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Toronto's workers launch campaign for Good Jobs

Today, CUPE Local 79 launched a campaign calling on the City to become a leader in building good jobs, starting with its own employment, contracting and procurement practices.

“Toronto is the most unequal city in Canada and that is due in a large part to the fact that over half of workers don’t have stable secure jobs,” said Tim Maguire, President of CUPE Local 79. “Mayor Tory and City Council can leverage the City of Toronto’s buying power to turn the tide towards building good jobs for its residents, which would reduce the income gap and build a fairer economy.”

The campaign includes significant radio and social media advertising and encourages people to contact Mayor Tory, asking him to take action by:

  • Championing living wage standards across the city so that people are paid enough to support a good quality of life.
  • Setting better job standards – such as reliable shifts and guaranteed minimum hours of work, secure employment and benefits, for City jobs, City contractor jobs, and procurement processes.
  • Creating a community benefit program for major capital investments in infrastructure like transit or affordable housing to create stable and secure jobs for local residents.
  • Supporting efforts to strengthen provincial employment standards.

Mayor Tory and City Council have already agreed in principle to these actions as part of the TO Prosperity: Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy, which was adopted by Council last month, but without a concrete timeline for implementation.

“Our members are on the frontline, providing services to people who can’t make ends meet because they don’t have a stable and secure job,” commented Maguire, “and sadly some of our members are experiencing the very same challenge. People need to see the City take action, now.”

The campaign isn’t the union’s first foray into pushing for social policy change at City Hall. Over the last four years, CUPE Local 79 has collaborated with community organizations on successful campaigns to bolster supports for at-risk youth, improve childcare, increase access to city services for newcomers, and develop a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for Toronto. The union continues to work with community partners on many of these issues, as well as good jobs.

“This campaign is a natural next step in our union’s ongoing work with communities to promote solutions to the increasing levels of poverty and inequity in our city,” said Maguire.

CUPE Local 79 represents approximately 20,000 workers at the City of Toronto, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, and Bridgepoint Hospital. Local 79 members deliver a wide range of services, including: public health, planning, City Hall operations, employment & social services, cleaning, court services, ambulance dispatch, child care, 311, recreation programming, supportive housing, shelters, water & food inspection, and long-term care.


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