Details of Local 79 deal released

While Mayor David Miller couldn’t release the information on when city services would resume as planned, he did release some details on the tentative deal struck with CUPE Local 79.

The pact includes a six percent raise over three years, as well as various options on banking sick days.

“The sick bank is eliminated,” Miller said.

However, the devil is in the details.

In the deal struck, new employees cannot bank sick days and will instead be offered a short-term disability package of up to six months of sick pay. Current employees with less than 10 years can qualify for a partial buy-out of banked sick days and will then switch over to the new short-term disability plan.

Employees with 10 or more years of service with the city have an option to continue to bank sick days that the municipal government will buy-out when staff retire. Or they can get a buyout of existing sick days and switch to the new plan.

“It’s phased out,” Miller said, indicating that some employees may choose to continue to accumulate and bank sick days while others will opt for the new plan.

The city may hold a special council session to ratify the union contracts as early as this Friday.

At least two councillors have indicated they can’t support the city’s offer to the unions and will vote against it.

“Based on what we heard today, all of the expectations of the gains we have made were not realized,” Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Karen Stintz said after the press conference.

“So based on what I heard today although I have not seen the details, this is a deal I can’t support.

“The residents of the City of Toronto have sustained a five-week strike with nothing to show for it. I think residents will feel very betrayed by this. The emails I got throughout the strike were (for the city) to stand firm, that’s the right thing to do.”

She told the Town Crier she’s willing to vote down the deal even if it meant a prolonged strike in order to get a more affordable contract.

Don Valley West councillor Cliff Jenkins is a member of the city’s Employee and Labour Relations Committee. He told the Town Crier that this was not the package the committee recommended to the municipal government’s bargaining team.