Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

May 22, 2010 17:01 ET

CUPE 1600, Workers at Toronto Zoo, Take a 1 % Wage Reduction to Assist Co-Workers

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 22, 2010) - CUPE Local 1600 ratified a new agreement with the Toronto Zoo, on Monday May 17. The main issue, which caused the rejection of the first tentative offer, was the issue of 27 office and clerical staff – most of whom are women - moving from a 35 hour work week to a 40 week.

"This had been one of the union's on-going proposals throughout negotiations. Our goal was to put this small group of female workers on an even keel with the rest of our local," said Grant Ankenman, president of CUPE 1600. "However, management's position was that it would be too expensive for them to increase these workers' hours.

"It's very interesting that Zoo management is now claiming that they were happy to extend these workers' hours because it increases efficiency. That's not what we had to deal with at the bargaining table; our members took a decrease in the original salary offer to ensure the move to a 40 hour week for our most vulnerable workers."

The Toronto Zoo bargaining team offered a six (6) per cent wage increase to all workers over a three year contract. When this first tentative agreement was taken to the membership, the members of CUPE 1600 overwhelmingly rejected that offer.

"What our membership clearly told us was they would prefer to take a raise of one (1) per cent less than management, so that their fellow members would be able to increase their weekly hours from 35 to 40. In these difficult economic times demanding to take a cut in the wage offer speaks volumes to the commitment and dedication of our membership," said Ankenman. "This was the major issue on the table when the union and management reconvened for negotiations.

"We were all extremely proud of our members' stance in support of a small group of colleagues. This unselfish action on the part of the majority, for the betterment of a minority, embodies concepts of fairness, support and solidarity for which CUPE and all unions strive ."

Contact Information

  • CUPE
    Russ Armstrong
    National Rep.
    416 953-9527
    CUPE 1600
    Grant Ankenman
    Wendy Forbes
    Communications Rep.
    416 292-3999