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TORONTO – CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan will join in a support picket at noon tomorrow with cleaners at the Toronto-Dominion Centre in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The 80 members of CUPE Local 2295 have been on strike for more than a week. The main issues are a decent wage increase with retroactivity and sick leave. Most of the workers are women from Toronto’s Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking communities.

“What is being played out in this bitter dispute is a growing divide between the wealthy and working poor. A large number of Bay Street captains of industry are belittling and harassing these striking workers on the picket line. They are predominantly immigrant women. And it is unconscionable that right here in Toronto, in 2003 these workers are being subjected to the kind of class prejudice prevalent at the turn of the century,” says Ryan.

The workers have been without a contract since October 2001. Instead of retroactive pay, the employer, Hurley Corporation, has offered a $100 signing bonus to go along with a 30-cents-per-hour wage increase. However, Hurley has refused to agree to common sick benefits instead of the current two-tier system.

At present, employees hired after 2000 do not have paid sick leave. After three days of illness, they may apply for short-term disability in contrast to workers hired before 2000, who may accumulate 1 paid sick days per month with a payout for unused days at the end of the year.

The employer has demanded that its final offer be put to the workers in a supervised vote at the Ontario Labour Relations Board on Wednesday, February 26.

CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan joins Local 2295 picket line
12 noon, Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Toronto-Dominion Centre, entrances on Wellington Street between Bay and York Streets


For more information, contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
416-299-9739 - 416-209-0066 (cell)
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications
416-292-3999 - 416-616-6142 (cell)