Negotiations between the city of Toronto and its inside workers’ union have ended – at least temporarily –without a contract, and neither party is taking the blame.

The city posted “highlights” of its offer online, which includes a change to the amount of benefits for workers on long-term disability; previously, workers could claim for 75% of their basic salary while on disability, but the city has proposed changing that to 70% for new claims.

It also includes a provision that 72% of its full-time workers would be protected from contracting out, and nobody with more than 15 years seniority would be contracted out, as well as a 5% increase on base pay over the course of four years, though union president Tim Maguire says money isn’t their sticking point.

Read: Disability costs: The rocky road ahead

Mayor John Tory says the city issued what it calls a “final offer” and the union rejected it and dismissed the provincial mediator. But Maguire says that by labelling its offer as final, the city ended negotiations.

Maguire says they did not dismiss the mediator, and he doesn’t understand why the city would claim they did.

The bargaining unit, CUPE Local 79, represents about 20,000 workers at the City of Toronto, Toronto Community Housing Corporation and Bridgepoint Hospital.

Their last contract expired at the start of the year.

Read: Union rejects new pension offer: Halifax Water

Maguire says the union rejected the latest offer because it would create a “two-tier” system for contracting out public services.


Maguire says it was “disrespectful” to the bargaining process for the city to post the proposed agreement online.

Tory says the city is “sitting by the phone”, waiting for the local to resume talks, and Maguire says that if the city calls the union, they’ll go back to the table.

Read: Government employees still make more, say reports

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