Staff at the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA), members of the Toronto Civic Employees Union (TCEU), Local 416 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 416) have given their bargaining committee an overwhelming mandate in favour of strike action, if it is deemed necessary to secure a fair collective agreement with their employer.

“Our members were nearly unanimous – they refuse to be intimidated into accepting a contract that degrades the quality of jobs this community depends on,” said Sav Daskalakis, CUPE 416 Parking Authority Unit Chairperson.

The union and the Parking Authority, which is owned by the City of Toronto, have been in negotiations to renew their collective agreement, which expired earlier this year. Negotiations came to an abrupt end earlier this month after the Parking Authority refused to withdraw demands for deep concessions to employee benefits and job security, while proposing a four-year wage freeze.

In response, Parking Authority Unit members held a special meeting yesterday where they were asked to vote on a motion to give their bargaining committee a mandate to take whatever actions the committee deemed necessary to secure a fair collective agreement, up to and including strike action.

Of those in attendance, 98.5 per cent voted in favour of giving their bargaining committee a mandate to take strike action, if deemed necessary by the committee.

“The Parking Authority generates significant revenues for its owner, the City of Toronto. The city should be under no illusions that the staff who help the authority fulfil its important role should have to agree to poorer working conditions, less stable, employment while watching their wages eroded by inflation for the next four years,” said Daskalakis.

“Our members sent the strongest possible message yesterday that they won’t be bullied into accepting a contract that harms good jobs that our community depends on. I sincerely hope that the City’s negotiators got the message and come to the table ready to negotiate, rather than just dictate,” he added.

The two sides are scheduled to resume bargaining on November 24.

In addition to the Toronto Parking Authority, CUPE 416 represents some 6,000 members working in the City of Toronto’s ‘outside’ divisions, Toronto Community Housing, Toronto Paramedic Services, Toronto Ports Authority, Enwave and Yorktown Family Services.