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July 10, 2009
Toronto presents fair and affordable offers to unions
  
Please see below the news release, highlights on the City's offer and web links to background information.

The City of Toronto today announced that it presented Toronto Civic Employees’ Union Local 416 (CUPE) and CUPE Local 79 with comprehensive offers on July 9, 2009. The City believes these offers allow the City and its unions to reach a settlement that ends the strike.

After six months of bargaining and more than 160 meetings with the two union locals and provincial conciliators, the City is releasing its detailed proposals to ensure that Torontonians and the City’s workers are well informed on key bargaining issues.

The offers are fair and affordable and contain what the City believes is required to resolve all outstanding issues.

The City wants an end to the strike but the City cannot simply agree to everything that the unions have requested to make that happen. The City cannot afford all of the increases to wages, shift premiums, vacation time and benefits the unions have requested. Both unions have requested wage increases of more than 3% in each year of a new collective agreement.

In making the offers, the City has clearly stated again that arbitration is not seen as a resolution to the strike.

The offer maintains all the same seniority protection for employees that was in the previous collective agreements. None of the City’s proposals would have any affect on the seniority rights of employees.

The City has no non-monetary proposals remaining on the bargaining table with Local 79. The City and unions have settled numerous non-monetary issues during bargaining or agreed that the language in current agreements will remain unchanged. The last package presented to Local 416 includes fair resolution of the City’s four remaining non-monetary proposals. Non-monetary proposals are typically changes to contract language that have an impact on the ability of the City to deliver quality services and respond to changing priorities but do not have an immediate financial impact.

In addition, the City has proposed a new short-term disability plan and a partial payout of current employee sick leave banks.

The new short term disability plan provides employees with enhanced income protection when they are ill, which is the true purpose of a sick leave plan. To facilitate the end of the current sick leave plan and to transition to the new short term disability plan, the City has proposed a partial payout of employees' current accumulated sick leave banks based on years of service. This payment recognizes that employees have been accumulating sick leave credits under the current plan. A partial payout is appropriate as those employees would be moved over to the new short term disability plan and would be immediately eligible for short term disability benefits under that plan.

The City’s proposal for full-time staff provides for a minimum payment of $500 to all employees, including those with under 10 years of service or those in grandparented short term disability plans.

Part-time Local 79 employees will be eligible for a payment of up to $500 based on their hours worked in the previous year.

Full-time City employees that are members of Locals 416 and 79 can estimate the value of their payout at www.toronto.ca/offer

The City’s offers have a 1%, 1%, 2% and 3% base wage increase in each of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively -- a total of 7.2% (compounded) over that four year period. These increases reflect the City’s financial circumstances and the effects of the global recession. To control rising benefits costs, the City continues to seek two changes to benefits coverage which will not adversely affect City workers.

The offers address many of the union’s concerns and requests while still addressing the affordability issues that the City is facing in the current recession. City employees can review the details of the current offer at www.toronto.ca/offer

The highlights of the offers are attached. Details of the offers and the previous collective agreements are available at www.toronto.ca/offer

Media contacts:

Stuart Green, Deputy Communications Director, Office of Mayor David Miller
416-338-7119 (office)

Kevin Sack, (ksack@toronto.ca) Director, Strategic Communications, City of Toronto
Media relations line during strike, 416-338-7768

Public information: Access Toronto 416-338-0338, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Fact Sheet

July 10, 2009

Highlights of the City’s offers

From the outset of negotiations the City of Toronto has stated that the new collective agreements must:

1. be fair to employees,
2. be affordable to Torontonians, and;
3. allow the City to deliver high quality services to Torontonians.

WAGES

The City’s offer has a 1%, 1%, 2% and 3% base wage increase in each of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively. The total is 7.2% compounded over four years. These increases reflect the City’s financial circumstances and the effects of the global recession.

2009 1%
2010 1%
2011 2%
2012 3%
Total over 4 years (compounded) 7.2%

SENIORITY

The offer maintains all the same seniority protection for employees that was in the previous collective agreements. None of the City’s proposals would have any affect on the seniority rights of employees.

