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“There have been on-again, off-again threats of provincial intervention in the labour dispute at the Toronto District School Board. The Premier and his Labour Minister have repeatedly issued conflicting statements on the subject.

Earlier today the Premier stated that it was preferable to let the local parties settle the dispute. Despite this, rumours persist that he may intervene tomorrow. On behalf of the 13,500 members of CUPE 4400, I call on the Premier to honour his word.

A legislated end to the strike would not be a settlement at all. A legislated end to the strike would not only be a grave injustice to the members of CUPE 4400, the damage would extend to the entire TDSB community.

Our members have been out on strike for more than three weeks, to win a fair settlement. Parents and teachers and students have experienced enormous inconvenience. They have shown incredible patience and understanding - for the most part thats because they value us and our work and want a fair solution to the dispute. Everything that all of us have endured would be trampled by provincial intervention.

Wednesday night there is a meeting of the elected school trustees of the TDSB. Could it possibly be true that the premier would also trample the democratic process and intervene the very day the trustees are scheduled to meet? Could it possibly be true that the premier would intervene to pre-empt the first meeting at which the trustees would consider the unions new moves to settle the strike?

A growing number of trustees are seeking a settlement with CUPE 4400.

If the Premier intervenes it could only be because he wants to prevent a settlement that is not to his liking.

The premier vigorously attacked the teachers settlements. Now he may try to pre-empt us from winning a comparable settlement. He has no concern about our falling living standards - he thinks low wages are good for the economy. Low wages are certainly not good for us.

If the Premier wants to show his concern for Toronto schools he should provide adequate funding for the education of the children in this city. Thats the only provincial intervention that would be productive.

The Premier must let CUPE 4400 members exercise their rights and he must stop interfering in the process.

I call on parents and students and teachers and union members and all fair-minded citizens to join us tomorrow at 5 pm at 155 College Street - outside the TDSB offices where the Trustees will be meeting - to demand that trustees settle this strike and reopen the schools.”

For further information, please contact:
Maggie Davidson, CUPE 4400, 416-597-3957, ext. 225