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Toronto Zoo reaches tentative deal with union

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Jun 9th, 2017

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About 400 Toronto Zoo employees walked off the job during a contract dispute. Two employees are seen blocking the entrance to the zoo on May 11, 2017. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A tentative deal has been reached between the Toronto Zoo and the union representing its 400 workers, bringing a possible end to the almost month-long strike.

CUPE Local 1600 said the deal was reached early Thursday morning, following a 24-hour bargaining session and with the help of a provincial mediator.

“We believe this tentative agreement is fair, reasonable and acknowledges the unique work that is done at the zoo,” the Toronto Zoo said in a statement.

A membership meeting and ratification vote is expected to be held this weekend. Details of the deal won’t be announced until it is ratified.

Workers walked off the job on May 11 after the union and zoo officials failed to come to terms on the key issue of job security.

The 400 workers include zookeepers, maintenance, administration, ride operators, public relations staff and concession workers.

During the strike, the animals at the zoo were taken care by management staff, many of whom were former keepers.

The zoo has been closed during this time but it is not yet known when it will reopen.

“We will now be assessing over the next 24-48 hours how quickly we can re-open the Zoo if the tentative agreement is ratified,” Zoo officials said.

More than 1.3 million people visited the zoo last year – that’s an increase of about 170,000 visitors compared to 2015.


Related stories:

Striking Toronto Zoo workers rally at City Hall

Toronto Zoo staff walk off the job in contract dispute

Toronto Zoo attendance up due to baby animal boom, good weather

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