Tag Archives: city strike

Karen Stintz’s opinion on city strike

City lost in the deal with strikers
An exclusive op-ed for the Town Crier by Councillor Karen Stintz
By Councillor Karen Stintz
(Written Sept. 8 for Town Crier)

Councillor Karen Stintz questions if city can afford new contact with local unions.

In last month’s Town Crier, Mayor David Miller had an opportunity to provide his perspective on the civic strike and the settlement that concluded the labour disruption. He claims his bargaining goals were met.
Weeks later and thanks to almost $1 million dollars in overtime, the city is cleaned up and back to business.
But let’s be clear: a financial mess remains. And for this reason alone Toronto residents endured a 39-day strike for nothing.
On day one of the strike, Toronto residents gamely hunkered down for a long, tough fight. They understood important issues were at hand. Mayor Miller himself told residents the city was facing “enormous budget challenges in 2009, 2010 and beyond.”
For this reason he said, “the cost of providing services must be in balance with the revenues the city has to pay the bills”. Continue reading

Strike’s over, who won and lost?

A reflection on the civic labour dispute
(This was written Aug. 7 for Town Crier.)

So the 39-day strike is over.
Are you still wondering who emerged victorious from this civic battle? 
I am. 
“Everyone loses. Civility is lost. Spin replaces truth. The Canadian sense of compromise is compromised,” lefty councillor Joe Mihevc tells me. “I don’t know any strike where people can say, ‘this ended well’.”
No one wins in a strike, Mayor David Miller said repeatedly at press conferences and I agree. 
But clearly this messy public fight can’t be summed up as simply as “everyone lost”. So I’m taking a closer look at exactly who won and lost from the point of view of the residential taxpayers, the City of Toronto and unions. 
I also looked at the labour unrest from the perspective of businesses, the mayor and society at large, click here for that story. Continue reading

Talbot Apartment OMB hearing postponed

The Ontario Municipal Board will now consider Leaside buildings’ fate in Nov.
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally published Aug. 17 for
Town Crier.)

Those wanting a swift conclusion to the long battle over preserving Leaside’s Talbot apartments will likely wait until the new year for a decision.
The Ontario Municipal Board has rescheduled the case from Aug. 24 until Nov. 2.
The municipal government sought the adjournment because during the 39-day strike city planning lawyers were redeployed to other duties and witnesses were walking the picket lines.
OMB member Marc Denhez delivered the oral decision to postpone the case at the end of a July 31 conference call with representatives from all three parties, according to Carol Burtin Fripp, a director with the Leaside Property Owners Association, which is participating in the hearings. 
“It’s given us more time to get our statements together from residents who are participants,” she said following the postponement. Continue reading

What I learned from city strike

We produce too much garbage, litter and packaging
I am doing my own waste audit to see how I can improve
By Kris Scheuer
(Column originally published in Town Crier Aug. 4)

Something stinks in the “state” of Toronto and it’s not just the garbage strike.
As a city hall reporter and lifelong Torontonian, here is my trash talk on garbage, litter and my top observations during the nearly six week labour unrest.
Number 1: we produce way too much waste, folks.
We deposited a total of 25,000 tonnes of waste in 26 temporary, neighbourhood garbage dumps, Geoff Rathbone, head of solid waste management told reporters on July 30.
Let’s think about that for a sec. The dumps opened June 25, some of them, such as Christie Pits, closed a mere 11 days later because they were at capacity. The amount of garbage we threw out at these dumps doesn’t even include the tonnes thrown out at seven waste transfer stations. Continue reading

Toronto services held up by strike

No date yet for city services to resume
Without a vote by local 416 garbage may continue to fester
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally published July 29 for Town Crier.)

Summer is still on hold.
When a tentative deal was reached between striking unions and the city on Monday Mayor David Miller said the next challenge is “bringing summer back.” 
But today, Miller was unable release details of when city services, such as garbage collection and day camps, would resume. As of this afternoon, CUPE local 416 had yet to schedule a vote on the tentative agreement with the city. 
“The intent of this press conference was to announce a schedule for the resumption of services. Until (CUPE) locals 79 and 416 sign on to back-to-work protocol, we can’t do that,” Miller said this afternoon. “I regret that.”
He added, “We wanted to have our employees back to work as early as Thursday morning.” Continue reading

Woodbine beach swimming unsafe

Swims not recommended at Sunnyside, Kew-Balmy and Bluffer’s either: city
Cherry only beach with low E.coli levels in water department latest tests
By Kris Scheuer

Toronto water departmentis testing water quality at five city beaches. The latest test, on Monday, was posted on July 28 and indicates only one of these beaches has a safe enough level of E.coli for Toronto Public Health to declare it safe for swimming. So dive right in at Cherry Beach, the water is just fine.
The weather is starting to pick up, so let me know what the water temperature is like if you do head down there.
Keep in mind that the city, which normally tests water daily at 11 beaches, is doing modified testing during the strike which is not officially over yet. So check the city’s site for the latest as new tests are conducted Monday-Friday at Sunnyside, Kew-Balmy, Woodbine, Cherry and Bluffer’s beaches. Continue reading

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. Continue reading