Toronto residents gather for anti-strike rally
Published Wednesday, July 15, 2009 2:43PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 11:21PM EDT
An anti-strike rally was held outside Toronto's city hall on Wednesday by dozens of frustrated residents who say they've had enough of the job action.
The rally, organized by a group calling themselves "Toronto's Had Enough," gathered outside city hall just before noon and marched opposite a group of union workers who have been picketing at the site since the strike began on June 22.
The civic strike is now in its 24th day and has frozen services such as garbage collection and permit approvals. It has also shut down daycares, public swimming pools, summer camps and has slowed paramedic response times to non-emergency situations.
The two groups yelled at each other, with union members asking frustrated residents to "know the facts" and inform themselves of the issues.
"Get back to work," the anti-strikers retorted.
Kathy Gregory, an organizer of the anti-strike rally, told CTV Toronto that the group is made up of people who work and live in the city.
"Frankly, we've been held hostage by the city, this administration and the unions for the last time," she said. "We're embarrassed at their inability to solve this problem and negotiate a contract. We're embarrassed of the unions demands in this tough economic time."
Toronto Mayor David Miller said earlier this week that the two sides were making progress at the bargaining table. The unions are waiting for the city to respond to a contract proposal they put forth over the weekend.
One of the key issues has been sick days. Union members currently get 18 sick days per year. Unused days can be banked. Workers can get up to six month's pay upon retirement.
A pay raise that is similar to those paid out to other city service workers is also something unions are fighting for.