Hundreds of supporters weathered record-breaking heat today in order to rally for the striking workers of Local 416 and Local 79 in Toronto.
The locals represent indoor and outdoor workers for the City of Toronto who have been on strike since Monday. Today, at Nathan Phillips Square, the workers received words of support from CUPE’s national leaders, and labour leaders from across the public and private sector.
“We didn’t pick this fight with the City, and we hope it won’t be a long one,” said CUPE Local 79 President Ann Dembinski.
“But that depends on the Mayor and City Council. They need to stop cutting away at our collective agreements, and they need to respect City workers with an offer that’s fair, and equitable.”
Negotiations with the City have been stalled due to an unrealistic list of concessions being demanded by the City that would affect benefits, wages and seniority rights.
The two CUPE locals have been asked to accept sweeping concessions, while few other unionized City workers have been asked to do the same. Meanwhile, City councillors have allotted themselves a 2.4 per cent pay increase.
Local President Mark Ferguson encouraged strikers to stand strong, not only for themselves, but for future City workers. “It’s through your solidarity that our children and the children of future generations will be able to enjoy the same benefits we do,” he said.
CUPE National President Paul Moist thanked the people of Toronto for their patience and support, adding “everyone wants to get back to work, and we know this strike hasn’t been easy.”
“To the City, we ask you to re-examine your position, and do what’s necessary to resolve this strike,” added Moist.
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