Mediated talks between the City of London and CUPE Local 101, representing inside workers, broke down on Tuesday night with each side blaming the other for the impasse.
Mayor Matt Brown will hold a news conference on Wednesday. In a media release, he expressed frustration and claims the union's bargaining unit is refusing to make sufficient moves toward an agreement that would end the strike that began 17 days ago.
"Council wants to get our employees back to work, and the city has made a number of moves during talks to try to achieve that," he says. "The unwillingness of the CUPE Local 101 bargaining committee to consider making meaningful compromise with its 'no concessions' position means this strike will drag on unnecessarily."
The president of CUPE Local 100, Shelley Navarroli, says it's the city that's unwilling to adjust its position.
“We put forward proposals to address all the outstanding issues," she says. "The city's bargaining committee, who remained absent from the bargaining table for quite some time then came back after five and a half hours and responded with minimal movement from their previous tabled positions.”
The union says it still hasn't been told of the specific reasons the city wants concessions such as expanding the workday to possible evening and weekend hours for 9am-5pm employees. Navarroli says CUPE offered to send negotiations to an independent third party for binding arbitration but the city's negotiators refused.
The CUPE Local is also suggesting that sexism may be at the heart of the negotiation breakdown. CUPE points out that the city has dug in on concessions from the predominately women workers of the inside unit while the mainly male workers from fire, police and the outside unit did not have to make similar compromises to reach their agreement, which is now in place until 2019.