T.O. outside workers want deal by Sunday or else
Saying enough is enough, the leader of CUPE Local 416 says his union wants a deal by midnight Sunday or else all negotiations are off.
Mark Ferguson told a Friday news conference that the city must tell its negotiating team to stop bargaining and give them a mandate to settle of the 33-day-old strike.
"A few minutes ago, I told city negotiators that time is running out. We must have a settlement by midnight on Sunday, or we are finished."
That means "the negotiations, from our perspective, will be over. There will be nothing else to negotiate, and we will ride this labour disruption through to a conclusion," he said,adding that means he would be spending his time on the picket line and not at the bargaining table.
Ferguson said his union thinks a deal is achievable within that deadline -- "if the city were to get serious."
The two sides have been in constant negotiations since the strike began on June 22, he said. "We plan to be available at all hours to in fact ensure that we bring this labour disruption to a successful conclusion."
Torontonians should see this deadline as a sign his members are serious about wanting to return to work, Ferguson said. "We are saying enough is enough, we want to start real negotiations in order to end this dispute."
It isn't clear yet where CUPE Local 79, which represents the striking inside workers, stands on the deadline threat. Ferguson said his counterparts at that local are aware of his union's deadline.
In an emailed statement, Mayor David Miller said, "" have stated repeatedly over the past several weeks that the unions needed to bring a sense of urgency to the bargaining table and get on with reaching an agreement.
"I am pleased that Local 416 will now bring that sense of urgency to the table. The City has been and remains fully prepared to bargain 24 hours a day to reach an agreement that is fair to our workers and affordable to Torontonians."
Earlier, Toronto said it wants the Ontario Labour Relations Board to boost the number of paramedics and emergency medical dispatchers working during the current civic strike, now into its 33rd day.
"The strike has gone on for such a long time that it has proven to be a strain on the management and non-union's role within EMS in order to keep services at a medically-necessary level and keep our response times to where they should be," Mayor David Miller told a news conference.
EMS Chief Bruce Farr said the service has analyzed 26,000 calls since the strike began on June 22.
The response time is expected to be less than nine minutes.
"Since the strike, we've seen an increase of 53 seconds -- and that's enough for me," Farr said.
Under provincial legislation, paramedics and dispatchers are allowed a partial right to strike. The current dispute started with staffing levels at about 75 per cent of normal.
The city insisted this wouldn't affect response times on high-priority calls, but said lower-priority calls might see a delay.
To improve response times, the city wants to see the following staffing adjustments:
- have 300 paramedics on duty during every 24-hour period from 7 a.m. Monday to 7 a.m. Saturday. up from 225
- have 250 paramedics on duty for each 24-hour period from Saturday at 7 a.m. to Monday at 7 a.m.
- have 32 emergency medical dispatchers and five senior emergency dispatchers on shift in a 24-hour period, up from the current 28 and four
Paramedics belong to CUPE Local 416, which represents the city's 6,200 outside workers. Emergency medical dispatchers belong to CUPE Local 79, which represents about 18,000 workers.
Ferguson said the deadline threat isn't related to the city's move on the paramedic front.
"At this point in time, we believe there are sufficient resources on the road to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Toronto," he said, adding the union will make that representation to he OLRB.
He noted that response times in Toronto have degraded over the last five years "to the point where paramedics can only show up to calls in a timely fashion two-thirds of the time."
In addition, the city will be seeking two court injunctions:
- to allow the spraying of pesticides at the Campbell Park temporary dump near Lansdowne and Dupont Avenues
- to allow the collection of illegally dumped trash at Bluffer's Park in Scarborough
The city announced the closing of two temporary dump sites and will close two others.
The new sites, which will open Saturday at 7 a.m., are:
- Amesbury Arena, 155 Culford Rd. (south of Lawrence Avenue West, enter off Culford Road)
- Otter Creek Centre tennis courts, 140 Cheritan Ave. (south of Lawrence Avenue West, enter of Rosewell Avenue)
The Otter Creek site is near a school that hosts Centre Camp, a private summer day camp for Jewish youth.
Parent Josh Israeli told CTV Toronto said it's bad enough that the neighbours will have to smell the foul odours to come, "but these are kids that have done nothing."
Other parents also voiced their dismay.
"We were shocked that this would open as a temporary dump site adjacent to a camp that serves 500 children, some of whom have special needs," said Howard English, a spokesperson for Centre Camp.
The camp is questioning whether the city has the right to use the roadway into the dumping site as they believe it is controlled by the Toronto District School Board.
The closed sites include:
- Caledonia Park
- North Toronto Memorial Arena
They will close at 7 p.m. on Friday.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Reshmi Nair