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Recreation workers ratify city’s 'adjusted' offer

Children take swimming lessons at a City of Toronto pool. FILE PHOTO

Municipal part-time recreation workers have voted to accept the city’s latest offer, ratifying a new four-year contract.

The 8,600 CUPE Local 79 members voted at three separate polling stations Tuesday.

“New adjustments included an increase to the amount of hours an employee is allowed to work in a particular position and paid time for mandatory recertification, which addressed some of our members’ concerns,” said Tim Maguire, president of Local 79 in a statement. “This amended offer was the best settlement we could reach under the circumstances.”

Members rejected the city’s last offer in a vote held last Wednesday. The city returned to the table with an adjusted offer that the union endorsed on Friday.

Four Local 79 bargaining units representing 23,000 full-time, part-time B workers, part-time recreation employees and long-term care facilities staff, voted on four contract offers last Wednesday.

The recreation and long-term care staff rejected the offers. The 1,900 long-term care workers are considered an essential service, so their issues have gone to arbitration.

The full-time and part-time B workers totalling 13,000 voted in favour and their contracts were approved by council on Monday.

Mayor Rob Ford said the contracts approved by council will save the city $50 million over the next four years and represent a “new benchmark” in labour relations.

Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday had said the Local 79 offers were very similar to the contract hammered out for the outside workers’ union, CUPE Local 416. The Local 416 deal included a six-per-cent wage increase over the four-year term and the so-called jobs-for-life provision was modified to provide security from contracting out for workers with 15 years or more of service.