Toronto is now just one week away from a potential garbage strike
With a Feb. 27 strike deadline set and no deal in sight between Toronto and the union representing its more than 5,000 outside workers, municipal officials have released a contingency plan in the case of a mass "labour disruption."
Should a new collective agreement not be reached by both parties by next Friday morning, Toronto could see all public pools, recreation centres and skating rinks close.
Event permits for city parks, sports fields and arenas? Cancelled. Street cleaning and routine maintenance to roads, sidewalks and bridges? Suspended.
Perhaps worst of all, however, garbage collection would cease for commercial buildings across the city and in more than half of all residential areas.
City litter bins would also stop being serviced in the event of a strike, leaving Toronto's parks, streets and public squares flooded with trash (if what happened last time is any indication.)
The City of Toronto's "Contingency Plan for Potential TCEU Local 416 – CUPE Labour Disruption," released on Thursday, states that waste collection will be suspended completely East of Yonge Street in the event of a strike.
In the west end, where garbage collection has been contracted out to private firms, garbage "will continue to be collected as scheduled with potential delays."
Blue bins and green bins, on the other hand, will not be touched.
"Green Bins should not be placed at the curb, as they will not be emptied," the city advises people living west of Yonge. "Blue Bin (recycling) will not be collected: you will be asked to separate and store Blue Bin materials in clear plastic bags."
Contracted services use City transfer stations, so delays getting in and out due to picketing will limit collection abilities in the west.— Brad Ross (@bradrossTO) February 21, 2020
Should a labour disruption occur, the city will open 11 temporary waste drop-off sites, locations for which have yet to be announced.
City officials announced on Feb. 10 that a legal strike or lockout deadline had been set by Ontario's Ministry of Labour for Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416 — CUPE (CUPE 416) after more than four months of unsuccessful collective bargaining with the city.
Both the City of Toronto and CUPE 416 maintain that they wish to reach a settlement before the provincially-mandated strike/lockout deadline hits, but time is fast running out.
"The City's objective remains to negotiate a collective agreement that builds on previous rounds of bargaining, an agreement that is fair and reflects the important role City employees play in Toronto, and one that is affordable for the city’s residents and businesses," reads the city's contingency plan.
Garbage collectors expected to strike in Toronto and things could get messy https://t.co/8jmUkvxPId— Valerie Poirot (@ValeriePoirot) February 13, 2020
CUPE 416 issued a statement of its own in response to the city's contingency plan on Thursday.
"My goal is to get a deal, but I’m not encouraged by what I heard today," said CUPE 416 president Eddie Mariconda in the union's media release.
"I want to see our members delivering quality public services in neighbourhoods across Toronto. But based on what I saw from the City today, it's not clear to me they are equally committed to doing the work it will take to find solutions," he continued.
"I want to assure the residents of Toronto that if there is a stoppage it will be because of the City, not the union."
Whatever, man — just please don't let this be a repeat of 2009's hellish 40-day garbage strike.
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