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Toronto's Snowstorm May Get Worse As Snow Ploughs Are Threatening To Strike Tomorrow

They are struggling to reach a deal with the City.
CUPE Local 416  Strike Could Lead To Snow Plough Workers Walking Off The Job

The City of Toronto may be dealing with more than just snow if the City's outdoor workers take job action this Thursday. CUPE Local 416 will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. February 27, and that could mean snow plough workers may be walking off the job. They won't be the only ones, though. The union represents around 5,000 workers, including those who are also garbage collectors, paramedics, and park staff, according to CP24. It turns out that the union would like to reach a deal. According to a statement they released earlier this month, it was the City who initiated the disruption. "We're not the ones who walked away from the table," Eddie Mariconda, President of CUPE 416 said of the negotiations. "We are available to negotiate 24/7," he said in the news release. The press release also states that the reason negotiations have been tough is because the City is trying to "pave the way for privatization and contracting out of services." This is putting the jobs of unionized workers in jeopardy. “We want to resolve this issue. We don’t want to strike, we don’t want there to be a stoppage but if there is it will be directly the result of the mayor wanting the stoppage,” Mariconda told CP24.

Meanwhile, the City has released a contingency plan.

The plan states that "critical road, sidewalk and bikeway operations and maintenance will continue."

680 News spoke to City Manager Chris Murray, who said that a lot of work in the area of snow ploughing is contracted out. 

“We expect the streets to be cleared and we expect people to be able to continue to move around,” he told 680 News. “I don’t expect it will be as perfect, or as close to perfect, as we typically like to get it.”

The city also told Narcity that, "The City contracts out snow plowing and salting, and has for many years. We don’t anticipate any significant impacts to snow operations if there is a work stoppage tomorrow."*The Mayor also released a statement on the negotiations. "We remain resolved to securing a fair, reasonable and timely agreement – as we did four years ago."

Another disruption that this strike may cause is the shutdown of all garbage collection east of Yonge St. and delay garbage removal west of Yonge, according to the Toronto Sun. The City’s recreation and fitness centres, arenas, pools, ski hills, outdoor skating rinks, greenhouses and conservatories could all face a halt to their programming as well.

*This article has been updated to include a statement from the City of Toronto. 

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