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City, Outdoor Workers’ Union Inch Closer to Lockout

Moments ago, at a press conference, Mark Ferguson, president of CUPE Local 416 (which represents the City’s outdoor workers), announced that the City’s negotiators have tabled a “provocative” final offer that would “gut” the union’s existing collective agreement. The union, according to Ferguson, was told to “take it or leave it.” This is a marked reversal in tone for Ferguson. Yesterday, he issued a written statement in which he said the union and the City were making “significant progress” toward reaching an agreement. The City could lock out Local 416 workers as early as Sunday.

UPDATE: February 3, 2:15 PM The City has just released the details of its offer to CUPE Local 416 [PDF]. As expected, key sticking points have to do with issues of job security. The City’s spokespeople are now saying that the City has no plans to lock out workers, and that it will instead impose its terms on Sunday, unilaterally.


  • Anonymous

    So, in other words, the City waited until the last moment to drop an a-bomb on the union. If the union accepts, the city gets a significantly weaker union. If the union rejects, the city gets to lock out the workers and say the workers didn’t negotiate, and the Ford Base will blame the union. Either way, union gets busted, which was the goal to begin with.

    • Anonymous

      Knee-jerk right wingers would blame the union regardless.

  • Anonymous

    The city and the union were making significant progress? Only in Ferguson’s warped sense of reality. Now I understand why Holiday was less than optimistic. I think the city has been clear in what it wants from day 1 – hardly a last minute bomb drop blearghhh.

    • Squintz

      The City has been negotiating in bad faith you mean. The City has been training managers since day one to do the outside workers jobs when they lock them out. They never had any intention of reaching a compromise they want to break the unions and try to make the stoppage their fault.
      This is a bomb because the City has been pretending they wanted to negotiate for months and now their final proposal is pretty much the original unreasonable offer they first put on the table. This lockout is completely on the City try to ensure that there is no more middle class and stable public services are a thing of the past.

      • Anonymous

        Funny how the City can just impose terms on union employees…. if you’re in a non-union job, your original contract remainds unless you and your employee agree otherwise. Looks like not being in a union is better!

      • Anonymous

        I think everyone expected the city and union to butt heads on this contract so it would be irresponsible if the city did not make plans for a work stoppage. There were certain things the city had no intention of compromising on – nor should they. The fact that the union would take a wage freeze for 3 yrs (unheard of in public sector) just illustrates how valuable these provisions are to them and how expensive they are to the city.

        • Anonymous

          Can you explain to me without rhetoric, how ensuring employment for someone with 20+ years of experience so that they can pay their property taxes, income taxes, CPP and EI premiums is an expense to the city?

          Think of the alternative, now THAT’S expensive.

          • Anonymous

            The city is offering to ensure employment for anyone with 20+ years experience – well 21 to be exact. They are offering job security provisions for employees with 21+ ys of service, down from their originally proposed 25yrs. Under the existing contract that provision is in place for all full time employees. The union counter proposal is for security after 5yrs.

          • Anonymous

            The amount of services needed by Toronto hasn’t shrunk since 1999 – why would anyone need to be laid off? Lay-offs are for when your customer base is shrinking.

          • Anonymous

            So it’s also probably stupid to invest in our communities and people… Gotchya!

            You also failed to tell me why it’s an expense to the city.

            Thanks for the CityTV update I guess?

  • Guesty

    Apparently the imposed terms will include the City not collecting or remitting union dues. This kind of extreme union-busting will certainly please hard-right, anti-union types but puts the lie to the line that they are actually trying come to a solution acceptable to both sides. This is an extremely aggressive, scorched-earth tactic.

    • Anonymous

      Egads, on top of everything else, we collect dues for the union as well?? That seems pretty extreme to me.

    • Anonymous

      So instead dues being deducted directly from union member’s pay, the members will have to send the money off themselves. That will change nothing.

  • Anonymous

    Read the PDF. The only thing provocative about it is seeing the list of ridiculous benefits and weird protections that union members get. Most people not employed by government would be shocked to find that their taxes pay for all this.

    Seriously though, can anyone explain what’s “provocative” about this offer?

    • Anonymous

      I find it more ridiculous and weird that someone would infer that we should all drag each other to the bottom. This isn’t a barrel of crabs…

      • Anonymous

        So, no, you can’t? I don’t see how anyone working outside the public sector club are going to get dragged down to the bottom as a result of this. And those in it still won’t be anywhere near the bottom.

        • Anonymous

          That’s ironic that you replied on a weekend. Just remember that… Serf.

          • Anonymous

            Public sector unions aren’t responsible for my having a weekend in the slightest. They weren’t even around then. You wouldn’t be attempting to cloak them in the accomplishments of ancient religions, time-saving technology that emerged from of western capitalism, Henry Ford and private sector unions, would you? Because that would be extremely shameful.

          • Anonymous

            Care to prove that? Or you just going to talk out of your ass?

            If not for Unions we would not have Weekends.

            If not for Unions we would not have the 8 hour workday.

            If not for Unions we would not have Child Labor Laws.

            If not for Unions we would not have a Minimum Wage.

            If not for Unions we would not have Overtime Pay.

            If not for Unions, Women would be fired when they got Pregnant.

            If not for Unions, Workers would be fired if they were injured on the job or got sick.

            If not for Unions there would be no Workman’s Compensation or Unemployment Insurance.

            “Throughout the world, action by the labour movement has led to reforms and workers’ rights, such as the two-day weekend, minimum wage, paid holidays, and the achievement of the eight-hour day for many workers. There have been many important labour activists in modern history who have caused changes that were revolutionary at the time and are now regarded as basic. For example, Mary Harris Jones, better known as “Mother Jones”, and the National Catholic Welfare Council were central in the campaign to end child labour in the United States during the early 20th century. An active and free labour movement is considered by many to be an important element in maintaining democracy and for economic development.”

            So, seriously – suck it.

          • Anonymous

            and all this during the largest strike in human history is underway, as 100 million workers in India take to the streets!

            Among the unions’ demands are a national minimum wage, permanent jobs for 50 million contract labourers, more government efforts to rein in the rising cost of living, and an end to the sale of stakes in profitable public companies.