CUPE 79, representing over 22,000 inside workers with the City of Toronto, has requested a no-board report in their negotiations with the City, citing a lack of meaningful discussion on significant outstanding issues.
“The City has been quite open about their attempts to seek significant concessions, erode job security and set the stage for further privatization and contracting out of the services Torontonians rely on. They have also not shown any movement on improving the working conditions of our part-time and recreation members, most of whom have limited access to benefits and no predictable schedules. Unlike their negotiations with CUPE 416, who they are pushing toward a labour dispute, they seem unwilling to talk to us at all,” said Dave Mitchell, President of CUPE 79. “With us they just dropped their concessions down and left. So we are going to use every tool we have to bring them to the table and bargain.”
One of the most significant sticking points between the parties is job security. The modest job security provided by the current contract gives permanent, full-time workers with 15 years of service a measure of protection, though they can still be terminated at any time for cause. In order to maintain that level of protection for people with 15 years of service, the date of the provision must move along with the rest of the contract to a new expiry date.
“When the City says they are looking to maintain ‘status quo’, they are being deliberately misleading. They know that the expiry date of the entire contract moves in every round of bargaining. What they are not admitting is that they want that provision eliminated,” Mitchell said.
The issuance of a no-board report from the Ministry of Labour will trigger a 17-day countdown before the parties will be in a legal strike or lockout position. Depending on how many days it takes to issue the no-board report, the strike or lock-out date will be in mid-March.
The union remains available for bargaining in the hopes that requesting a no-board will lead to serious discussions with the City. “We are committed to getting a deal that protects the vital city services that our members provide to the people of Toronto and one that respects the work that our members do,” Mitchell said of the negotiations. “We are coming to the table with this goal in mind and believe that it is possible. We hope that the City will show some commitment toward protecting services and negotiating a fair contract.”