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2012 lockout/strike in the media
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2012 lockout/strike in the media (5)

Feb 9 - Feb 15 15-Feb-2012 [1030]

From the Globe and Mail, Feb 15, 2012

Toronto council approves agreement with garbage workers, paramedics

On the day Toronto council ratified a hard-fought contract with its second-largest union, the agreement could face a legal challenge from disgruntled paramedics.

Councillors approved the agreement with CUPE Local 416 on Wednesday, the final vote needed to implement a contract that grants 6,000 garbage workers, paramedics and other outside workers a 6 per-cent pay hike over four years and rolls back some job security provisions.


Mr. Ford quoted city staff estimates that predict savings of $35-million from “productivity gains from improved efficiency” and $54-million from reductions for post-age 65 retiree benefits. Greater flexibility in shift scheduling and more efficient, modern work practices will save millions of dollars more.

This agreement will save taxpayers a total of up to $100-million and allow City managers to improve customer service through more flexible work practices.

The complete article

From the National Post, Feb 15, 2012

Some paramedics discontent with CUPE deal that prevented strike

City council is meeting this morning to consider the recently negotiated CUPE Local 416 contract, two days after the union ratified the deal.

The new collective agreement, which came after 26 sessions of bargaining, includes a 6% wage hike for outside workers spread over four years and removes the controversial “jobs for life” clause for anyone with less than 15 years of seniority.

City manager Joe Pennachetti has recommended that council approve the deal, and that is widely expected to happen, but Wednesday’s meeting began with councillors going in camera to deal with a question from Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (York West) about complaints from paramedics.

Paramedics, some arguing the deal squeezed concessions from them without offering adequate compensation, have publicly mused about challenging Monday’s ratification vote. Toronto Paramedic Association president Geoff MacBride has said that some paramedics voted based on an inaccurate information sheet from the union that indicated ambulance workers would be given their own bargaining unit, separate from Local 416. In reality, while paramedics gained a new binding arbitration mechanism for dispute resolution, they will remain part of Local 416.

The complete article

From the Star, Feb. 14, 2012

Union’s seniority concession in CUPE 416 deal is unique in Canada

Concessions against gains, the deal negotiated between Local 416 and the city shakes out to be a win for the latter.

CUPE officials privately concede the union lost significant ground, but stress they still have one of the best contracts in the country.

On Wednesday councillors will get a chance to vote on that agreement. The deal was ratified by the outdoor workers’ union Monday night.

Here’s a coast-to-coast comparison:


  • Job security: City employees with less than 15 years of seniority can now be laid off without the ability to bump down into a lower job classification. Labour officials and lawyers the Star surveyed across the country had never heard of something similar in a large jurisdiction.
  • Streamlined layoff process: In the previous deal, someone handed with a layoff notice would enter a black hole of redeployment, moving from job to job in a complicated “bumping” process. The new deal has firm language that sets up a specific beginning-to-end process and imposes new restrictions, such as allowing employees to “bump” only within their geographic quadrant of the city.
  • Cost containment: Toronto’s 6,000 outdoor workers will receive a 6 percent pay hike spread out over four years. They also sacrificed some benefits. For example, eyeglasses used to be covered at $450 every two years. It’s now $400.

Toronto workers also have benefits not seen anywhere else. For example: an employee who is bumped into a lower category with a lower pay can maintain their higher salary for two years.

The complete article

From the National Post, Feb 14, 2012

Paramedics mulling ‘mutiny’ against CUPE over labour deal with the City

Incensed by the freshly negotiated CUPE Local 416 deal and its implications for ambulance workers, paramedics are contemplating an open revolt against the union.

“I woke up this morning to 30 text messages from paramedics screaming for blood. I’m looking at my Facebook wall and I have several hundred paramedics on there, and they are livid,” Toronto Paramedic Association president Geoff MacBride said Tuesday. “The word mutiny is not too far from what I think is in the near future… People who are staunch, staunch union supporters are screaming to get out of this union now.”

Union president Mark Ferguson, meanwhile, derided what he called a negative campaign by “a very small group of separatists” bent on realizing a “long-held agenda” to break up Local 416.

