When city drama teacher Brenda Carr voted in favour of a strike mandate last week, she did so knowing it might well land her on the picket line with the rest of CUPE Local 79′s 18,000 employees.
For the 26-year veteran, the issues around seniority rights and fair pay “were worth going on strike for” and she agreed with her union that they needed to take a stand.
But on Wednesday, the vast majority of indoor workers voted to approve a concession-filled offer from the city. Like the outdoor workers, Local 79 gave up significant job security provisions. They also saw some minor reductions in benefits and about a 6 per cent wage increase over the term.
Part-time recreation workers such as Carr rejected it along with part-time long-term care staff, but without their full-time allies, the group of mostly recreation program instructors – swim, dance, yoga, drama, skating etc. -holds little clout.
Among the 10,000 who took the deal: Full-time and part-time public health nurses, daycare workers, by-law officers, long-term care workers, public health staff, planning applications and building permit workers, employment and social service employees, court officers, Toronto Water officials, and shelter and housing staff.