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Toronto faces strike threat

Public workers may walk due to salary, security spat

TORONTO — Last year, visitors to the Toronto Intl. Film Festival had to endure a crippling airline strike.

This year, it might be the frowns of the city’s 7,000 outside workers — including its garbage collectors, works department and recreation workers — on the picket lines.

Last week, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 416 voted to walk off the job Sept. 11, two days into the fest, if the union and the municipality can’t reach an agreement on job security and wages.

Trash pickup a problem

“If there is a strike, the biggest issue will be garbage,” said Case Ootes, Toronto’s deputy mayor, “and obviously we’ll have locations for people to take their garbage. Other than that, we’re not sure the festival will be impacted at all.”

The city has requested that a board conciliation be appointed, and expects the ministry to respond by the end of the week. “If they approve it,” said Ootes, “don’t worry about the strike.”

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