Tentative deal, garbage pickup to continue in eastern half of Toronto — for now

It looks like garbage will continue to be collected and other public services provided in neighbourhoods east of Yonge Street for at least another week.

Negotiators for the City of Toronto and CUPE Local 416 announced late Friday a tentative deal had been reached to avert a work stoppage that could have gone into effect after midnight.

“All city services, including city-owned arenas, remain open as usual,” according to a joint news release from both sides. “Curbside and commercial garbage collection will also continue as scheduled.”

However, union members have yet to hear details of the agreement and are expected to vote on ratifying the deal next week.

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Details of the deal are not being released until after the union vote.

“The five-year agreement is fair to Toronto residents and Local 416 workers,” said the joint statement that came on Feb. 28 only minutes before the midnight deadline.

The city and union had been bargaining for six months. The outdoor workers have been without a contract for the past two months, since the previous contract expired Dec. 31.

Negotiations came to a head on Wednesday, before a deadline set for 12:01 a.m. Thursday, after which the two sides would have been in a position for a legal strike or lockout. But claiming to have made progress in reaching an agreement, both sides agreed to a two-day extension to the same time Saturday morning.

A strike or lockout would have resulted in garbage, recycling and organic matter not being picked up from residences east of Yonge Street, as well as the closing of community centres, pools, arenas, outdoor rinks and other facilities. Snow clearing, public events on civic property and some library services would also be cancelled.

Of course, this could still happen if the outdoor workers represented by Local 416 reject the deal.

The union appears to expect ratification as CUPE Local 416 president Eddie Mariconda called it a “good deal” for both the workers and Toronto residents.

The agreement also has to go to city council which will hold a special meeting sometime next week, Mayor John Tory told a press conference.