and other similar workplaces.
We are significantly underpaid for the work we do and that has to be remedied in this round of bargaining, says Fudge. Even though the final report has not been released, the research clearly shows that Toronto zoo employees earn far, far less than workers in comparable jobs.
CUPE Local 1600 represents approximately 170 permanent employees and 200 seasonal and casual workers at the zoo, many of whom earn wages as low as $9 an hour.
The zoo employees include zookeepers, horticulturists, maintenance workers, trades people, rides and retail staff, office workers who handle finance and education, public relations staff, administration staff and others.
For more information, please contact:
Jim Fudge, (416) 579-2873 - (905) 717-9682 (pager)
Shannon McManus, CUPE Communications (416) 292-3999, ext. 222 - (416) 540-6252 - (416) 766-3252
Rick Alexander, Staff Representative - (416) 561-4609