The union representing the City of Toronto’s 6,000 outside workers announced late Wednesday evening that its members have voted in favour for a strike mandate as negotiations continue on a new contract.
“We are very gratified by what can only be described as a very strong vote for a strike mandate,” said Matt Alloway, a member of the CUPE 416 bargaining committee, in a media release.
“With this mandate, we are confident that we are in a position to negotiate an agreement that can strengthen the City’s services by providing the workers who deliver those services with good, stable jobs.”
The outside workers include among others garbage collectors, park staff and snow plow operators.
The union said it is concerned municipal officials are taking an “aggressive approach to bargaining” after the city requested the Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliator in the negotiations last month.
“We hope that our members’ strong show of support for their bargaining committee will encourage the city to negotiate a fair deal with us,” said Alloway.
Mayor John Tory calmed fears of strained contract negotiations between both sides on Thursday by calling the the strike mandate vote customary.
“We’ve had a number of days of negotiations with both those locals and the goal remains the same which is to arrive at a fair agreement,” Tory said.
“By fair agreement I mean one that is fair for the people who work for the city but at the same time fair to the circumstances the city finds itself, which is you know, not a situation where we have an awful lot of money and where we can just say, you know, whatever people want they can get.”
The vote comes after CUPE Local 79, which represents 20,000 inside workers, said its members voted for a strike mandate over the weekend.
Both groups have been without a contract since it expired on Dec. 31.
VIDEO: Tory responds to whether or not city ‘aggressively’ bargaining with union
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