Negotiations to end a 35-day strike by Toronto’s municipal workers went down to the wire last night.

As midnight approached, negotiators for the city and locals 79 and 416 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees continued to talk in a last-ditch effort to reach agreement. Spurring them on was an ultimatum issued Friday by Local 416 president Mark Ferguson, who said he would walk away from the talks if agreement wasn’t reached by midnight last night.

About the only promising sign came earlier in the evening when some members of Local 79, representing the city’s inside workers, said they received calls from their union heads alerting them to a potential settlement before the midnight deadline.

As the deadline neared, union spokesperson Pat Daley said the talks have now reached the most critical moment, as both sides attempt to iron out a solution for the “tougher issues.”

Both sides, she said, are making a serious effort, talking back and forth to reach what she called a “serious deadline.”

Local 416 represents 6,200 outside workers, including garbage collectors, while Local 79 represents some 24,000 mostly inside city workers.