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CUPE head warns Zoo management on fast track to lockout staff

Toronto Zoo management are on the fast track to lockout staff, according to CUPE Local 1600 president Christine McKenzie.

In a statement released Monday, McKenzie said union negotiators were told on Apr. 4 that management intended to seek a no-board report from the Ministry of Labour. Once the no-board is issued either party can trigger a work stoppage 17 days later.

McKenzie called the move troubling and put into question the effects a lockout would have on the upcoming panda exhibit.

“The Zoo appears to be putting the entire spring season at risk, including the upcoming panda display by putting us on a fast track to a lockout,” she said. “It is mystifying because, throughout the bargaining process, management has steadfastly refused to engage in anything resembling meaningful bargaining.”

Last month union members voted unanimously in favour of a strike.

CUPE Local 1600 represents horticulturalists, maintenance staff, zookeepers, veterinary technicians, and many other zoo staff,