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TorontoVictoria Day Care child care workers, who have been on strike for nearly eight months began an occupation of Mayor Mel Lastmans early today.

Victoria Day Care is a municipally funded agency with 83 subsidized spaces and is the oldest child care agency in Toronto. The workers went on strike because the Victoria Day Care executive board took money allocated for the employee pension plan to fund the day-to-day operations of the agency.

The 13 women, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Local 2563) taking part in the occupation believe Mayor Lastman is ultimately responsible for adequately funding municipal child care, for assuring that taxpayers money is used responsibly and for ensuring that workers at agencies receiving municipal dollars are treated fairly. They are asking the Mayor to intervene in an effort to end the labour dispute.

The protracted strike has caused severe hardship for the 25 Victoria Day Care child care workers who earn moderate wages. One worker has lost her home, another has been forced to give up her child to a relative. One worker, with 20 years experience and ready to retire, has been unable to do so because the employee pension plan is now insolvent.

These workers, who are in effect municipal employees are being treated differently. Every other municipal worker has a pension plan. Why are these women being treated like second-class workers? They deserve better as do the inner-city families whose children attended Victoria Day Care Centre, and who no longer have access to affordable child care, says Sid Ryan the Ontario president of CUPE, who, along with CUPE Ontario secretary-treasurer, has joined the child care workers in the occupation.

Currently the City is conducting an audit of the child care agency, but it will be months before the results are known.

A remedy must be found now. These women should not be the victims of under-funded municipal child care agencies, says Ryan.


For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
(416) 209-0066
Brian OKeefe, Secretary-Treasurer CUPE Ontario
(416) 579-7414
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774