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TORONTO - CUPE members who clean the offices of Bay Street lawyers and wheeler-dealers marched proudly and noisily to the Ontario Labour Relations Board offices on February 26 to vote on their employer’s latest offer.

And the members of CUPE Local 2295 marched back to the picket line outside the Toronto-Dominion Centre that evening with renewed vigor after learning they had rejected the offer from Hurley Corporation by a margin of 2 to 1. They are determined to stay the course, despite the bitter cold, in their fight for paid sick days and retroactive pay.

Most of the 80 workers are women from Toronto’s Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking communities. They earn about $9.50 per hour. Those hired after 2000 may apply for short-term disability benefits only after they have been off work because of illness for three days. Workers hired before 2000 are entitled to 1 paid sick days per month.

The workers are also asking for retroactive pay, which the company has refused. Their collective agreement expired in October 2001.

Hurley Corporation and Cadillac Fairview, owner of the Toronto-Dominion Centre, don’t know what they’re in for. The picket lines will get a huge boost next week when hundreds of CUPE members come into Toronto for the Ontario Division’s Joint Jurisdictional Conference.

If you would like to support these sisters and brothers, but can’t make it to the picket line, why not contact their employer and tell them to get back to the negotiating table with something to offer on sick days and retro pay? Contact Hurley Corporation President Michael Hurley (no relation!) at 416-252-6311 or info@hurleycorp.com. Contact the Toronto-Dominion Centre General Manager Michael Miceli at 416-869-2273 or micelim@cadillacfairview.com and tell him to make sure his contractors treat their workers with respect.