With Toronto’s much predicted labour war put to rest for the next few years, CUPE Local 79 is spending the summer waging a different battle – a public relations one.
Local 79 went toe-to-toe with Mayor Rob Ford’s City Hall earlier this year over labour negotiations. In the end, the union’s members voted to accept the city’s final offer rather than hit the bricks.
The union – which represents more than 20,000 of the city’s inside workers – dropped off swag bags of summer stuff at the City Hall press gallery last week.
They’ll be handing out the Local 79 branded beach balls, water bottles, hand sanitizers and sun screen this summer at festivals around Toronto.
While I’m not sure everything in the bag is union made (ie. the beach ball has “Made in China” stamped on it), the campaign seems aimed at showing a softer side of Local 79 while still educating the public about the city services they provide.
Local 79 is planning to be at the Pride parade on July 1, the Festival of South Asia on July 7 and 8, Caribbean Carnival Parade (the festival formerly known as Caribana) on August 4 and Taste of the Danforth on the weekend of August 10.
Along with the freebies, Local 79 will also have a “refreshing misting tent” at the summer events and will be pushing out a new transit advertising campaign.
Here’s some of the Local 79 transit ads that will be popping up this summer:
So while the new labour contracts guarantee labour peace until the end of 2015, the battle for Torontonians hearts and minds clearly won’t even get the summer off.