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Toronto Hydro Local beat back concessions

Months of fighting against the same austerity agenda workers are facing at bargaining tables across Canada paid off for The Society’s Toronto Hydro Local this week as it reached and ratified a new collective agreement.

Toronto Hydro management had been demanding that Society members sellout the next generation of workers. Just as they did during the 2005 strike of Hydro One, Society members stood tall to defend the principle that young workers shouldn’t get less than previous generations.

“We did it!” exclaimed Toronto Hydro Local Vice President Henry Quach. “From the 98% strike vote to wearing our Society shirts proudly week after week to gaining the support of our colleagues in CUPE Local 1, we succeeded in protecting our jobs now and for the next generation of workers.”

Quach also credited the commitment of the local’s members and bargaining team, as well as the solidarity of other Society locals. Society President Scott Travers supported the Local throughout talks and personally joined negotiations in its later stages, helping to bring about the breakthrough that led to the negotiated settlement.

The bargaining team was made up of Quach, Chris Gurney, Raquel Diluciano and Staff Officer Andy Todd.

The four-year deal, which includes a six-percent pay increase over the life of the contract, takes effect retroactive to January 1, 2016.

“We beat concessions this time but we know that management will be back looking for the same concessions again in less than four years,” reflected Quach. “We can’t rest on our laurels. We have to keep ourselves organized and continue to support other locals so there aren’t bad precedents when we return to the table.”

“And, of course, the biggest fight is still in front of us: keeping Toronto Hydro public.”