Controversy Continues, Even After Strike Resolution

Toronto City Council voted 21-17 this week to endorse a new contract with the 30,000 city workers who have been on strike for 39 days.

And although the garbage is being picked up, a political stink is being raised about how the situation was handled. The strikers themselves suggested throughout the strike that the public should be blaming the political leadership, with some claiming he has alienated his key supporters in the labour movement.

But the biggest emerging controversy out of the new agreement is that workers on strike actually gained sick days while on the picket line.

Although Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong said it was a “a slap in the face to Torontonians,” deputy mayor Joe Pantalone suggested in was a slightly more complicated picture, with City spokesman Kevin Sack saying these type of agreements were standard.

The backlash potential in any public worker strike has some questioning the roles of unions in our society today.

Fortunately this summer was not as hot (and messy) as the 2002 strike. But many are hailing the residents of Toronto as the real heroes of this latest local labour dispute for the way they demonstrated patience while both sides finally came to an agreement.

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