Toronto outside workers reach tentative labour deal with city after marathon talks
TORONTO — The union representing outside civic workers said it has reached a tentative labour agreement with the city, but a similar deal has yet to be reached with inside municipal workers ahead of a looming strike deadline.
The deal was announced following a round of marathon negotiations which went past midnight and into Friday morning.
“This has been a very difficult and challenging round of bargaining but we have emerged from this process with a tentative agreement,” said CUPE local 416 spokesperson Matt Alloway during a brief press conference at the DoubleTree hotel in downtown Toronto.
“We will be presenting this to our members over the next few days for ratification, which we will be recommending.”
No details of the tentative agreement were disclosed to members of the media.
CUPE local 416, which represents the city’s outside workers, have been in a strike-lockout position as of 12:01 a.m. ET Friday while inside workers represented by CUPE local 79 has its own deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET on Feb. 20.
The unions have accused the city of proposing major cuts at the bargaining table while the municipality cites “financial circumstances” as a reason to curb costs.
“I am very pleased we have come together in the best interests in our hardworking staff and in the best interests of the people of Toronto,” Mayor John Tory said, adding that a deal still needs to be met with inside workers with CUPE Local 79.
“It is now up to both sides — union membership and the council — to ratify this new agreement. Our job of course is not done today, more heavy lifting remains.”
Tory said there was still much work to be done in a short time to reach a “responsible deal” with CUPE Local 79, which would be fair to both sides.
“I think what we have is a precedent that if two sides sit down and conduct themselves in a vigorous but honest and straightforward way and they keep at it, that a deal can be arrived at that is fair to the employees and fair to the citizens of Toronto,”
“So I hope that that particular precedent, without getting into the substance of what’s in any agreement — one or the other — will be followed and we’ll have an agreement sometime soon with Local 79.”
WATCH: CUPE Local 416 spokesperson Matt Alloway announces tentative labour agreement
A spokesperson from CUPE Local 416 told Global News early Friday morning some of the major stumbling blocks included job security, wages and benefits.
Local 416 represents 5,400 outside workers, including garbage collectors and parks staff while Local 79 represents 23,100 inside workers, including nurses, social service employees and ambulance dispatchers.
Both unions have been without a contract since the end of 2015.
City child care, community centres and garbage collection east of Yonge Street are among the services that were slated to shut down if a deal didn’t come together.
Essential services like paramedics and long-term care homes won’t be affected and other municipal services such as transit, police, fire services, community housing and all but four library branches will continue as normal.
VIDEO: City strike or lockout looms as negotiations reach an impasse
With files from The Canadian Press
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