NEW SHORT TERM DISABILITY PLAN and SICK LEAVE PAYOUT

The City’s offer presents a resolution to issues caused by the existing employee sick leave plan, which has become unaffordable and provides a benefit beyond normal sick leave income protection. The current sick leave plan was designed many years ago when these types of plans were common for public sector employees. This is no longer the case, and most public sector employers have already been changed to short-term disability plans which are more affordable. The offers include replacing the existing plan with an improved short-term disability plan that provides greater coverage and income protection. Employees will now have better coverage earlier in their employment that will expand with an employee’s years of service.

The new short term disability plan does not include a payout of accumulated sick leave credits when an employee leaves the City and as a result there is no additional financial liability to the City to fund such a payout.

Progressive organizations provide sick leave provisions that are designed to protect staff when they are ill and the employee is unable to attend work. They are not designed to pay a benefit to employees when they are not ill and no longer employed by the City of Toronto.

To address its obligations under former collective agreements, the City has, as part of the offer, agreed to pay out a portion of the existing sick leave credits to staff with accumulated sick leave credits. For employees with 10 or more years of service, the average payout will be approximately $ 8,500.00. The minimum payout will be $500.00 for full-time employees. At the time of the payout, the employees remaining sick credits will be eliminated. The partial payout of accumulated sick leave credits, which was done when other plans were converted, will save the City considerable funds in future.

A chart that compares the former plan to the improved plan now being offered and a backgrounder on the details of the new plan and the payout is available at www.toronto.ca/offer.

Part-time Local 79 employees will be eligible for a payment of up to $500 based on their hours worked in the previous year.

BENEFITS

The offers include items that will make the City’s benefits plan more affordable and which do not negatively impact employees. The City offers an extremely generous and competitive benefit plan. In fact, based on a benchmark survey of other public sector organizations, the benefit plan provided by the City of Toronto is the most generous. The City has requested two simple changes to the benefit plans which will help control rising costs. Controlling the City’s benefits costs has been recommended by both the Mayor’s Panel and the City Audit Committee. Neither of these changes will result in take-aways for employees. The two proposed changes are:

1. Dispensing Fee Cap of $9.50. Employees will continue to be paid for 100% of prescription drugs. However, the City will only pay for up to $9.50 in dispensing fees for each prescription (this is the fee charged by the pharmacist to fill a prescription). Many pharmacists already charge under $9.50 and therefore employees will not incur any additional expenses if they fill prescriptions at stores that charge $9.50 or less.

2. Dental Recall Exams - change to every nine months from six months for adults. Currently the plan pays for dental recall exams every six months. This change only applies to adults and only applies to dental recall.

These are the only benefits changes being requested. Most other organizations already have components built into their benefit plans to help control the rising cost of healthcare and the City must now take the same steps. The City is seeking to ensure benefits remain affordable.

FAMILY DAY

The offer also includes the extension of Family Day to all City local 79 and 416 employees who currently have Remembrance Day off. The Family Day holiday will be in exchange for Remembrance Day. The City will continue to have an appropriate recognition of Remembrance Day in the workplace. This proposal aligns the day off at the City with other employers and at the school boards so employees will be better able to spend time with their families who are off from work or school.

Web links to background information

Proposed Short Term Disability Plan for City Employees
Represented by TCEU Local 416 (CUPE) and CUPE Local 79
http://www.toronto.ca/offer/pdf/proposed-std-factsheet.pdf

Sick Leave Plan & Short Term Disability Plan Compared
http://www.toronto.ca/offer/pdf/sick-leave-std-compared.pdf

Sick Leave Plan Payouts for Members of Locals 79 and 416
http://www.toronto.ca/offer/pdf/PayoutFactSheet.pdf

Summary of Local 79 collective agreement - January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2008
http://www.toronto.ca/offer/loc79-former-ca-summary.htm

Summary of Local 416 collective agreement - January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2008
http://www.toronto.ca/offer/loc416-former-ca-summary.htm


 

 

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