Last week, members of the Toronto Civic Employee’s Union, CUPE 416, who work at Yorktown Family Services ratified their new collective agreement in a unanimous vote. The outcome speaks as much to the gains in their new deal as it does to the organizing model members relied on. 

“We entered into bargaining knowing we had to do something different this time. We couldn’t afford to accept another contract with low wage improvements. Too many workers have second or third jobs and are struggling to afford our increasingly expensive city,” said Natalie McCalla, a Wrap Around Facilitator and Unit Chair at TCEU 416. “So, we held meetings and made phone calls. I spoke to nearly every member. I listened as they shared their concerns, and I made it clear that we could only make real improvements if every member participated.” 

That member-focused bargaining – which saw over 70 per cent of members add their name to an open letter to the Board of Directors followed by a unanimous strike vote – energized the local and put substantial pressure on management. It resulted in a deal with meaningful wage improvements, better mileage rates, and increases to benefits coverage. It’s a deal that will help end the long-running retention crisis at Yorktown, ensuring the agency has enough staff to properly offer its critical mental health services to families and individuals in need. 

“We represent roughly 8,000 hardworking members, including the dedicated workers at Yorktown Family Services. Our members literally keep this city running, managing everything from solid waste, parking, parks, and water to community housing, paramedic services, and more,” said Eddie Mariconda, President of TCEU 416. “We are pleased that our members in Yorktown Family Services reached a deal that acknowledges the important work that they do for Torontonians.” 

Workers at Yorktown Family Services are social workers, clinical workers, and administrative staff. They provide the integral community programs, mental health support, and interventions to at risk Torontonians. The Board of Directors also have ratified the tentative agreement.