Challenging can only describe the task CUPE negotiators face as they attempt to bargain a deal that represents the diverse staff it represents.
Building Service Workers (janitors), Ice Rink Staff & Parking Metre Coin Collectors fear the loss of their jobs. When speaking with these staff their fear is palpable. What negotiator wants to explain why these jobs were sacrificed for the sake of labour peace?
No Layoffs Due to Contracting Out continues to be the primary obstacle. The City must drop it's arrogant posture. Time limited offers with benefit clawbacks exacerbated an already strained management / staff relationship.
City council members and aspiring mayoral candidates need to stop fanning the conflict and actually seek solutions. I believe that is called leadership as opposed to simply appeasing one's base.
CUPE must consider options beyond job / no job.
Abandonment defines the fear expressed by many in these staff groups. Mortgages, car payments and family expenses continue. It's easy to say "fire the lot" or "replace them all" when referring to strangers. The perspective changes when instead of strangers these are people you work with daily and chat about family, children and the future.
The role of the union is to ensure fair treatment and prevent abandonment.
That may not mean keeping the same job but at the very least it should ensure transition assistance.
Can the City assist in training? Can CUPE National do likewise? Both should.