Toronto Labour Dispute

Labour disruption looms for City of Toronto

Tick-tock. A labour disruption in Toronto this winter just got a whole lot more likely when earlier this afternoon the City filed a "no board" request with the Province. The request cites an impasse in negotiations with CUPE 416, the union that represents the City's outside workers. Assuming that the Ontario Labour Board grants it, a strike or a lockout could be on the horizon in roughly three weeks (17 days after the report is issued).

So which types of workers would be included in a labour disruption? Staff responsible for waste and recycling removal, road maintenance, animal control, and paramedics (to name only a few) could all be off the job should negotiations remain stalled.

Anyone else think this'll be a defining moment in Rob Ford's mayoralty?

Update (3:15 p.m.):

Here's the City of Toronto press release about the matter. I'll post CUPE's take if and when I get my hands on it.

"This afternoon, the City of Toronto requested a No Board Report from the Ontario Minister of Labour with regard to collective bargaining with the Toronto Civic Employees Union (CUPE) Local 416. Local 416 represents approximately 6,000 "outside workers". Collective bargaining with Local 79 continues.

Conciliation with Local 416 commenced on January 9 with the recently appointed Conciliation Officer. The parties met again on January 10 and today. Conciliation with Local 416 has not worked so far and the parties are at an impasse. In order to put a sharper focus on the City's interest in obtaining a negotiated agreement, the City has taken the next legal step available in its ongoing efforts to negotiate an agreement.

When the City of Toronto and Local 416 are notified of a "No Board", the union will be in a legal strike position and the City in a legal lockout position approximately 17 days from that date. The notification will provide a specific date from which any actions may be taken.

"The City of Toronto wants a negotiated settlement, which is why we have taken this step," said Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday. "We remain hopeful that if meaningful negotiations finally begin, a resolution remains possible during this 17-day period."

The City of Toronto is committed to negotiating a settlement that is fair, reasonable and affordable and that takes into account the City of Toronto's business operations needs and the fiscal challenges it faces. The goal is to bring the collective agreements back to a more reasonable level regarding the numerous terms and conditions of employment that govern how the City effectively manages its operations. The City also needs to negotiate appropriate wages and benefits to ensure ongoing financial sustainability.

The City has a contingency plan in place that addresses the operation of key City services in the event of a labour disruption. Plans will be communicated at the appropriate time."

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Photo by Neil Ta in the blogTO Flickr pool


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