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March 31, 2001

Toronto CUPE 4400 President John Weatherup called a strike by 13,000 education workers at 12:01 a.m., March 31st.

We are very disappointed the Board didnt take advantage of the extra week of talks to make an acceptable offer they wasted the extension on our original strike deadline, said Weatherup. When they presented their final offer to us tonight at 9:15 p.m. we saw rollbacks in benefits and job security, and no where near the teachers wage settlement. It was 2% and 2% conditional on the removal of all protection from layoffs and contracting out.

Throughout negotiations and until their final offer tonight, they continued to portray the harmonization of wage rates from the 1998 amalgamation as part of their offer this round, added Weatherup. Thats their bogus 2.4% – When will they learn they cant offer us something we already had, especially when 60% of our members wont even see that?

Our position has been clear from the beginning, said Weatherup. We need an agreement with a wage settlement comparable to the teachers they got 8%.

Our members know that we tried everything to reach an agreement, but it has become obvious the Board will not take us seriously until we are on strike. Our members will be very angry, but with that anger comes energy, added Weatherup.

To parents: I say that we deeply regret any inconvenience, and we ask for your support. The more effective our strike is, the shorter it will be, said Weatherup.

We care deeply about the health and safety of our students, said Weatherup. We call on the School Board to close the schools during our strike.

What were asking for is reasonable. We need it and our families need it. Our standard of living is in decline, added Weatherup.

Picket lines will go up at 10:00 am Saturday at the Bickford Center, 777 Bloor Street West and other sites, including over 800 locations on Monday.


For further information, please contact:

John Weatherup

President, CUPE 4400