Dear Fellow Local 79 Member
After much thought, and with a mixture of emotions, I announced recently that I would not be seeking re-election later this year as the President of Local 79. I will be leaving the Presidency with great pride and confidence in the Local’s future. Throughout my 36-year career as a municipal employee and a Local 79 member, I have been honoured to hold numerous Executive positions within the Local. None of these roles has been more fulfilling – or challenging – than that of President. Much has been accomplished during those years. Of course, much remains to be done, but for me personally, the time has come to pass the torch and progress into a new chapter of my life. I will continue to work closely with Local 79′s current and future Executive to ensure both an orderly transition and to provide assistance with what promises to be a challenging round of bargaining with the City of Toronto. From the bottom of my heart, I thank every one of you for the opportunity to serve and for all of the support and encouragement that you have given to me over many years!
The upcoming Provincial election on October 6, 2011 is vital for the City of Toronto and for Local 79. We need a Provincial government that will make Toronto a priority and will ensure that the City of Toronto has the stable, ongoing funding it needs to provide all of the services that the residents of Toronto expect, and our members help deliver. The leader of the Progressive Conservatives in Ontario, Tim Hudak, recently refused to commit to continue uploading the cost of social and other services from municipalities to the Province, where they rightfully belong. It appears that Toronto, along with other Ontario cities, will face a continued financial crisis if a Progressive Conservative government is elected. Tim Hudak is widely referred to as the ideological offspring of former Premier Mike Harris, who solved the Province’s budget issues by downloading the problem to towns and cities – and we are paying the price to this day! Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives must not be allowed to win this election!
Local 79 made deputations and sent letters to all of the Council Committees regarding the KPMG Core Services Review. Our concerns covered everything from the flawed methodology of the review to the illogical options proposed by the consultants. At the marathon Executive Committee meeting, I reminded the Councillors that Mayor Rob Ford continually guaranteed during last year’s election campaign that, if elected Mayor, there would be no major service cuts. Each of the KPMG options are major service cuts, not efficiencies. It is reported in the Core Service Review – Public Consultation document, that the first choice for those who participated is to pay more property tax to maintain current service levels. The participants made it crystal clear that residents of Toronto value their public services and want them to remain public.
The Executive Committee meeting, which lasted almost 24 hours, had more than 300 requests from speakers who wanted to make deputations. Almost all of the speakers were decidedly opposed to cuts to programmes and services.
RALLY FOR TORONTO! On Monday, September 26th, at 5:30 pm, come to Toronto City Hall and demand respect for every Torontonian – Our Communities, Public Services, and Good Jobs. Community groups, labour unions, and concerned residents are organizing for a massive turnout during City Council meeting on September 26th, when the service and programme cuts will be on the agenda. At the end of July, the marathon session of the City’s Executive Committee, the longest in Toronto’s history, reflected the public anger over the range of programmes and services on the chopping block in Mayor Ford’s Services Review. People were forced to make deputations in the middle of the night.
Local 79 provided a lively, active contingent in a grand demonstration of strength and solidarity at this year’s Labour Day Parade. Members, with their families, from the City of Toronto, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, and Bridgepoint Hospital joined sisters and brothers from both public and private sector unions in this annual celebration of working people. Everyone enjoyed marching and dancing to the music and overall the day was a resounding success. Thank you to all members who came out and took part in this special event.
This summer, Local 79 launched its new website, adding to the Union’s communications endeavors with the latest in social media tools! You can follow daily Local 79 activities and commentary on Facebook and Twitter, and get the latest news by signing up to Local 79’s new electronic newsletter. The site offers: a Multimedia section featuring the latest photos and videos from Local 79 events and actions; a Member Zone that will help guide you to the resources that the Union provides; and, an up-to-date Events section so that you will always know what is going on.