A month-long strike at Canada's largest zoo is one step closer to ending today after members of Local 1600 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1600) voted to ratify a four-year collective agreement.
"While we are looking forward to returning to work and to looking after the animals we so deeply care about, our employer should be under no illusions that this was an easy decision for us to collectively take. This was a month of struggle, for the right reasons, and I am incredibly proud of what our members have achieved," said Christine McKenzie, President of CUPE 1600.
"Our members understood that their bargaining committee negotiated the best possible agreement on their behalf. The strike may be over, but our commitment to advocating for good jobs and the animals we care for will never end," she added.
Members began strike action on May 11 to protect good jobs, quality animal care and the world-leading research, education and conservation efforts that make the Toronto Zoo a 21st-century zoological facility.
McKenzie said the union "fully intends to hold the Zoo to their commitments and to hold them to account if they fail to live up to their promises."
Following today's ratification vote, the tentative agreement awaits ratification by the Toronto Zoo Board of Management, which is expected to take place Monday. Once ratified by both parties, the Zoo is expected to reopen this week.
CUPE 1600 represents more than 400 zookeepers, horticulturalists, trades people, administrative and public relations staff, concession and ride operators at Canada's largest zoo.