City says no new offer coming to part-time workers
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, March 29, 2012 10:02PM EDT
The city will not improve on the offer that part-time recreation workers rejected Wednesday, officials said at a news conference Thursday morning.
Part-time recreation workers are the only remaining members of CUPE Local 79 that could walk off the job or be locked out, after two other bargaining units voted in favour of the city's latest offer Wednesday.
A fourth bargaining unit representing long-term care homes and services workers also voted against the offer, but the unit is classified as an essential service, meaning binding arbitration will decide their next contract.
Robert Reynolds, Director of Employee and Labour Relations, told reporters that the city will meet with CUPE Local 79 on Friday.
He said he is hopeful union leaders will reconsider the city's offer and formally recommend it to part-time recreation workers.
The union did not make a formal recommendation to members prior to Wednesday's vote.
"We are hoping that now that they have seen how many employees have voted for this deal they will have second thoughts and hopefully recommend it," he said
Some of the highlights of the deal include a 4.5 per cent wage increase over four years and an increase in the number of year's seniority required to keep your job in the event of privatization from 10 to 15.
The deal is very similar to one that members of the city's outside workers union, CUPE Local 416, voted to accept last month.
"We offered a deal that was fair and reasonable for both employees and taxpayers and the vast majority of our employees agreed," Mayor Rob Ford told reporters. "These agreements give the city the ability to improve customer service while controlling costs and they give managers and front-line workers the ability to deliver customer service excellence in a flexible way."
The two bargaining units that voted in favour of the offer represented workers in child care facilities, by-law enforcement, planning applications and building permits, employment and social services, court services, shelter and housing support and public health services.
Ford mum on what's next
Members of CUPE Local 79 have been without a contract since midnight on Dec. 31.
Though the city had threatened to impose the terms and conditions of its latest offer on any workers that voted against it, Ford refused to answer whether the city would follow through on that threat Thursday.
Bruce Anderson, Toronto's executive director of human resources, did say that the city would meet with CUPE Local 79 before making any decision on what to do next.
"We are going to listen to what they have to say and we will make a decision at that point in time," he told reporters.
While city officials contend that there is no better deal to be had, CUPE Spokesperson Cim Nunn told reporters that it's at least a good sign that the city is willing to talk.
"If we are back at the table and have an opportunity to improve the deal it is a lot better than some of the alternatives the city had threatened earlier," he said. "Our hope is that the meeting tomorrow will be the beginning of an opportunity to find a way to bargain a solution."
The main remaining hurdle preventing a deal from getting done with part-time recreation workers is the city's desire to have full control over scheduling, Nunn said.
CUPE Local 79s previous contract with the city contained a stipulation that required the city to assign shifts based on seniority.
"As you accumulate seniority as a part time worker one of the most important opportunities you have is a chance to give yourself a more predictable work line," Nunn said. "This deal takes that away and that's a problem."
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