City calls then cancels news conference on talks with union
Web staff, cp24.com
Published Saturday, March 24, 2012 10:32PM EDT
The city has abruptly cancelled a news conference, where they were expected to make a "major announcement" on negotiations with CUPE Local 79.
The news conference was to be held at 9:45 p.m., but was cancelled without warning.
In an email to CP24 City of Toronto Spokesperson Jackie DeSouza said the news conference was cancelled because of an unknown "development".
DeSouza said talks are continuing between the city and the union with an update possible at some point later Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
Marathon negotiations continue
Members of CUPE Local 79 were in a legal position to walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, but negotiators for the union and city chose to stay at the table until 6 a.m. in an attempt to broker a deal.
After a break to allow for sleep, negotiators for the city and the union returned to the table at 12 p.m.
In an earlier interview with CP24 CUPE Spokesperson Cim Nunn said "significant progress" has been made.
"We are down to about a half dozen issues," Cim Nunn told CP24 Saturday morning. "That said it is a significant challenge to get those last few pieces in place. All of the issues that are outstanding are issues on which the union has already extended concessions, so it is difficult for us to have to offer up more."
Some of the remaining sticking points preventing a deal getting done revolve around job security and part-time worker rights.
"The city has adopted a very firm, rigid approach to some of the issues, but we are looking for a way to work through it," Nunn told CP24. "There are not very many (issues) to go."
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday told CP24 on Saturday afternoon that talks are moving in the "right" direction.
He said a number of key issues remain, but said a deal can be reached.
"We believe we can get it," he said. "We got it with (CUPE) 416 and there is really no reason why we can't get it with (CUPE) 79."
CUPE Local 79 represents nurses, janitors, ambulance dispatchers, recreation workers, child-care workers and urban planners.
If the union does walk off the job, the city says daycares, pools, arenas and community centres would be closed as would museums, art galleries and cultural facilities run by the city.
Emergency services would not be impacted.