Toronto Mayor Rob Ford makes an announcement on the labour strike affecting city employees in City Hall on Thursday, March 30, 2012.
Credits: Mark Tarnovetsky/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency
Ford announced Friday the city has struck a deal with part-time recreation workers in CUPE Local 79, the last remaining bargaining unit without a deal or in arbitration.
Officials from Local 79, which represents 18,000 inside workers including nurses, child-care workers and ambulance dispatchers, confirmed they will be recommending members vote in favour of the "adjusted" offer at a ratification vote next week.
"This is great news not just for myself but for the taxpayers and for the union, I've always supported front-line workers," Ford told reporters.
"Everyone has job security now for a long time. People want to work. They like doing their jobs and we like having them here. Things are working out better than we could have ever thought of."
Coming to an agreement with the 8,600 recreation workers - who voted to reject the city's final offer Wednesday - was the last step in Ford hammering out a deal with the inside workers' union.
City officials said there will be "significant" savings from the Local 79 agreement.
Friday's labour deal comes two months after a deal was reached with CUPE Local 416, the city's outside workers' union.
Despite a lot of tough talk during negotiations with both unions, the city's labour peace comes without the predicted strike or lockout.
The mayor said he was "always confident" he'd get a deal without a labour disruption.
"They always say I can't do anything but you know what, I take one day at a time and we keep moving the ball down the field and we've been doing a lot of great stuff in the city for the first 18 months," Ford said.
Local 79 president Tim Maguire called this round of negotiations "an attack on our members and the services they provide."
"The difficulty with this round of negotiations is that there hasn't been a collaborative approach to bargaining with a partner across the table to find solutions that help the workers that are delivering services," Maguire said.
Maguire stressed the deal wasn't a "win for anybody."
"It would have been a win again if we had a collaborative approach to bargaining," he said.
Bob Reynolds, the city's chief negotiator, said the adjustment made to the final offer that led to Friday's deal "did nothing in the overall cost of the settlement."
"We thought that it was probably a good idea in the spirit of co-operation to move forward," Reynolds said.
"As the mayor said, we weren't looking for a fight; we were looking for a contract that made sense to both sides."
Reynolds described the negotiations as "not easy" but stressed they resulted in "good collective agreements."
"We accomplished what we wanted and we have jobs for people and they are good jobs," he said.