TORONTO, ON – More than 400 zookeepers, horticulturists, trades people, maintenance, administration and public relations staff, concession and ride operators at Canada’s largest zoo have commenced strike action against their employer, the Toronto Zoo.
“We are incredibly disappointed to have to take strike action, but the Toronto Zoo’s refusal to move on job security left us with no alternative,” said Christine McKenzie, President of Local 1600 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1600).
“No one on this bargaining committee wanted a strike, but you cannot have a world-leading research, conservation and education facility by consigning hundreds of workers to precarious, insecure jobs that don’t support communities,” she added.
Picket lines will go up at the Zoo’s entrances, and members are being asked to show up at their regular shift times, but to report for picket duty.
McKenzie urged the Zoo’s Board of Management to provide their negotiating team with the flexibility they need to conclude bargaining.
“We have numerous animals on the verge of giving birth, a new health centre supposed to open, and thousands of animals that won’t be getting the level of care they should be getting,” she said.
She added that the union’s bargaining committee remains on standby, ready to quickly resume negotiations.
“Ultimately, that ball is in the employer’s court,” said McKenzie.
For more information, please contact:
Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641