ago toronto

The AGO in Toronto is finally reopening after weeks-long closure

After a workers' strike forced it to close its doors for an entire month, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is reopening to the public this week.

The union representing employees who walked off the job on March 26 has announced that they've accepted the terms of a new collective agreement, which includes an 11.4 per cent pay increase for both full- and part-time employees, with a one per cent increase retroactive back to December 1, 2021.

The institution is also set to offer more opportunities for part-timers to move up to full-time positions, minimize its reliance on third-party contractors instead of existing staff and allow workers to float between multiple positions.

In addition, gallery staff are in line to receive shift premiums, improved time-off policies, meal allowances and other perks as a result of the strike action.

"This agreement opens important doors in the fight against encroaching and long-standing precarity at the Art Gallery of Ontario," the President of union OPSEU/SEFPO said in a press release about the new deal on Friday.

They added that being in the public service sector, AGO personnel had previously been subject to a one per cent per year cap on salary increases while management was "receiving yearly pay bumps in the range of 10-59 per cent." 

Hundreds of members of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 535 — including staff in AGO's food and beverage, retail, and custodial departments, along with educators, archivists, assistant curators and technicans — took part in an online ratifcation vote Friday night into Saturday, with 85 per cent in favour of the new tentative terms.

The downtown attraction at Dundas and McCaul streets will reopen at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30, resuming regular operating hours.

Lead photo by

Frank Wang/Unsplash

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