Union issues ultimatum to city

Mark Ferguson, pres of CUPE local 416 issues new deadline for contract
If settlement not reached by midnight July 26, union negotiators walk away
By Kris Scheuer

So it’s day 33 of the strike and the union has issued an ultimatum to the city.
It is a day off for me at my job as a city hall news journalist, but I wanted to update you on the labour dispute.
It’s just before 5 p.m. July 24 and I’m watching a press conference televised live with Mark Ferguson, president of CUPE local 416. He just made a dramatic announcement that if his union and city negotiators don’t reach a labour settlement by midnight this Sunday, July 26 then CUPE local 416 will walk away from negotiations.
“I few minutes ago, I told the city’s negotiators that time is running out. We must have a settlement by midnight Sunday…or we are finished,” said Ferguson.
For the full transcript of his remarks, click here. Mayor David Miller issued a media statement today saying, “I am pleased that Local 416 will now bring that sense of urgency to the table. The city has been and remains fully prepared to bargain 24 hours a day to reach an agreement that is fair to our workers and affordable to Torontonians.”
As I am not working today, I can not give you much more details other than to say it appears that if an agreement is not reached in the next two and half days the union will stop negotiating.
This union reps about 8,000 outside city employees including: paramedics, social housing workers, water and wastewater specialists, librarians and other library workers, gardeners, labourers, animal control officers, parking lot attendants and garbage workers.
These union members have been in a legal strike position since June 22.
At the same time, about 18,000 inside city workers with CUPE local 79 also walked out 33 days ago. It appears Ann Dembinski, president of local 79, is not drawing the line in the sand for when a settlement must be reached.
In a July 24 statement she said, “We will continue to do that over the weekend. We have to take things one day at a time, but if the will is there on the part of the City, we believe it is possible to reach a settlement this weekend.”
I want to know what you think. Is it time to settle the labour unrest and is it the city or unions that need to be the one to back down in order to end the labour dispute? Post a response on my site or send me an e-mail at kscheuer@ sympatico.ca.
If you have more details, let me know. When I get more, I will post an update. Is that a deal we can shake on?


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