Toronto – Workers at the Toronto Zoo are concerned that management’s plans for a lockout throw into peril a fundraising event scheduled for tomorrow. Three thousand elementary school children are slated to participate in an event Tuesday that would raise money for children’s breakfast programs in the Toronto School Board.
“A lockout would be ill-advised for so many reasons,” said Jim Fudge, president of CUPE Local 1600, which represents the 325 staff at the zoo. “We have said that we will not strike tonight if we have not reached an agreement by midnight – we are here to negotiate. Why is the zoo insisting on locking us out? It seems they have taken a page right out of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”
Management has said that in the event of a lockout, the zoo will be shut down to the public. In addition to tomorrow’s fundraiser, a number of other upcoming special events would have to be cancelled, including activities planned for Mother’s Day and events organized around the recent arrival of two koala bears from San Diego.
“We are urging the zoo’s management to stay at the table and negotiate an agreement with us,” said Fudge. “There is no reason to cancel this worthwhile fundraiser for children’s breakfast programs, or to jeopardize the animals’ safety. Only a handful of managers are trained to look after the animals in the event of a lockout.”
CUPE represents 180, 000 working women and men in Ontario, many of whom work for municipalities, hospitals, school boards and universities.
For further information:
Jim Fudge, CUPE Local 1600,
Lorne Trevors, CUPE Representative,
Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications,