City of Hamilton reaches tentative deal with workers on the verge of strike

Hamilton workers rally in the city hall forecourt on Aug. 16, 2023 with just days remaining in a strike deadline. Global News

A strike by municipal workers in Hamilton has been called off after the city and union leaders struck a last-minute deal.

Around 3,200 city workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) were on the verge of a strike as a deal between municipal and union bargaining teams stalled. Unionized City of Hamilton employees would have been in a legal strike position from Monday morning.

On Saturday, the city announced it had reached a tentative deal. The deal means any strike action will be called off while the union allows its members to vote on whether or not to accept the agreement.

“Reaching a tentative agreement is a testament to the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect that guided these negotiations,” Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath said.

“Our employees play a vital role in shaping our city’s success, and this agreement reflects our commitment to supporting their contributions while maintaining our commitment to fiscal responsibility.”

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The union had, until the deal was announced, been loudly threatening to strike.

On Wednesday, hundreds of workers and their families rallied in the city hall forecourt to push the city to make a deal as a strike loomed. At the time, the union said it was at “an impasse” in negotiations with city officials.

A strike by workers would have impacted city-run child care, recreation, non-contacted garbage, animal control and bylaw.

Union members voted in favour of a strike in the spring despite the inclusion of a provincial conciliator assisting both sides on a collective agreement.

Workers were put into a legal strike position after union leaders asked for a “no board report” from the conciliator. That report was issued by the Ministry of Labor on Aug. 4.

The union said in a social media post that information sessions and a ratification vote will be posted next week.

The tentative deal will be made public after it is approved by CUPE workers.

— with files from Global News’ Don Mitchell

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