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“Weve got reports from our information pickets at over 400 elementary schools today. Parents are very upset that the Board is prolonging the strike by attacking our 1999 job security language. We had a very sympathetic response from parents. They know many of our members by name and have known them for years.

Parents are angry that the Toronto District School Board is forcing us to fight the same battles over and over again. Parents and teachers from schools across the city will be at our rally on Thursday, April 19, 4:30 p.m. at the Ministry of Education, Bay at Wellesley. We will be marching to the TDSB to demand a fair settlement.

Our demands are reasonable. We seek a settlement comparable to the teachers. Well settle for the 1999 job security language the Boards trying to roll it back. Our goal of a settlement comparable to the teachers - which featured 8% over 2 years - is reasonable. Were really asking for half of what the teachers got we earn half as much and 8% only puts half as much in our pockets. We ask the Board to settle this strike now, today, this week settle it.

Great damage is being done, the bitterness could last for years. Only a negotiated settlement holds any hope of healing the wounds. Neither a settlement imposed by binding arbitration nor the iron heel of provincial legislation can really settle anything here. The Board has the money to settle. Stop trying to roll us back. Treat CUPE 4400 members with the respect they deserve. It is a disgrace that the Board is treating its employees this way.

On the subject of the provincial math tests in secondary schools the Boards request that we lift our lines is a propaganda move. If the Board has no plans to settle today they should reschedule the tests. They would have to schedule make-up tests for the thousands of students who arent in school anyway. Well be accused of monstrous deeds by the Board they are the ones prolonging the strike lifting our lines would only prolong it further.

Were going to be focussing on talking with parents and students across the city this week building our rally for Thursday and discussing the issues. There is massive inconvenience of many kinds our members are being forced to reschedule their entire lives!

If the Board wants to ensure that high schools are not targets for picketing tomorrow, they can put a deal on the table today that is comparable to the teachers settlement. The Board should have settled this strike by now. They can still settle it before tomorrow.”


For further information, please contact:
Maggie Davidson, 416-597-3957