Politicians approve contracts with CUPE locals 416 and 79
Labour disruption now over, city services start back
By Kris Scheuer
(Written July 31 for Town Crier)
The 39-day strike is now over as city council has ratified all new contracts with both unions around 6:30 tonight.
“I am very pleased to be able to advise Torontonians that the labour disruption with CUPE locals 416 and 79 is finally over with a council ratification today,” Mayor David Miller told the media following the vote.
“I wish to thank Torontonians for their patience and understanding.”
Union staff started to empty 5,000 litter bins at the strike of midnight this morning even before a council vote was held.
Now that the strike’s officially over, workers will immediately begin the work of cleaning up the 26 temporary dumps of 25,000 tonnes of trash.
Other city services from regular garbage pick-up to daycare and community centres will be rolled out as soon as possible. For a full list of all city services go to the city’s website.
The mayor called the deals affordable for the city and Torontonians.
There are four new contracts with CUPE local 79 and one new deal with local 416 that all contain pay increases of 1.75 in 2009, 2 percent in 2010 and 2.25 in 2011.
As well, employees who are eligible to continue to bank sick days will have the option to accumulate 18 sick days a year and have them all paid out upon retirement. For those who qualify, union workers will have the option of having their existing banked sick days paid out if they switch to the contact’s new short term disability plan that offers a maximum of six months sick pay annually. New hires will automatically be put on the new short term disability plan.
The sick bank provision has been in the agreements for about 50 years, Miller said.
Over the next five years the city will reduce its labour costs by $140 million by phasing out the sick bank benefit and offering wage increases that are lower than what unions were getting in the old contracts, said Miller.
He said 5,000 employees are over 55 and will be retiring soon and replaced by new hires who will automatically be on the new plan.
The mayor was backed up on these figures by city manager Joseph Pennachetti who stood beside him at a press conference following the vote.
Pennachetti said the liability is currently as $120 million if the city was to pay out all currently banked sick days by the two union locals.
“It was going to be about $220 million in about five years,” Pennachetti said.