Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

May 10, 2017 20:27 ET

'Very real' possibility of lockout or strike that could put thousands of Zoo animals at risk, warns CUPE 1600 President

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 10, 2017) - A lockout or strike at the Toronto Zoo is a 'very real' possibility that would have a major impact on thousands of animals, the President of Local 1600 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1600) warned today.

"Job security isn't just a major issue for our members in this round of negotiations - It's the major issue," Christine McKenzie, President of CUPE 1600.

"While we have made a lot of progress over the past day, we have still made little to no progress on where our Employer wants us to go on employment security. Unless there is a shift at the table, I am very concerned that we will not have an agreement by tonight's deadline."

Negotiators for CUPE 1600 and the Toronto Zoo are negotiating ahead of a lockout or strike deadline of midnight tonight.

McKenzie warned that any disruption in service will have a major impact on vital breeding and conservation programs.

"The Zoo has a number of animals who are ready to give birth, in addition to the opening next week of the new Wildlife Health Centre. Now is not the time for posturing, now is the time to sit down and negotiate a settlement," she said.

McKenzie added that enough time remains to secure a fair contract that supports the Zoo's world-leading conservation, education and research efforts, while maintaining good, stable jobs that support communities.

"Our bargaining committee is prepared to meet for as long as it takes to secure a negotiated settlement, but there needs to be a willing partner across the table from us," she said.

CUPE 1600 represents more than 400 zookeepers, horticulturists, trades people, maintenance, administration and public relations staff, concession and ride operators at Canada's largest zoo.

Contact Information

  • Kevin Wilson
    CUPE Communications