TORONTO, Ont. Contract talks between the City of Toronto and Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416 (CUPE), representing 6,000 outside workers, are on life support and on the brink of collapse, according to Brian Cochrane, Local 416 president.
We have been in conciliation for almost 60 days, and we have been unable to come to an agreement with City negotiators on any of the significant issues, said Cochrane. While limited progress has been made on some issues, when we get to the more contentious areas of the contract, the City reverts to its antiquated philosophy of control, control, control reminiscent of the 2002 negotiations that led to a 16-day strike.
Earlier in the talks, the City attempted to impose a deadline of April 30th, 2005 on contract negotiations. While Local 416 did not agree to the deadline because it was unrealistic, the union did agree to try and move things forward as much as possible.
City negotiators have been incapable of responding to the union in a timely fashion, said Cochrane. For example, since April 4, 2005, we have only seen the employer for between 24 to 30 hours over 18 days thats about two hours per day. It would have been impossible to meet the April 30th deadline under those circumstances.
Outstanding issues include such non-monetary items as union security, lay-off and recall, job content, service and seniority, seniority rights and work of the bargaining unit. There has been no discussion on the monetary issues.
Until lately, the atmosphere has been better than in 2002, but because little progress has been made and this is a results driven process, there is little reason for optimism at this time.
Contract talks are not scheduled to resume until May 9th, 2005.
For further information, please contact:
Brian Cochrane, Local 416 president