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January 2012 President's Report

Dear Fellow Local 79 Member:

First of all, I would like to wish you a happy and healthy New Year. This is a very special year for Local 79 as we celebrate our 70th Anniversary! A group of City of Toronto employees began to organize Local 79 in 1941, seeking better wages and working conditions. The Trades and Labour Congress issued a Charter to the Toronto Municipal Association Local 79 (now CUPE Local 79) on March 23, 1942.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank former Local 79 President Ann Dembinski for all of her hard work and the many years that she has devoted in service of the entire membership of Local 79. Before Ann was first elected Local 79 President in 2000, she served the Local as Second Vice-President/Chief Steward, Unit Officer, Executive Board Member, as well as a Steward. All of Ann’s efforts on behalf of Local 79 have made our Union Local stronger and ready to meet the challenges ahead. I am proud to have served on several Executive Boards under Ann’s leadership and plan to build on the strong foundation that she has developed.

Even though the City Collective Agreements “expired” on Dec. 31, 2011, all of the terms and conditions of employment continue to apply. The Collective Agreements will remain in force until we sign new ones, or unless the City chooses to make changes. Legally the City could do so 17 days after the Ontario Minister of Labour issues a “no board” report.

Although the City has asked for a “no board” report on Local 416 bargaining, setting the stage for a lockout of the outside workers by the beginning of February, the City has NOT asked the conciliator for a “no board” report for Local 79. Local 79 is still in the very early stages of bargaining and four more days of talks are scheduled before the end of January. Local 79’s objective continues to be to negotiate four fair Collective Agreements for our members and work with the City to preserve the vital public services that residents depend upon. However, the City could choose to request a “no board” report at any time. Your Local 79 Bargaining Committees need your full support. Get connected by visiting our website at www.cupelocal79.org, register on the special Members’ Portal and keep checking the Portal for updated information. We are not looking for a conflict, we will remain at the table determined to negotiate the Collective Agreements, and we expect the City to do the same.

It is abundantly clear that the City wants to erase decades of hard-won contractual protections for Local 79 members. The City’s proposals threaten every member, whether full-time, temporary or part-time. The City have yet to specify exactly what will be cut in their proposed 10-per cent reduction in our benefit package, but some of the most offensive of the City’s contract proposals affect thousands of part-timers and the members working in long term care homes. The City proposes to reduce the hours of work for long term care homes workers by five hours a week, ending overlapping shifts. Anyone who has family in long term care understands the need for overlapping shifts!

On Thursday, December 29th, Local 79 held its second telephone town hall meeting for members who work for the City of Toronto to talk about contract negotiations. Thousands of members participated and Local 79 will continue to schedule town hall meetings as bargaining proceeds. Your repeated involvement and support will ensure that we succeed in this crucial round of negotiations.

Local 79 Past President Ann Dembinski made a deputation to the Budget Committee Special Meeting in December. Despite the fact that some of the proposed budget cuts have now been eliminated, we stand to lose child care centres, long term care homes, homeless shelters, youth outreach programmes, and hundreds of City cleaning jobs. The City’s most vulnerable people will suffer the most if Council does not step in and stop a budget that guts the services and programmes that all Torontonians rely on.

The Award for the Bridgepoint Hospital Service Units has been issued and it is a 4 year deal which includes a 2% increase in each year. Years 2 and 3 were the issues referred to Arbitration by agreement of Local 79 and the Hospital. The Award, issued by Arbitrator Goodfellow on November 22, 2011, awarded the 2% increases in each year of the term of the agreement. Retroactive wages will be paid by the Hospital within ninety (90) days of the Award.

The Bridgepoint Hospital Nurses and Paramedical Units had two days of conciliation December 13 and 14, 2011. Discussions were productive but no agreement was reached. Local 79 and the Hospital are seeking additional dates to continue our discussion through conciliation.

Congratulations to all the Local 79 members at Bridgepoint Hospital who held a fundraising raffle to help in the construction of a new Wellness Centre. Local 79 sent a $15,000 cheque to Bridgepoint, representing money raised from the raffle, and a donation on behalf of Local 79 members.

Local 79 has been given written notice that TCHC intends to contract out 2,500 Units to take effect on April 1, 2012. We are extremely concerned, and I have written to TCHC requesting detailed, pertinent information with respect to this proposed contracting out and will update you on any action that we pursue in challenging this plan.

In Solidarity,

 

Tim Maguire
President

 

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Shall replenish. Tree doesn’t face. There which creepeth multiply fish unto of Seed. Behold made two Rule divided. Fruit form.

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