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Toronto University of Toronto Press workers, members of Local 3261 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), voted last night to reject a tentative agreement reached earlier in the week between union negotiators and management. Mediated talks resume today.

The members have rejected the employers final offer, says Mehdi Kouhestaninejad, president of Local 3261. We are meeting with the employer today to hammer out a better deal and avoid a strike, if possible. The workers have been in a legal strike position since 12:01 am Friday, August 8th.

We have now extended the strike deadline to Friday, August 15th, says Kouhestaninejad. We hope UTP management will do what it takes to avoid a strike that will hurt students and the broader university community especially with the arrival of the double cohort.

Job security is the key issue for our workers, says Mary Catherine McCarthy, CUPE National Representative and University Sector Coordinator. Full-time employees have been laid-off, and the employer has not provided our members with employment security language to prevent more layoffs. Part-time workers now outnumber full-time workers at UTP.

This employer has resorted to layoffs in the name of cost-cutting, without exhausting other avenues, says McCarthy. Its hard to understand how they can cry financial poverty, when they have been expanding the business and when the arrival of the double cohort will bump up their sales and increase demand for their services.

For ten years our members wages have not kept pace with inflation, says Kouhestaninejad. Now our members fear for their jobs, and were ready to fight for them.

For further information, please contact:

Mehdi Kouhestaninejad,
President CUPE 3261, 416-688-0607 (cell)

Mary Catherine McCarthy,
CUPE National Rep.,
416-292-3999, 416-274-2637 (cell)

James Chai, CUPE Communications