CUPE Local 79 gets new president

The new chairman of the local union representing 20,000 Toronto city workers says she looks forward to getting the unit past a scandal that led to the resignation of its predecessor.

“It was a tough time, but in the end the locals are strong and have stayed that way…I don’t think people are giving the locals enough credit” to continue providing services to members during the upheaval, he said. Casey Barnett.

Barnett, who earned a law degree while working in the city’s facility management department and became the chief steward of CUPE Local 79, on Tuesday defeated three rivals in a by-election to lead the city through the end of 2023.

However, one of those rivals alleges impropriety and vows to fight the result.

Tim Maguire, a former Local 79 president seeking a comeback, said he will “give CUPE National the opportunity to investigate some irregularities…in the election before moving forward with other options such as, but not limited to, the Ontario Labor Relations Board.” He declined to comment further on the allegation.

Barnett said “that’s his prerogative – he can certainly do that, but I think the members made the right decision,” choosing her.

Local 79, which represents city workers, has made great strides in recent years with favorable contracts for several units “including new language for diversity and inclusion,” Barnett said.

“We’re just staying positive and we’re doing the job,” she said.

Barnett replaces Dave Mitchell, who stepped down as president of Local 79 in March at the behest of CUPE National. He faced charges of receiving payments from his second-in-command after helping him land a $46,000-a-year seat on the board of a public sector pension plan as part of union duties.

Mitchell then told the Star that “I acknowledged a misstep I made during my term as president and resigned immediately to preserve the integrity of our union and its important work.”

Jason Chan, the first vice president of Local 79, refused CUPE National’s request to resign as well and is facing an internal “trial” that, if it ends in a finding of misconduct, could lead to him being suspended from the court. elected union office.

Chan has told the Star that he did nothing wrong and that Mitchell pressured him for payments that came out of his pocket, not for the annual commission he received for serving on the board of the OMERS “Sponsors Corporation”.

David Rider is the headquarters of the Star’s City Hall bureau and a reporter for City Hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider


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