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Wednesday, February 10, 1999

Strike 'premature'

By MOIRA MACDONALD, TORONTO SUN
  The provincial labour minister should hold off giving a procedural green light to a possible strike by support staff at Toronto's public school board, the board has told the government.

"We believe we have been making progress (in contract talks)," board chairman Gail Nyberg said yesterday, adding that the request from the support staff's union for a strike go-ahead is "premature."

The union representing the board's 14,000 caretakers, secretaries and other support staff last week asked the labour ministry for a "no board" report. The report acknowledges that contract talks have become deadlocked and puts the union in a legal strike position 16 days after it is issued.

The union has said it expects to be on strike within a month unless there is drastic change in the board's position.

The board's request to the labour minister "is an obvious manipulation of the process," said John Weatherup, president of Local 4400 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

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