“We’ve done an exceptional job representing paramedics, but really this has more to do with politics and less to do with facts,” Mr. Ferguson contended.

The complete article

From the Star, Feb 13, 2012

City workers to get 6% pay hike over four years

Outdoor city workers will get a 6 per cent raise over four years in exchange for significant concessions on job security.

Members of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 416 ratified the proposed collective agreement on Monday.

It was endorsed by a “large majority” of members, said local president Mark Ferguson.

“We faced incredible challenges in this round of bargaining including an employer that failed to reach compromises at many points,” he said.

Council will almost certainly approve the agreement at its special meeting Wednesday.

The complete article

From the National Post, Feb 13, 2012

Toronto city workers ratify deal despite protest

Despite the protests of 400 Toronto paramedics, a “large majority” of 6,000 outside city workers voted to accept an 11th-hour collective agreement struck last week.

“This agreement comes with significant compromise,” said CUPE 416 president Mark Ferguson, speaking to reporters Monday night.

“There are a number of people unhappy with this agreement. When a number of people are unhappy with an agreement, you know you have struck the right balance.”

The agreement promises wage increases of 4.5% over four years, an amount well below the rate of inflation — although union members will receive a 1.5% lump-sum payment in 2013.


The city remains in talks with CUPE Local 79, which represents about 23,000 inside workers.

The complete article

From the Nathional Post, Feb 13, 2012

CUPE Local 416 members cast votes on new contract with City of Toronto

About 6,000 outside city workers are voting on their new contract Monday.

CUPE Local 416 and the City of Toronto finalized the terms of the collective agreement last week, after a tentative deal was struck at the eleventh hour that averted a potential labour disruption.

The City had threatened to unilaterally change the terms of the contract if a deal was not reached. Details of the contract have been kept largely under wraps, but the Ford administration has focused its efforts on contentious job security provisions and bumping rights.

The new terms will be made public after city council approval.

The results of Monday’s vote should be made public between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. A special council meeting to consider the contract has been scheduled for Wednesday.

The complete article

From the National Post, Feb 12, 2012

Mark Ferguson: Union sought compromise while city looked for conflict

In 2011, more than 450 CUPE locals negotiated contracts with employers across Canada. Of those, there were just three strikes and two lockouts. Spokespeople for the City of Toronto have tried to frame their approach as an economic necessity and political inevitability, but clearly, they were close to upsetting — whether intentionally or otherwise — a careful balance between workers, employers and communities that had been established over decades. All for the sake of ideology.

CUPE 416, by contrast, was making offers from the start: on wages, hours, scheduling and employment security. The employer, faced with an opponent who stubbornly refused to stop negotiating — and the fact that the public valued services enough to reward the people who deliver them — saw their own deadline become a double-edged sword. Abandoning their aggression, they granted a last-minute extension, and finally settled down to make up for months of failing to bargain in just a few hours.

The complete article

from the National Post, Feb 10, 2012

Toronto union deal has medics nervous

An information blackout surrounding the tentative CUPE Local 416 deal is fomenting dissent among paramedics, who have grown increasingly concerned about what they may be asked to give up.

After reaching an agreement in principle last weekend, the union representing outside workers spent the week embroiled in closed-door discussions with city negotiators to convert it into specific contract language. The collective agreement was finalized late Thursday, but will not be shown to members until Monday’s ratification vote.

From what they have managed to glean throughout the negotiation process, though, paramedics fear the deal will negatively impact their working conditions, said Toronto Paramedic Association president Geoff MacBride — particularly since paramedics comprise a minority fraction of the 6,000-member union.

The complete article

From the Star, Feb 9, 2012

Toronto outside workers union to vote on tentative deal Monday

The City of Toronto and the union representing its outside workers on Thursday put the finishing touches on a tentative agreement reached on Sunday that averted a work stoppage.

That clears the way for CUPE Local 416 members to vote on Monday whether to accept the deal.


Negotiations continue with the union representing the city’s 23,000 inside workers.

The complete article