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Toronto–A bitter dispute is brewing between the Toronto Catholic District School Board and 800 workers, members of Local 1280 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) over the imposition of midnight shifts and the of twinning schools in order to cut more caretaking staff.

“This board could be the poster boy for the Harris governments attack on education. They are not only meeting the ministry directives for budget cuts; they are exceeding them. In the meantime students are facing dirtier schools, school security is compromised and workers are dealing with excessive workloads,” says Sid Ryan the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Ontario).

According to the Education Improvement Commission this school board has cut spending on custodial staff to $5.03 per square foot. Thats less than the $5.20 provided by the Harris government.

“Caretakers are being asked to work harder and harder on a schedule that will hurt their family life, just so the board can stretch the paltry funding they receive from this government. Staff cuts and midnight shifts wont solve the problems faced by this board only adequate funding for caretakers from the ministry will,” adds Ryan.

On June 8th, Catholic board trustees will be voting on these new proposals, that CUPE Local 1280 president Andrew Abraham says, ” will hurt workers and clearly violate the boards support for healthy family life.” Members of Local 1280 and their families plan to mobilize against the board proposals.

A rally will be held on:
Monday, May 22
4 p.m.
Howard Johnson Hotel
2737 Keele St. (at Hwy. 401)
CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan will speak at the rally

According to Abraham, “schools in our system are getting dirtier and more rundown because weve lost 42 per cent of our members since 1992. Thats 158 less caretakers. Were seeing dirty desktops and serious messes in the washrooms. With twinning, there would be many elementary schools without a caretaker for hours at a time. This seriously undermines school security and emergency response,” says Abraham.

For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario - (416)209-0066
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications -

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