NEWS

Mayor Ford believes union, city 'close' to deal

03/25/2012 01:37 EDT | Updated 05/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Torontonians relying on the various services provided by CUPE Local 79, including daycare and custodial services, continue to wait for an update on negotiations more than 24 hours after the deadline for a deal.

Toronto's largest public-sector union says it has no immediate plans to walk out despite being in a legal strike position since 12:01 a.m. ET Saturday. Both the union and the city say they will stay at the table as long as negotiations continue.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Sunday afternoon he believed the city and the union representing its indoor workers were "close" to a reaching a deal, as the two sides remained engaged in talks that had lasted throughout the weekend.

"I'd love to give you some details now, but I don’t think we have a deal yet," Ford told listeners on his radio show. "But I was down there late last night, and we’re close — that's all I can say."

Union officials had similarly suggested that a "significant" update would be handed down before Monday, while employees were left to wonder whether they would start their work week on the picket lines.

CUPE Local 79 represents 23,000 inside workers, including daycare workers, clerks, child-care workers, nurses, janitors, building inspectors and community centre employees. The union's contract with the city expired on Dec. 31, 2011, and its members voted in favour of a strike mandate on Wednesday.

Union spokeswoman Katrina Miller said all services were to be staffed as usual, as long as talks move in a positive direction.

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