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Toronto - Cleaners in Towers 1 and 4 of the Toronto-Dominion Centre set up picket lines in the cold, dark morning on Monday, February 17, 2003.

The latest offer from their employer, Hurley Corporation, was rejected by 80% of the members of CUPE Local 2295 last Friday, putting them in a legal strike position.

“These workers need something better,” said CUPE National Representative Joan Stephenson. “They need a decent wage increase and retroactivity. Their contract expired well over a year ago, in October 2001. By rejecting every union proposal and dragging out negotiations, the company has made sure the workers have fallen farther and farther behind.”

The other issue in the dispute is harmonization of sick leave. There is currently a two-tier scheme, which allows some workers to accumulate sick days while others may apply for short-term disability only after losing three days to illness. Most of the approximately 80 workers are women and first-generation Canadians from the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking communities.