TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2016 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto is providing its employees and the public with the content of our final offer to CUPE, Local 79. This fair and reasonable offer includes a wage increase and addresses key issues of concern for CUPE, Local 79, including protecting workers health and wellness, job stability and providing greater certainty in scheduling. It is consistent with the framework for a settlement that the City established through its bargaining with TCEU, Local 416.
"We are committed to reaching a fair and equitable deal for the people of this city. But it must reflect our financial realities, and it must be fair to the taxpayers of this city," said Mayor John Tory. "Given recent developments, we believe it is appropriate for our employees and the public to understand what is at stake and understand fully the offer that the City has tabled. We respect the collective bargaining process. This is about being open and transparent not only with our employees but with the public about the state of negotiations."
The City is making its final offer public today after the union suddenly, and without prior warning, took the unusual step of releasing Ontario's lead mediator. The mediator had been working with the parties for the last 8 days, was critical in helping achieve meaningful progress between the two parties, and had previously played a key role in reaching a negotiated settlement between the City and TCEU, Local 416. We would welcome the mediator's return. This comes after five months of collective bargaining during which the City advanced numerous comprehensive proposals that were fair to CUPE 79 represented employees and the taxpayers who pay the bills. Having resolved what it thought were the prime issues in dispute, the City tabled a final offer on February 27. That offer is consistent with the agreement ratified by TCEU Local 416 on February 25 – while taking into account the unique circumstances faced by members of Local 79.
The City's most recent proposal to CUPE Local 79 addresses many of the interests that the union identified in numerous news conferences, on their website and at the bargaining table.
- The City has presented a series of proposals to improve the certainty of part-time staff schedules, creating greater stability and predictability for the City and its part-time workers. These include:
- Endeavour to post schedules four weeks in advance. Currently, the City is only required to provide two weeks' notice
- Schedule staff for a minimum of four shifts per pay period where operational requirements permit, and
- Develop master schedules so that many part-time employees would know their schedule for a period of six months.
Health and Wellness
- The City has proposed to reduce the premiums that part-time workers pay (by 15 per cent for part-time Unit B and 30 per cent for recreation workers' part-time unit) for their health benefits to provide access to more affordable benefits for part-time workers.
- The City has presented new initiatives to work jointly with Local 79 to address:
- Domestic/intimate partner violence
- Crisis prevention
- Critical incident response
Gender Equity in the Workplace
- The City has proposed working jointly with Local 79 to break down barriers to promotion, and to improve access to training and development.
A Reasonable Wage Increase
- The City has proposed the same wage increases ratified by members of TCEU, Local 416 over the term of the contract.
- The position taken by CUPE Local 79 that it would only agree to "no concessions" in this round of bargaining has been challenging.
- The City proposed implementing efficiencies to protect the long-term financial sustainability of our expensive benefit plans. These cost containment initiatives, like mandatory generics, is consistent with settlements achieved in other municipalities and across the broader public sector.
- The City's final offer will give employees in Local 79 greater total compensation over the term of the collective agreement.
At the same time, the offer provides the operational efficiencies in the primary areas the City administration requires, consistent with the agreement recently ratified by TCEU Local 416:
- The City has proposed to both streamline and simplify the redeployment and lay-off process for employees affected by necessary rescheduling.
- The City has sought to reduce absenteeism through changes to the illness or injury plan
- The City has sought to stabilize the rising cost of benefits through:
- The use of mandatory generic drugs
- The use of orthotic devices every two years
- An adjustment to long-term disability benefit levels to 70 per cent, which is still higher than many other comparators.
- The City has sought to make changes to job security provisions consistent with the agreement recently ratified by TCEU Local 416.
- Fiscally responsible wage increase consistent with the agreement recently ratified by TCEU Local 416.
- Change vacation payment language in order to eliminate the double payment of vacation for new full-time employees
- Reduce the number of City-paid union leaves.
"The City's last offer to Local 79 would ensure that our employees would continue to receive leading wages and benefits, and have some of the best terms and conditions of employment available in either the private or public sectors," said Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong. "I am encouraging all employees to review the final reasonable offer we presented to CUPE Local 79. On balance, this is a fair offer that meets the needs of both our employees and the City's taxpayers and we're proud to put it forward."
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SOURCE City of Toronto
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