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(Toronto) – Workers at the Toronto Port Authority have given their union a 99% strike mandate after negotiations broke down last week. The 70 workers are represented by the Toronto Civic Employees’ Union, Local 416 (CUPE), and they have been in bargaining since the spring.

A federally appointed conciliator has filed a report on negotiations that has triggered a strike/lockout deadline of October 12th, 2002 at 12:01 a.m. The Canada Industrial Relations Board has rejected the employer’s application that certain services continue in the event of a strike or lockout, and consequently no essential services agreement exists between the parties.

The workers include ferry operators (Toronto Island airport), custodial, maintenance and clerical staff, harbour emergency environmental response services, and firefighters at the Toronto Island airport. The majority of workers operate on hourly wages, while a smaller portion of the workforce operates on a salaried basis.

“Talks have broken down around a number of key issues,” said Brian Cochrane, president of Local 416, “including job security, benefits, and wages. Wage inequities are of particular importance to our members who are salaried workers at the Port Authority, most of whom are women,” said Cochrane.

“The proposed building of the fixed link bridge to the Island airport is also an issue,” said Cochrane. “Our members offered support for the fixed link in 1999 at a time when the Harbour Commission was proposing to build it as a public venture. This support was linked to job security negotiated in the last round of bargaining. Now that the Port Authority has private sector partners, they are seeking to strip our members of that job security. I think that a 99% strike mandate makes it pretty clear our members are not going to tolerate this.”

CUPE Local 416 also represents another 9,000 city workers, including library workers, water/wastewater workers, paramedics (EMS), solid waste workers, parks and recreation workers, corporate services and transportation workers.


For more information:Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications,
416-292-3999, ext. 240, or 416-738-4329 (cell)