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May 7, 2004

Special school talks continue

From: London Free Press, Canada - May 7, 2004

Their teachers are seeking parity with public school staff.

KELLY PEDRO, Free Press Reporter

Bargaining between the province and the union representing 240 teachers at special schools in Ontario continued yesterday. "We began bargaining (Wednesday) morning and we're still bargaining," said Beth Phieffer, president of Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 30, adding she couldn't say whether the two sides were close to a deal.

"We've decided we're going to keep it under wraps until we're done bargaining."

The federation is negotiating with the management board of the Ontario government.

The teachers have been on strike since Monday, affecting 637 deaf, blind and deaf-blind children and youths in correctional institutions and demonstration schools across Ontario, including 53 at the Robarts school in London.

Teachers were working under a contract that expired last September.

The federation has said the key issue in the dispute is wage and workload parity with public school teachers.

The strike is a first for teachers at the special schools, although Robarts was closed in 2002 for several weeks when public service employees went on strike.

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