A striking Toronto city worker has been charged with mischief following an altercation at a temporary dump site, and police are asking all concerned to cool down.

"Any sort of violence or erratic behaviour or criminality will not be tolerated," Const. Tony Vella told ctvtoronto.ca on Thursday.

"Our main task is to keep the peace, but if it escalates, obviously we're going to intervene and lay the appropriate charges and stop the violence from escalating."

In Thursday morning's incident at 200 Eglinton Ave. W., there were three city workers picketing a temporary dump site along with a local resident upset about the park being used as a dump.

A woman drove up to unload garbage. A protester got into an altercation with her, Vella said.

"For unknown reasons, one of the three strikers comes to the side of the vehicle" and allegedly kicked it, he said.

Lewis Roach, 47, of Thornhill has been charged with mischief. He is to appear in court in August.

Vella said this is the first time a charge has been laid since the dispute began on June 22.

Officer on scene at Christie Pits earlier this week were seen asking protesters to ease up. The protesters were trying to stop people from dropping off garbage for temporary storage at the hockey rink in the park.

"We're telling people that they need to respect each others' position and be patient with each other," Vella said.

Finances squeezed

With the city strike into its 11th day and no indication a quick end is in sight, some city workers are admitting they are starting to feel a financial pinch.

"I'm not getting a paycheque next Thursday," one worker said on the picket line at the Ingram transfer station on Thursday.

"I just bought a condominium. I'm supposed to moving on the weekend. We got bills (to pay), I've got contractors in there doing work," said outside worker Lance Parson. "It's tough. It's day by day now, I guess."

Other strikers admitted they were finding it tough, saying they were carrying big mortgages themselves.

Jennifer DeLuca was supposed to be working at a city-run summer daycare, earning money to pay her university tuition, but found herself on the picket line.
"I can't even enrol right now, because we have to pay a deposit, which I don't have because we haven't gotten paid lately," she said.

On Tuesday, the city said that 248 workers had asked to return to work. However, there are about 24,000 on strike between the outside workers of CUPE Local 416 and the inside workers of Local 79.

CTV's John Musselman said the strikers tell him their morale remains high, but one said the strike pay is "peanuts."

Unlike earlier in the strike when they were being obstructionist with citizens coming to drop off garbage, the strikers at the Ingram transfer station are now trying to assist them.

However, picketers held up citizens at the York Civic Centre garbage dropoff site, with some waiting an hour. This had some grumbling about privileged union workers.

Inside worker Shelley Suffield told CTV Toronto: "We don't just hold them. We absolutely have a conversation with them and try to explain that this is a labour disruption, we had no choice but to withdraw our labour and we're hoping to bring them on side."

The city will not be providing a strike update on Thursday. It did say that the city council meeting, scheduled for July 6 and 7, is cancelled.

"The city is not able to provide the staff necessary to conduct the meeting. This includes work to facilitate the meeting and conduct the meeting," it said Thursday in a news release.

Non-union management staff would normally be present at the meeting are required to provide skeleton services, the city said.

With a report from CTV Toronto's John Musselman