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TORONTO – Instead of sitting down with representatives of Toronto’s workers, Toronto City Hall has decided to launch a PR campaign designed to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. This tactic was not a productive one, says Brian Cochrane, President of Toronto Civic Employees’ Union, Local 416, CUPE.

Local 416 represents approximately 6500 outside workers, as well as 2300 library workers in the city of Toronto.

Before we’ve even had one face-to-face meeting, the city has decided that it doesn’t want to negotiate directly with Local 416, but rather with the assistance of a provincially appointed conciliation officer,” says Cochrane. “That means they’re letting the province run the show; the same province that forced amalgamation and downloaded millions of dollars in extra costs onto Toronto residents.”

Cochrane said that the members of Local 416 have been very cooperative and shown great patience with the City, considering that their first and only negotiated agreement since amalgamation has not been decided in its entirety. And it was only in November 2001 that any items in dispute were decided by the appointed board of arbitration. In addition, the City has frustrated the issue of the harmonization of wages after amalgamation and the matter remains unresolved after four years.

Amalgamation and downloading created a very stressful situation for the city’s employees, and these kinds of tactics by the city is only going to make a bad situation worse,” added Cochrane. “Our members are the men and women who help you when you need emergency medial assistance. They keep the city clean, take care of roads, your water, environment, hockey rinks and parks. They don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

The City is talking out of both sides of their mouth when they say they want ‘flexibility’ and ‘to provide a long overdue period of stability for City workers’, while at the same time proposing a complete gutting of the job security provisions of the Collective Agreement. What they are really doing is taking a short-sighted, short-term approach that will result in a long-term deterioration of our city’s quality of life,” said Cochrane.

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For further information, please contact:

Brian Cochrane 416-725-2873