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City of Toronto needs to shift focus from contingency planning to negotiating a fair deal with CUPE Local 79

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— Toronto, ON—The President of the Union representing 20,000 City of Toronto ‘Inside’ workers today urged the City to shift its focus from contingency plans to the place it needs to be— the bargaining table.

“The best possible contingency plan is to negotiate a fair contract,” said Dave Mitchell, President of Local 79 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Local 79).

“Our focus remains on doing the work necessary to conclude negotiations without a labour disruption, but time is running out. We have four-and-a-half days left to negotiate four collective agreements that are fair to all parties and protect the vital quality public services that residents expect and depend on. That goal remains possible, but becomes much more difficult when the City fails to put its attention where it needs to be,” he added.

Mitchell’s remarks follow the City’s announcement of contingency plans in the event of a labour disruption. The City and CUPE Local 79 are attempting to negotiate a renewal of their collective agreements ahead of a lockout or strike deadline of 12:01 a.m., Saturday, March 14. The previous agreements expired on December 31.

CUPE Local 79 represents 20,000 City of Toronto employees in four separate units— full-time and part-time City employees, recreation workers and long-term care workers.

“No contingency plan will address the uncertainty families are feeling about their March Break planning, and no contingency plan will meaningfully address the crucial issues City leadership and our members need to confront in weeks to come. For the sake of all Toronto residents, I urge the City to get serious about bargaining a fair contract, so we can all get back to doing the important work residents expect us to do,” said Mitchell.

He added that CUPE Local 79’s bargaining committees will continue to work throughout the week to successfully conclude negotiations.

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