Bloomberg News

Toronto Faces Garbage Strike as City Seeks to Reduce Costs

February 04, 2012

(Updates with comments from union president in fifth paragraph.)

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Toronto municipal workers are threatening to strike as soon as tomorrow if they can’t reach an agreement with the city on job security, seniority and benefits.

A strike would affect garbage collection, snow plowing, and some paramedic services, said Wynna Brown, a spokeswoman for the city. Some city-run swimming pools and hockey arenas may also be closed by a strike. Police, fire and emergency services would run normally.

The city can legally lock out workers of the Toronto Civic Employees Local 416, representing more than 6,000 people, or about 16 percent of Toronto’s total public workforce of 37,000.

At the center of the dispute is the jobs-for-life provision for municipal workers. The city is proposing to increase the eligibility to workers with 22 years of service, rather than those who have served 10 years, according to CTV News.

“The citizens of Toronto, they want the city of Toronto and CUPE 416 to come up with an agreement,” said Paul Moist, Canadian Union of Public Employees president, during a news conference in Toronto broadcast by CP24 news channel today. Moist has requested a meeting with Toronto Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday to help resolve the dispute, he said.

Toronto is Canada’s business capital and North America’s third-largest financial-services center.

--With assistance by Jeremy van Loon in Calgary. Editors: David Scanlan, Mike Millard.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cecile Gutscher in Toronto at cgutscher@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave Liedtka at dliedtka@bloomberg.net


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