Time to Get Serious
By Doug Holiday*
Mayor of Toronto
of these words have been said publicly by the union, the media, and me
over the course of the City of Toronto’s negotiations with CUPE Local
have been working on your behalf to deal with important city issues.
we explain the issues at negotiations there is a tendency to use
collective agreement terms like "restrictive terms and conditions of
employment," "management rights," "workplace
practices," "shift schedules," "running lunch;"
when really what it all comes down to is three little words with very big
is what this round of bargaining is about, improving the delivery of city
services for you.
three more important words – "efficient" and "cost
is what we were elected to do and it is the mandate we have given the
City's bargaining team.
we can only improve customer service by making critical changes. That's
why we turned down the Local 416's proposal to roll-over the current
collective agreement for three more years.
The agreements contain some of the most restrictive provisions of
any other municipal employer, let alone private sector employers.
Sure, other municipal employers have restrictive working conditions
– but none that severely limit their ability to make even the simplest
change, like ours.
know these are difficult discussions for the unions.
These agreements were both negotiated and then ratified by City
Council or specific provisions were awarded by arbitrators.
that was the past. We can't look back.
We have been elected with a mandate to deal with the now and the
future. We must.
We have spent the last year working hard to get our financial house
in order. Those efforts
culminated in a 2012 City budget that is $20 million lower than the 2011
budget - a first ever for the city. Now
we need to get our services in order.
be clear, what may have worked before does not work now. That was a
have spoken of it at negotiations and we need to make change.
Mark Ferguson, the President of Local 416, has repeatedly said the
Union will not agree to the changes we want.
Anyone who has negotiated knows you cannot negotiate if the other
party isn’t talking seriously. No
employer bargains with itself. That
is why we asked the province to appoint a conciliator and then requested a
“no board” report on January 12.
‘no board’ report which was issued on January 19, gives us until
February 5 at 12:01 a.m until the City of Toronto is in a legal position
for a labour disruption, be it a strike or lockout.
have until then for both parties to get serious.
On your behalf, I have told the bargaining team to work hard to get
us an agreement.
need the union to understand three little words with big meaning –
improved customer service. I
know you do.
Mayor Doug Holyday is the Chair of the Employee and Labour Relations
Committee at the City of Toronto.