Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
Toronto – City of Toronto “outside” workers who today received arbitrator Tim Armstrong’s decision are calling the decision fair. Mr. Armstrong released his decision this afternoon after more than three months of mediation-arbitration hearings. Mr. Armstrong was appointed in July when outside workers were legislated back to work by the province, following a 16-day strike.

Key issues in the contract dispute included job security in the event of contracting out, wages and benefits, and seniority rights issues. Mr. Armstrong awarded status quo protections in respect of job security (employees are protected against layoff in the event of contracting out after they have achieved ten years’ seniority). With respect to wages, Mr. Armstrong awarded 3% in each year of the three-year contract, plus an additional increase for paramedics, as well as significant improvements in benefits. Mr. Armstrong also recognized the fundamental importance of seniority rights in a number of areas, including layoff and recall, assignment of duties, and filling job vacancies.

“This award is, in many ways, a solid endorsement of the union’s position on several key issues,” said Brian Cochrane, president of Local 416. “The decision lies much closer to the union’s position before the strike than it does to the City’s position, which should signal to the residents of Toronto that the strike this summer did not have to happen.”

With respect to job security, Cochrane said, “the City’s position was that job security had to be phased out over time, and Mr. Armstrong has clearly rejected that. While we hoped to do better than status quo, given the City’s clear intention to expand privatization of city services, we are pleased that the arbitrator safeguarded the current job security provisions.”

Mr. Armstrong also acknowledged the wage disparity between Toronto’s paramedics and paramedics elsewhere in the province by awarding them an additional 2% wage increase in each year of the contract.

“The arbitrator’s decision to recognize seniority rights is very much in keeping with what we were looking for,” said Cochrane. “The application of seniority rights to matters such as layoff and recall is a very basic feature of public sector collective agreements, and Mr. Armstrong clearly accepted our arguments in this respect.”

“Finally, a crucial feature of Mr. Armstrong’s decision is his acknowledgement that the labour relations atmosphere in the City of Toronto is poisoned. We have been saying this for some time, and we hoped that the conclusion of this chapter would signal an improvement in the relationship. After the Mayor’s outburst during his press conference this afternoon, we cannot say that we hold out much hope that things will change any time soon,” Cochrane added.

The Toronto Civic Employees’ Union, CUPE Local 416, represents approximately 6, 000 water and waste-water workers, sanitation workers, paramedics (EMS), parks and recreation, roads and transportation workers.


For further information:
Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications
416-738-4329 (cell)