Previous polling showed Torontonians value their public services (84% wanted to increase or maintain funding), and a new poll shows this support extends right to the workers who provide them.
The poll was a live-interview telephone poll of 600 Toronto residents, with a +/-4.0% margin of error, conducted by Environics Research Group from March 9 through March 12, and commissioned by the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
It shows three-quarters of Torontonians are satisfied with municipal public services. Further,
- 54% believe City workers are “critically important” to these services (91% said they are important, overall).
- 77% of respondents believe that cuts to staffing would harm services.
- Close to eight in ten oppose eliminating transfer of care at Long Term Care facilities, as it will lead to deterioration in care.
While the employer has pursued a strategy of eroding rights for part-time workers, the public feels especially strongly that their working conditions should in fact be improved:
- 71% support extending benefits to all permanent part-timers. This is true even among those who sympathize with the City.
- Three-quarters believe further eliminating full-time jobs in libraries would erode service.
A majority of the public is opposed to the City’s s aggressive approach to bargaining and notably, a slim majority would support a strike in the face of threats of unilateral claw backs of job security and benefits.
- 62% disapprove of a potential City threat to impose new conditions that are detrimental to workers.
- 54% believe a strike would be justified if the City unilaterally cuts benefits and weakens job security.
The Toronto Public Library is a perfect example of the high regard Toronto has for public workers:
- A majority (61%) sympathize with librarians, not the employer, in contract talks.
- 64% specifically support preventing further erosion of full-time library jobs to part-time work.
- 77% believe that loss of library positions would degrade the quality of library services.
“I’m pleased to see numbers that emphasize the knowledge that already resides with our members and those who rely on the services they provide,” said Tim Maguire, president of CUPE Local 79. “Torontonians benefit when we are able to do our job – because our job is supporting them.
“I hope this will focus the employer’s mind on their job: negotiating a contract that serves everyone.”
“Support for librarians is clear in any branch across the city,” said Maureen O’Reilly, president of CUPE Local 4948 (Toronto Public Library Workers Union). “If members of the board spent more time in the libraries they oversee, and less planning an ideological attack, they’d already know it. They need to foster an environment that in which we can do the work we love and Toronto residents expect.”
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