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It looks as if business is supposed to pick up around Toronto. And, by business, we mean garbage. Since June 22nd, city workers represented by CUPE Local 79 and Local 416 have been on strike, forcing Torontotonians to put up with heaping piles of trash in temporary dump sites across the city.
Earlier this week, it was reported that a deal between the city of Toronto and the unions was close to being completed. Toronto Sun's Jonathan Jenkins reports today that “city workers from Local 416 started emptying and putting back into service the 5,000 street-side garbage bins that have been taped shut since a paralyzing strike began 40 days ago.”
For weeks, these curbside garbage bins have been overflowing with items that would otherwise be litter by passers-by. Even with the tape cutting off the entrances for the trash, citizens have managed a way to squeeze as much garbage into these bins as possible. Needless to say, the city has been a mess.
While such bins are being emptied as of today, it still appears as if the city is not out of the woods just yet. The deal to end the strike is apparently still being met with opposition. According to Jenkins' article “Miller Foes 'Disgraceful'”, a number of councillors represented by Responsible Government Group feel that “the deal giving workers a 6% pay increase over three years and phasing out the controversial sick bank instead of ending it outright was an 'obvious departure from what the committee approved'.”
This has left Toronto Mayor David Miller seething.”This morning a group of allegedly responsible councillors said they would vote against this deal, which would cause the strike to continue,” Miller was quoted as saying, “In all (my) years in elected office I have never seen such a disgraceful and unwarranted attack on staff. To suggest our negotiators went outside the mandate is not only untrue, it's irresponsible, it's beneath contempt and it's beneath the very office these people hold.”
Should the deal be voted against, the strike would effectively continue. The city's wish for the resumption of garbage pickup and the opening of pools, recreation programs and day camps would go unrealized.
While members of both CUPE Local 79 and Local 416 have agreed to the deal, members of the RGG insist that they will oppose it.
The date for the end of the strike is therefore, still in question. Sadly, the debate, much like the city, is continuing to get uglier.