Posts Tagged ‘CUPE

CUPE Local 79 is taking it to the street (festivals)

- June 26th, 2012

IMG_4625

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:

CUPE79-Aquatics

CUPE79-Butterflies

CUPE79-Leaping

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.

Mommie Dearest

- February 15th, 2012

Toronto city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti speaks to reporters at Toronto City Hall (Toronto Sun file photo)

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti and CUPE Local 416 president Mark Ferguson have a history of trading e-mails.

An e-mail exchange between the two last month led to this story.

So it wasn’t surprising that after Mammoliti read this story in today’s Sun, he’d fire off an e-mail to Ferguson.

It is also probably not surprising I now have a copy of Mammoliti’s e-mail.

Mammoliti – a former head of a CUPE local himself – chastised Ferguson for using the word “motherf—ers” to describe Mayor Rob Ford’s administration and demanded he apologize not only to the administration but also to mothers and all other women.

Somewhere I bet Ferguson is fighting the urge to write an e-mail back to Mammoliti.

Here’s Mammoliti’s full e-mail to Ferguson:

 Hello Brother Ferguson,
As a follow up to our last discussion over email, I just want you to know that I understand how frustrating everything can be in the line of work you are in and I understand that sometimes we say things that we don’t mean.
I read the Toronto Sun this morning and am sorry to hear that you are in a difference of opinion with some of your members, namely the Paramedics which I highly respect…hope you can work it out Brother.
I am respectfully asking that you apologize to not only the administration at City Hall for using the vulgar and insensitive language you did (Mother f—-r) in your description, but most of all to the woman and Mothers who I think are most offended by that term….
Having had a relationship 25 years ago with CUPE I know first hand the policies you adopt at your conventions speak to this type of behaviour and would never condone it of a President of one of its union locals.
Please do the right thing and apologize to all members of this great city, or if you cant find yourself saying sorry for using that very offensive term please consider resigning from your position, your members/our citizens deserve better.
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti

“John Filion was right”

- February 3rd, 2012

Councillor John Filion

Councillor John Filion (Toronto Sun file photo)

The city is less than 48 hours away from a 12:01 a.m. Sunday deadline when both the city or the union could legally launch a labour disruption.

So far, CUPE Local 416 hasn’t had a strike vote so if there is a work stoppage this Super Bowl weekend, it will be a city initiated lockout.

Both sides weren’t saying much Thursday.

Local 416 president Mark Ferguson released an optimistic sounding statement saying he wouldn’t be speaking to the media because negotiators were “making significant progress toward successfully concluding an agreement.”

Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, chairman of the employee and labour relations committee, spoke with reporters and was less optimistic about progress at the bargaining table so far but hopeful the pressure of the Sunday deadline would help hammer out a deal.

But there is another option that could happen Sunday.

When the “no board” report period (a 17-day countdown to when either side could legally strike/lockout) expires the city could to impose new terms and conditions of employment, something that the union has acknowledged could force them to go on strike.

Which brings me to Councillor John Filion.

Last year, Filion – an avowed non-fan of Mayor Rob Ford – moved a motion to strip the right to launch a labour disruption from the employee and labour relations committee.

At the time, talk of a city lockout was swirling so much of the focus on Filion’s motion was on its implications on a lockout. If approved,  council would have been able to start a lockout, not the Ford-controlled committee.

But the motion had a second part. It also asked to take away the power to change the collective agreement from the committee and give it to council.

When I interviewed Filion at the time, he stressed the move was anti-Ford or pro-union, it was simply ensuring a shutdown of city services was in the hands of council, not a select few.

He was also focused on the second part of the motion.

Here’s the 2nd part of the motion: A requirement for Council approval for any unilateral change  in terms or conditions of employment set out in the existing contract

Filion stressed tinkering with the collective agreement could be another way to launch a labour disruption.

If the committee wanted to, it could make changes that were incendiary enough to force a strike. Handy if you want to force a labour disruption now instead of a summer strike but you also don’t want to look like you’re locking out employees.

Filion’s motion was buried by Ford’s executive committee. He also lost a bid to revive it at council.

I didn’t think about it again until it came up in conversation recently in my office.

In the lead up to this labour showdown, I asked one councillor about the city’s plans this round of negotiations. Being a good councillor, the councillor swore up and down councillors couldn’t tell me anything.

But as the councillor left, I was told two things.

“John Filion was right,” the councillor said.

“Lockout?” I asked.

(The councillor shook their head)

“Re-read his motion, it had two parts,” the councillor said.

Less than 48 hours until we find out if John Filion really was right.