Council vote on union deal hits roadblock

At least 10 city politicians to vote against union contracts tomorrow
Wage increases, bankable sick days points of contentions
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier July 30. Read July 31 UPDATE on the final vote.)

City councillors known as the Responsible Government Group vowed to vote against the negotiated deals with CUPE locals 416 and 79 at tomorrow’s special council meeting.
“Throughout the last five weeks of a strike the people of Toronto have put up with trash in their parks and cancelled services because they believed it was necessary in order to achieve a fair and affordable contract,” Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Karen Stintz said at a press conference this morning. “We have achieved neither.”
The contracts award striking workers with a six percent pay increase over three years and an option to continue to bank sick days until retirement or take a buyout and switch to the new short term disability plan.

“After a strike of almost six weeks the unions and mayor have declared they have reached an agreement that is fair to both employees and the people of Toronto,” Toronto-Danforth councillor Case Ootes said today.  “Citizens have been let down. 
“The mayor promised to eliminate the costly sick benefit program and has failed to meet that commitment,” he added. “This agreement is not affordable and not acceptable to the taxpayers of Toronto.”Ootes indicated the wage increases for workers would cost $180 million between 2009-2011. 
The 10 councillors who plan to vote against the deal tomorrow are Stintz, Ootes, Don Valley West’s Cliff Jenkins and John Parker, Willowdale’s David Shiner, Scarborough reps Brian Ashton and Chin Lee, York reps Mike Feldman and Francis Nunziata, Etobicoke-Lakeshore’s Peter Milczyn. The eleventh council member of the group is Davenport’s Cesar Palacio, who would not be at the political session to vote.
The group would need 23 politicians on the 45-member council to vote against the union contracts in order to stop the deals from being ratified.

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