Strike still looms for city’s indoor workers

Despite extension, labour dispute could shut down city-run daycares, community centres, public health services starting Monday

For a second consecutive day, CUPE Local 79 and the City of Toronto have agreed to extend the deadline of their contract discussions by 24 hours.

Local 79 president Tim Maguire would not comment on the status of ongoing discussions with the city at a press conference at the Sheraton Hotel Saturday afternoon. He said, however, the fact that both parties remain at the table is a good thing.

“We’re not focused on disruption, we’re focused on collective agreements,” Maguire said.

Over 23,000 of the city’s indoor employees can legally strike at 12:01 a.m. Monday if the negotiating parties fail to reach an agreement. These talks come just days after Toronto avoided a strike by striking a tentative deal with the city’s 5,400 outdoor workers.

Should negotiations fail, city-run community centres, arenas, rinks and daycares will close Monday, and services such as licence and permit administration would temporarily cease operating.

According to Maguire, his union members, after having already dropped demands for benefit improvements, cannot afford cuts.

“We’re looking for collective agreements that don’t take hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, out of our members pockets to pay for necessary cuts,” Maguire said.

Mayor John Tory, however, stated on Thursday the city will not give into Local 79’s demands for more money, or more lucrative benefit packages.

“We would like the city to meet us halfway and find a settlement that both meets the needs of our city, and the needs of our members,” Maguire said.

Talks concluded 8:30 p.m. Saturday evening and will resume Sunday morning.