April 2012 President’s Report (City of Toronto)
Dear Fellow Local 79 Member:
First of all, your Local 79 Bargaining Committee would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement during a most difficult round of bargaining. Full-time, Part Time Unit B, and Part Time Recreation Collective Agreements have now been ratified.
Long Term Care workers are considered an Essential Service, and the Collective Agreement for the Long-Term Care Homes and Services Part-Time will be referred to binding arbitration, with the opportunity for members to meet on outstanding issues leading up to the arbitration process.
The Bargaining Committee and I are convinced that with your support we got the best contracts to be had in this round of negotiations. Your Bargaining Committee must be highly commended for their strength and commitment to members during the most challenging of bargaining circumstances.
We will continue to need your support moving forward as Local 79 continues to fight for the programmes and services that you provide, and that Torontonians rely on. The Ford administration’s determination to downsize, contract out, and privatize City services, coupled with their confrontational approach to bargaining, only strengthens our resolve to fight to maintain services – working with our members and with our labour and community allies.
At a recent meeting, City Council had a thoughtful second look at the long term effects and potential liabilities of contracting out cleaning jobs. Following months of hard work, in conjunction with Local 79 members working as cleaners, the Toronto and York Region Labour Council’s campaign Justice and Dignity for Cleaners, and City Councillor Ana Bailão, decency and fairness won the day. Mayor Ford, and his agenda to contract out cleaners, was stopped in his tracks by a host of City Councillors who voted for fairness, living wage jobs and respect for City workers who deliver much-needed services. This win, for some of the most vulnerable workers here in the City, is a major setback to Ford’s privatizing agenda. Council now has control over future outsourcing of cleaning jobs, and services and jobs. This sends a strong message to the Ford administration and their plans to privatize or otherwise outsource other services provided by Local 79. It is not just a victory for Local 79 members, but for our labour and community partners. Congratulations and thanks to all who helped achieve this significant win!
I wrote to both Prime Minister Harper and Premier McGuinty expressing Local 79’s concerns regarding their recent, respective budgets. The Federal Budget once again failed to address the continued hardship suffered by significant numbers of Canadians across the country. Instead, it paves the way for deregulation, privatization, contracting out good jobs, outsourcing jobs, and foreign ownership of our resources. The proposal to delay the eligibility period for Old Age Security (OAS) until people reach 67 years of age, will only force people to work longer instead of securing the dignity that workers deserve in their retirement.
Premier McGuinty’s Budget is equally lacking. The government proposals can only result in people being thrown out of work, pensions threatened, Children’s Aid Societies experiencing funding cuts, cutbacks in social housing, and the whole child care system destabilized through a lack of adequate funding. The Provincial government has failed miserably to take the necessary actions needed to get families, communities and the province back on their feet. Local 79 strongly supports NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s budget proposal to protect 4,000 existing child care spaces – 2,000 of which are provided by the City of Toronto. This funding could serve to offset the potential impact of the Mayor’s Task Force on Child Care agenda to reduce directly run, municipally-operated child care.
On Saturday April 21st, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at Queen’s Park, the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), along with community groups and organizations across Ontario, is calling on workers, retirees, students and community members to join a mass rally to tell Premier McGuinty that he cannot cut his way to economic prosperity.
April 27th is the National Day of Mourning (date changed from original post), when we pause and remember all workers who have been injured, made sick, or killed on the job. It is also a time when we rededicate ourselves to ensuring that all workers have safe, healthy workplaces. The ceremonies will be held this Friday, April 27th with the downtown Toronto ceremony moved to the Monument to Chinese Railway Workers, just south of Front and Spadina. It will be at 12:00 noon. The York Region event starts at 11:00 am, at the Woodbridge Memorial Arena, Islington + Highway 7.
Canada’s National Nursing Week for 2012 is May 7th -13th. This year’s theme is “Nursing – The Health of Our Nation”, reflecting the positive impacts nurses make to the lives and well-being of Canadians.
Applications for the 2012 Alex Gregory Memorial Scholarship will be accepted for students who are in their final year of secondary school in Ontario, and are registered in a post-secondary institution this fall. Five scholarships for $500 each will be awarded to children of current or retired members. Please apply for an application in writing to the Education Committee, c/o the Local 79 office. Please include your name, address, home and work telephone numbers, division, and employee number.