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The mediator has adjourned negotiations for 24 hours. Although weve heard a lot from the Board in the media about how much they care about us and respect our work, the offer the Board put on the table Tuesday evening does not respect us in any way. It was a shocking disappointment. Theyve hardly moved!

Heres what the Board offered:
After all their hype in public, here are the hard facts of what theyve actually offered us at the bargaining table - theres progress in only one main area - They have backed off on their attack on our benefits and have actually made a couple of minor concessions.

Apart from that they have just repackaged the same offer that they have repackaged again and again:

  • They still want the freedom to lay us off. They still want to strip all our job security protection
  • They still want a free hand to contract out our work
  • They still want to continue to treat large groups of employees, especially in Unit B, our instructors unit, as second class employees
  • They still refuse to resolve serious problems with hours of work and length of work year, staffing allocations and many other important issues
  • The wage offer is nowhere close to the teachers settlement
  • Its still just 1+1+2 over 2 years. And they have attached new conditions on their wage offer:
    They want 8 compulsory unpaid days off over the two years to pay for our raise. (6 days for 10 month employees.) Thats right, they are still at 1+1+2 and they want us to subsidize it ourselves with mandatory unpaid days off.

Not a comparable offer
The moneys not there. The numbers say it all. Even if it was, what good is a raise if you dont have a job. We didnt fight for a fair settlement in 1999 so it could be chopped to bits 2 years later. We went on strike Friday night because we needed the power of the members behind us to move ahead in collective bargaining. That power is there and it will ensure that we are successful.

Its too bad there is no settlement yet, but weve only been on strike for two school days and our strike is solid and effective.

The CUPE 4400 Negotiating Committee says THANK YOU to the incredible courage and commitment of our members. Why are CUPE 4400 members so determined? We know our demands are reasonable and our cause is just.

Message to Parents
To parents, we share your disappointment that there is no settlement. We apologize for the ongoing inconvenience this strike is causing. We apologize for the stress and the uncertainty.

The Board is keeping schools open for propaganda purposes, not for educational purposes. The Board cannot fulfill its fundamental obligation to you - a safe, clean and productive learning environment for your children.
Toronto schools should be closed now.

We thank parents who are supporting us and we do understand parents who are simply fed up and angry. Please contact your Trustees and tell them to stop the damage and reach a fair settlement.

Message to teachers
We greatly appreciate the support shown by teachers. We have witnessed the threats and the bullying that teachers have been subjected to by the Board - and we are appalled. Long term damage is being done by the heavy handed tactics of the Board administration.

Message to Trustees
We call on Trustees to step in now and end this deplorable situation. Do the right thing now step in and direct your negotiators to offer us a settlement comparable to the teachers settlements. Then we can start repairing the damage. Then we can take on the province together and start rebuilding public education in Toronto.

Final word to CUPE 4400 members
We call on our members to:
Remain calm despite this inflammatory offer by the employer.
Do not be discouraged. Do not be provoked.
We must continue to be strong, disciplined and non-violent.
We are winning the strike and will win at the bargaining table.

Together we will win a fair settlement.
John Weatherup, CUPE 4400 President