Toronto Zoo, striking workers reach tentative deal: CUPE 1600
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, June 8, 2017 9:30AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 8, 2017 10:09AM EDT
The union representing striking Toronto Zoo workers says it has reached a tentative agreement with management, paving the way for the eventual reopening of the zoo.
About 400 members of CUPE Local 1600 walked off the job on May 11 after last-minute negotiations ahead of a midnight strike deadline failed to lead to a negotiated settlement.
There were no formal negotiations between the two sides for nearly a month after the strike began but on Tuesday the union announced that it had submitted a new proposal aimed at kickstarting talks.
Negotiations then resumed on Wednesday, eventually leading to the reaching of the tentative agreement sometime early Thursday morning.
In a press release, CUPE Local 1600 said the agreement was reached following “following nearly 24 hours of continuous bargaining between the parties, assisted by a provincially-appointed mediator.”
The union said that a special meeting and ratification vote will be held this weekend.
No details about the agreement have been released; however the union has previously said that their dispute with management moistly revolved around job security.
Speaking with CP24 on Thursday, Toronto Zoo spokesperson Jennifer Tracey described the agreement as “fair and reasonable” and said that it “acknowledges the unique work that is done at the zoo.”
Tracey also took a moment to thank members of the zoo management team that have looked after the animals during the strike.
“During this time the animals have received excellent care and not one of our conservation programs were impacted by the strike. A lot of thanks has to go out to the exempt staff who really kept everything together over the last month,” she said.
Tracey said that the zoo board will likely meet Monday or Tuesday to vote on the tentative agreement. She said that she hopes to have more clarity on when the zoo will reopen in the next “72 to 96 hours.”
CUPE 1600 represents about 400 zookeepers, horticulturalists, trades people, administrative and public relations workers and concession and ride operators.