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City of Toronto workers, members of CUPE 79 and CUPE 416, have voted strong strike mandates for their negotiating committees.

Members of the Toronto Civic Employees Union, CUPE Local 416, voted 89% in favour of a strike mandate on May 20, while City of Toronto inside workers, members of CUPE Local 79, voted 90 per cent in favour on May 24. These mandates mean that both committees can call a strike if talks reach an impasse and the City refuses to make a fair contract offer.

“We will be going back to the table with a clear message from the membership,” said Local 416 President Mark Ferguson. “The City must take its 118 pages of concessions off the table.”

“We all know that public services are an important part of the economic recovery,” Ferguson added. “The services our members provide are one of the best bargains Toronto residents will ever get.”

“Our members want to make sure we are treated the same as other unionized city workers who have already reached contract settlements without concessions,” said Local 79 president Ann Dembinski.

Both unions are committed to working towards a negotiated settlement and trying to avoid a strike. “At the end of the day, our members will get a fair collective agreement, with or without a strike,” said Dembinski. “The City has to stop using the economy as an excuse to dismantle workers’ rights it took decades to establish.”