Sunday, 19 November, 2017

CUPE 1600 on legal strike for fair contract with Toronto Zoo

CUPE 1600 on legal strike for fair contract with Toronto Zoo CUPE 1600 on legal strike for fair contract with Toronto Zoo
Laurie Berry | 12 May, 2017, 11:31

Jennifer Tracey, senior director of marketing and communications for the zoo, told Global News a robust contingency plan is in place which will see between 85 to 100 non-unionized staff members care for the animals during the strike.

"No one on this bargaining committee wanted a strike, but you can not have a world-leading research, conservation and education facility by consigning hundreds of workers to precarious, insecure jobs that don't support communities", she added.

The zoo said it has been "more than fair and reasonable" during contract talks.

"We can't continue to be a world leader and do the work we do. saving species from extinction, if we don't have job security, and the employer refuses to negotiate that item", she said outside a gate at the zoo.

She wouldn't say if the zoo will remain closed to other visitors, just that animal welfare remains the top priority.

McKenzie urged the Zoo's Board of Management to provide their negotiating team with the flexibility they need to conclude bargaining.

"I can assure you they will be taken care of in every way by our highly qualified management staff, many of whom were former keepers themselves. We also have a number of curators who also have knowledge with working with the animals".

Tracey said the proposals presented to the union did address job security and she added that the zoo was "taken aback" when the union took strike action this morning.

Delta orders 30 Airbus A321ceos
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"We certainly don't want to be out here", union local president Christine McKenzie said.

The union representing 362 Toronto Zoo workers on strike says management staff are not fully trained to look after the health and safety of zoo wildlife despite claims by officials the animals will receive the best care possible.

"As it stands right now, what they have proposed to us would mean that they could virtually shrink our workforce down to nothing if they wanted to".

It was unclear whether the zoo would be open for business on Thursday morning.

The last time the zoo workers went on strike was in 1997.

"These are excellent jobs that are well-paid with generous benefits, guaranteed pension and so on", Tory said.

Tory said he hopes the zoo will be open by the long weekend.

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