21-17

Council ratifies deal to end the strike in a squeaker

The 39-day strike is now over as city council has ratified all new contracts with both unions around 6:30 tonight.

“I am very pleased to be able to advise Torontonians that the labour disruption with CUPE locals 416 and 79 is finally over with a council ratification today,” Mayor David Miller told the media following the vote.

“I wish to thank Torontonians for their patience and understanding.”

In the end the final decision was close at 21-17 with five councillors either not voting or being forced to sit out because of conflicts of interest.

Don Valley East councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong was one of the 17 who voted against the deal.

“I’m standing up for this city and my constituents because they stood up for Toronto (during the strike),” he said during the debate that began at 9:30 this morning.

Etobicoke-North councilllor Rob Ford also voted the deals down.

“The average person out there doesn’t get to bank sick days,” the outspoken councillor said. “The mayor said negotiations were a matter of give and take. The mayor was giving and the unions were taking.”

Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Karen Stintz, lead critic of the mayor and a member of the unofficial opposition they call the Responsible Government Group, called the deal unaffordable and said it did not achieve the goal of ending the sick bank immediately.

“We can not stand here today and tell the people we do not have a choice. Because they sent us here to make choices on their behalf,” said Stintz who voted against the deals. “They sent us here to stand up here and defend their interests.”

St. Paul’s councillor Joe Mihevc said this was a Zen approach to how to vote.

“We need to focus on the key issue,” Mihevc said. “For me it’s important for me to focus on what is that important question before us.”

“For me the question is this. Is voting yes for this deal (now) going to mean a better city tomorrow or is voting no going to mean a better city.”

For Mihevc the answer was to vote for the deal and end the strike.

Wonder how your political rep voted? See the full list here.


About this article:

By: Kris Scheuer
Posted: Jul 31 2009 8:41 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto
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