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March 2012 President's Report

Dear Fellow Local 79 Members:

Bargaining Update – Our goal is to negotiate fair collective agreements without a strike. Local 79 members working for the City of Toronto are being asked to support the Local 79 Bargaining Committee with a strike vote on March 20th. We did not come by this decision lightly. In the final week before the March 24th 12:01 am deadline, the major concessions affecting full and part-time members are still on the table: employment security and layoff and recall, cuts to benefits and sick time, and gutting of shift scheduling for part-timers. We are also concerned that the City may threaten to change your terms and conditions of employment after March 24th 12:01 am. Your support in a strike vote will empower your Bargaining Committee and force the City to focus on negotiating a deal. Details on what’s at stake and the three times and locations for the Vote on March 20th are on the Local 79 website at www.cupelocal79.org.

After the City had not budged on the major concessions at the table during 12 weeks of negotiations, the City requested a ‘no-board’ report to bring pressure to the talks, yet escalated on six proposals just over a week ago. Local 79 filed a bad faith bargaining complaint against the employer at the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Your Bargaining Committee continues to work hard to negotiate four collective agreements, and have scheduled Ratification Vote meetings for Saturday March 24th, as it remains our goal to negotiate fair collective agreements without a strike by the deadline.

The recent Audit Report at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) has brought to light the concerns that Local 79 has raised in the past about the corporation, its governance and accountability. Since amalgamation and the devolution of social housing by the Province to municipalities, Local 79 has been calling on the City to co-ordinate and integrate governance at the TCHC and its subsidiaries to ensure quality services and accountability. In both the 2011 and 2012 Budget processes Local 79 recommended that there were ‘efficiencies’ to be found by eliminating duplicate layers of management bureaucracy if TCHC was directly managed by the City. I have requested a meeting with the City to elaborate on the opportunities available to improve the administration of social housing.

Bridgepoint Hospital is in the process of negotiating a transition plan for movement into the new facility. The Hospital and Local 79 are close to settling an agreement on how members will be moved into the new Hospital when it’s completed. Local 79 will hold a special meeting with our members working at Bridgepoint to review the agreement and seek member approval.

I recently wrote to Councillor Ana Bailão expressing Local 79’s thanks for her diligence and support in the fight to save living wage public service jobs from becoming low wage, poverty-level work. At the March City Council meeting, Councillor Bailão successfully proposed a motion which gives the Government Management Committee and City Council an opportunity to have a thoughtful second look at the long-term effects and potential liabilities of contracting out City cleaners’ jobs.

Local 79 has written to Premier Dalton McGuinty about the alarming recommendations and direction of the Report by the Don Drummond, Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services. The 300 plus recommendations in the Drummond Report are all about cutting the public services that the people of Toronto and Ontario want and need. During times of slow economic growth and high unemployment our citizens need public services to be there for them, as they try to stabilize their household finances and family responsibilities. Local 79 noted that Ontario cannot balance its books by giving the banks and corporations tax breaks while working families are struggling with the high costs of energy, student debt, child care, home care, long term care and inadequate pensions.

After the tragic accident in Hampstead, Ontario on February 6, 2012, that killed 10 migrant farm workers, Local 79 has called on the Ontario Government and the Federal Government to put in place laws and enforcement to protect these extremely vulnerable workers. Local 79 has added its voice in the call for an inquest into this deadly accident. While every other worker in the province of Ontario is fully covered by labour laws, migrant workers are working in dangerous conditions, transported in unsafe vehicles and are fearful of reprisals if they report injuries or unsafe work.

March 21st is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On this date in 1960 a black, peaceful demonstration against apartheid in Sharpeville, South Africa turned deadly when white South African police opened fire on the demonstrators killing 69 and wounding 180. Most of the killed and injured were shot in the back. The United Nations formally recognized the date of this massacre in 1966 and Canada was one of the first countries to show support. Local 79 believes in respect, equality and diversity for all people. On March 21st let us recommit ourselves to the elimination of racism and discrimination.

You can now opt to receive the President’s Report, Notice of Meeting and Information in the Members’ Portal. All other important information from Local 79 will continue to be mailed to your home address.

In Solidarity,

Tim Maguire
President, CUPE Local 79

 

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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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