Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads panic
The world’s largest employee union, which represents city staff in Toronto, has called a strike vote over a plan to bring back the city’s retirement system, but Mayor John Tory has announced his decision to scrap the plan.
The move comes after Omicron, the biggest public sector union, threatened to strike if the city government insisted on keeping the Toronto Retirement System, which provides full pensions to city staff, even after the new provincial government took office with new pension policies.
“While the City of Toronto is committed to making major investments in the TTC, TTC staff, the TTC Board and other critical city services, the City must have certainty for future financial security,” the union said in a letter to staff delivered to the City manager’s office Tuesday.
Tory had promised to come up with a “plan” to get Toronto back on track with the province’s new pension plan by June 1 if he were re-elected.
But Wednesday, he said he had made a “difficult decision” to scrap the plan — something that union boss Mike McCormack said had nothing to do with Toronto taxpayers.
“We were prepared to continue the fight. We were prepared to have our members back on the job in the event that this was not resolved,” McCormack said in a statement. “The city staff and other union employees are no longer prepared to compromise and continue on in this strike and have instructed me to call a vote for a strike.”
Tory will announce the date of the vote at a news conference at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday and said the decision was “the toughest decision I’ve had to make.”
“I think the mayor has gone way beyond what city staff wanted to do — to go the rest of the way with this as late as possible and to make the announcement today is a very difficult call,” said McCormack.
Despite Tuesday’s announcement