“We are very gratified by what can only be described as a very strong vote for a strike mandate,” said Matt Alloway, a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 416 bargaining committee.
“With this mandate, we are confident that we are in a position to negotiate an agreement that can strengthen the city’s services by providing the workers who deliver those services with good, stable jobs,” he added.
While the official breakdown has not yet been released, the union said its members turned out in large numbers to deliver a “very strong mandate.”
The news comes just days after the leadership of CUPE 79 – the union representing Toronto’s inside workers, announced that its members has given it a strike mandate.
Both CUPE 416, which represents about 6,000 municipal workers and CUPE 79, which represents a further 20,000 employees, have been without a contract since their last one expired on December 31.
Despite the decision, Toronto mayor John Tory insisted he wasn’t worried.
“We don’t know the magnitude of the strike mandate but it doesn’t matter. Receiving and getting a strike mandate is a customary part of what goes on with the negotiating process,” he said. “The discussions go on and the goal remains the same which is to arrive at a fair agreement.
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Employers in Toronto could have a strike on their hands in the near future as it was revealed yesterday that members representing the city’s outside workers have voted in favour of a walk-out should ongoing negotiations fall through.