Friday, January 15, 1999
School union: 1,800 face cut
Janitors, office staff
Talks between Toronto's public school board and representatives of 14,000 unionized support staff are "not very good," said John Weatherup, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees' Local 4400.
The union said it will not back down on demands for a wage increase after an eight-year freeze and protection against jobs being contracted out to the private sector.
School board officials say it must cut its workforce under amalgamation and the demands of the province's new education funding formula. At negotiations, that has translated into a 61% cut to central administrative staff, a 23% chop to caretaking positions, as well as reductions in other staffing areas.
Weatherup expected "a strong mandate" from his members when they vote Sunday to call a strike if a satisfactory deal is not reached at the bargaining table.
"These people have been under the gun for a long period of time," he said. "It's been bad but it's going to be even worse."
Norm Ahmet, the board's head of human resources, called the future effect of the staff cutbacks "drastic" but the board was "keeping hopes high" it would be able to reach a deal with the union without a strike. Previous story: Bandits ignored dying teller
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