Union Filing Grievance Over Rob Ford's Handling of Bomb Threat




Union Filing Grievance Over Rob Ford’s Handling of Bomb Threat

CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire says the mayor "acted inappropriately and irresponsibly" and put staff at risk.

Photo by Steve M, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire announced today that the union—which represents City workers—will be filing a grievance over the mayor and City’s response to a recent bomb threat. On August 11, Mayor Rob Ford informed the media that Doug Ford had received an email bomb threat, in which the sender threatened to detonate explosives at City Hall unless the mayor and his brother vacated the premises. City Hall workers, though, were not apprised of the threat, and learned of it only through media reports—and Maguire believes that the mayor may have been guilty of a breach of policy when he made the matter public.

“We think the mayor acted inappropriately and irresponsibly,” Maguire said, noting that staff might have been put at risk. “We would like the Ministry of Labour to let us know if the City followed its policies and if it didn’t, what should be done.”

The City of Toronto has a bomb threat and suspicious package response policy, which states, “Please do not make any comments to any members of the public or media regarding any threat or evacuation at any City of Toronto facility. For the safety of employees and the public, the situation must be kept as calm and orderly as possible.”

Maguire said that the union wants to determine what exactly happened on Monday and to “make sure going forward that if there are threats, it is dealt with in a rational manner.”

Responding to news of the grievance, Mayor Ford explained that he doesn’t regret his actions: “When there’s a bomb threat, you gotta let the people in the city know what happens. What happens if you don’t say anything and if there is a bomb and there is an explosion?”

“Then the first thing they’d say is ‘He knew about it, he didn’t warn anyone,'” the mayor added.

He also claimed that he’d acted only after receiving instruction from police: “I talked to police. They came into my office. Should I go out and talk to the media? Yes, do exactly that.” But a police spokesperson later disputed that account, issuing a statement saying “The officers were spoken to by their supervisors, and the officers’ recollection differs [from that of the mayor].”

On Monday, the mayor himself, on being asked whether he’d gone public with the bomb threat after receiving advice from police, said, “No, I’m acting on my own advice.”

UPDATE: August 15, 2014, 2:05 PM This post has been updated with information about the mayor’s response.