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TORONTO - The union representing Toronto’s outside workers has offered to provide city programs with more than $25 million over the next three years, by keeping all components of their current collective agreement at 2011 levels. The announcement comes ahead of next week’s budget deliberations, in which Council will consider drastic service cuts.

Mark Ferguson, President of the Toronto Civic Employees Union, Local 416 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 416) said, “These services are important, both to Toronto residents and to the workers without whom they could not be delivered. We want those services to remain accessible and affordable. And we trust Council wants the same.”

Municipal workers across Ontario with new contracts for 2012 have averaged more than two percent wage increases for the year. The City of Toronto also recently negotiated a three-year agreement with the Toronto Police Service which included raises of at least three per cent per year.

If both parties agree to ‘roll over’ the current collective agreement, wages would remain at 2011 for the duration of the agreement, freeing up an additional $8.6 million each year, or more than $25 million over the next three, for funding important services. “It could, just for example, allow Toronto to keep shared-use pools and splash-pads open, maintain grants to dozens of community groups, and continue offering free recreation centre programming to youth in priority areas,” said Ferguson.

The local made the proposal a day after city negotiators requested a no-board report, claiming contract talks were at an impasse. Ferguson said there was still considerable bargaining to be done. “By walking away from the table with those who provide valuable services, they are walking away from those who rely on those services,” said Ferguson.

We believe this is an offer that should help protect programs, and bring added stability to city finances. That is why we offered to bargain over this weekend with the City. The City refused this offer,” he added.

Local 416 represents about 6,000 city workers, whose jobs range from snow removal, to emergency medical services, city parks maintenance, and animal control. Their contract expired on December 31, 2011.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Ferguson      
CUPE 416 President 

Kevin Wilson 
CUPE Communications