The union representing nearly 20,000 municipal inside workers announced early Thursday morning that a tentative labour deal has been reached with the City of Toronto.
CUPE Local 79 said it is a four-year contract and is recommending its members to accept the deal.
“It was a tough round of negotiations. We moved forward on some issues and we were able to push back on deep concessions,” said Tim Maguire, President of Local 79 during a press conference Thursday morning.
WATCH: CUPE Local 79 provides few details on how members reached tentative deal with the city
Maguire noted that the union had to face a “reluctant employer” who was hesitant on many of the issues with respect to “moving forward with good jobs.”
“I think we’re in the era of aggressive bargaining by employers and like I said that’s unfortunate that there’s an aggressive approach being taken even by the City of Toronto in negotiations,” he said.
VIDEO: CUPE Local 79 announces tentative agreement for city inside workers
Details of the labour agreement have not been released as union members have yet to vote on ratification.
Appearing at Toronto City Hall to comment on the deal, Mayor John Tory said the tentative agreement was fair despite reports of a rift between the two sides.
“We were very firm in honouring and respecting the mandate we were given by the city council through the labour relations committee in terms of what we set out to achieve in this bargaining round,” Tory said.
“We had a mandate in the end to make sure we arrive at a deal that was fair to the workers and fair to the taxpayers of Toronto. We have arrived at such an agreement and they have recommended to their membership for approval.”
Tory also said that a mediator brought in to move the talks along over the weekend was instrumental in helping both side reach a deal.
The union said part-time employees at the city’s ten long-term care facilities will have their contract sent directly to interest arbitration, as outstanding issues remain.
The union noted that these workers do not have the right to strike.
“There’s two weeks of tough slogging and negotiations. And there was a setback on the weekend where there was a misunderstanding that led to a temporary impasse. But we got right back at it and finished the deal,” Maguire said.
Inside workers were on a work-to-rule campaign for over a week after talks broke down between the two sides.
“Despite the employer saying it wasn’t effective, it was effective,” said Maguire. “There are so many divisions where are members in planning, weren’t working extra, where they were starting to have an impact on the city.”
“Local 79 was measured. We were responsible around our bargaining. We could have taken other action during the round of bargaining and we wanted to make sure we didn’t impact services.”
Tory told reporters Sunday the city made a final offer to CUPE Local 79 Saturday night that addressed the union’s key demands — including job security — and included the same wage increase accepted by the outside-workers union last week.
The union represents workers in child care centres, emergency shelters, libraries, water treatment and other services.
-With a file from Steve Morales