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City tables new offer for outside workers’ union

Negotiations between the city and its outside workers’ union, CUPE Local 416, continued to  heat up Monday after city hall tabled a new offer that eliminates the contentious “jobs for life” provision for some workers.

On Monday, the city put a new four-year proposal on the table, which includes:

  • The elimination of the “jobs for life” provision for workers with less than 25 years seniority. Permanent city employees whose jobs are contracted out are entitled to another city job with the same pay, under the current rules, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said.
  • The offer also provides for “modest one-time lump sum wage payments.” Holyday couldn’t pin down an exact figure.

The latest offer was quickly rejected, with CUPE 416 president Mark Ferguson saying, “”Their proposal does not meet any of the objectives that I laid out.”

Last week, Local 416 put a three-year wage freeze on the table after the city issued a No Board report, which paves the way for a possible strike or lockout, after a deadlock in negotiations. The union claims the freeze would save the city $25.5 million over three years.

CUPE 416’s contract with the city expired on Dec. 31. The union represents approximately 8,000 workers.

“Someone’s who’s been with the city for 25 years probably deserves some protection of some kind,” Holyday told CityNews on Monday.

When asked about the modest lump sum, Holyday said “I don’t know that I could actually say that at this time … and I’m not sure that that’s a public figure.”

Holyday, who’s chairing the labour negotiations, said the city has considered the union’s offer of a wage freeze, but said it doesn’t go far enough.

In a release, the city described the union’s offer as a “ploy to avoid negotiating on the City’s primary objective to find some relief from some of the most restrictive and inefficient terms and conditions in the country.”

Holyday added: “We want to get some of the clauses in that contract changed. We can’t operate effectively, or efficiently, under the present circumstances.”

Collective bargaining with the city’s inside workers’ union, CUPE Local 79, continues. Its contract also expired on Dec. 31.