Councillor Josh Matlow

National Post: City council endorses new four-year collective agreement reported to save $50M

April 2, 2012


City council has endorsed a new four-year collective agreement with just over half of its inside workers that, officials say, will save the municipality about $50-million.


The deal with full-time employees and some part-timers passed 40 to 1 on Monday.


Part-time recreation workers must still ratify their agreement on Tuesday, after which it will come before council for final approval. The city and part-time long-term care workers will settle their differences in binding arbitration.


“This morning marks a historical day for labour peace in Toronto,” said Mayor Rob Ford, who got kudos from councillors who have sparred with him in recent weeks on the transit file. Councillor Karen Stintz, who is TTC chair, commended the Mayor’s “political will” to bring about changes to the collective agreement, while Councillor Josh Matlow praised the chief magistrate for not throwing “oil in the flames”.


“Many people assumed we were going to have labour war this year.. and the reality is that the rhetoric actually subsided,” said Mr. Matlow. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday called it “one of the finest achievements that we’ve probably had this term and are likely to have.”


Still, Councillor Joe Mihevc, a vocal Ford critic, said relations between the city and its employees has frayed over the last few months. “We were in a pinch, they contributed, now lets try to find a way forward,” he said.


City manager Joe Pennachetti calculates that the two contracts will save the city $49.2 at the end of four years due to a wide range of changes in the fine print, including shift overlap among full time workers of old age homes and trimmed benefits. “It’s spread throughout a number of areas within the collective agreement,” said Mr. Pennachetti. The figure does not include any salary savings, said Mr. Pennachetti, which will be detailed at a later date.


Councillor Paula Fletcher was the lone person to vote against the budget. She did not elaborate on what she thought of the deal. “There’s always that one no vote. The Mayor used to do it, and I like to do that still,” she said.


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