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City of Toronto inside and outside workers walked off the job just after midnight tonight in a fight against management demands for concessions.

“After six months at the bargaining table, the city has not heard the message from our members that they must be treated as fairly as all other unionized workers who provide public services to the people of Toronto,” said Mark Ferguson, president of CUPE 416.

“This city cannot treat their direct employees, our members, like second-class citizens,” said Ann Dembinski, president of CUPE 79, representing about 18,000 inside workers. “We had two choices – roll over and play dead or stand up and fight for our rights.”

In all, about 24,000 workers are on strike. Other unionized public employees in the city, ranging from Toronto Community Housing, Parking Authority, and Port Authority to police and firefighters have achieved collective agreements with wage increases of at least three per cent and no concessions.