Newsstand: March 21, 2012
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Newsstand: March 21, 2012

I hate today’s news and I hate all of you! I’m never coming back to Wednesday! Neverrrrrrrrrr! Today: inside workers vote to strike, a “bloodbath” of school cuts, TTC vote day, woman found unconscious on Steeles.

The City’s inside workers are fixing to join their librarian companions on the picket line after voting overwhelmingly in favour of a strike on Tuesday. The job action could begin as early as Saturday, taking the 23,000 members of CUPE Local 79 out of work. However, the union’s leadership says it’s willing to barter past the Friday deadline as long as the City remains at the table. The deadline itself is an “arbitrary” one chosen by the City, says Local 79, with the goal of pressuring workers to give up their demands. Since the City has taken such a can-do, let’s-work-together-like-adults tone with its adversaries this year, we are very sure this will all turn out just fine.

If the cost-savings recommendations that will be considered by the Toronto District School Board today are carried out, one trustee warns it’s going to be a “bloodbath.” The cuts, which are suggested in a staff report that will come before the board’s human resources committee today, include getting rid of 430 of 493.5 full-time education assistants. Those workers often help teachers with special-needs students, and their loss will greatly change the dynamic of the classroom, says trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher—she of the “bloodbath” comment. The report also recommends cutting 134 school office workers, 29 elementary vice principals, and 10 caretakers. The board has an $85-million funding shortfall, and could make up $50 million with these cuts. Oh, and not to rush an important decision or anything, but they’ll have to decide whether to go ahead with them by March 28 in order to meet employee contract deadlines.

Today could be the big day where councillors decide whether to put subways or light rail on Sheppard Avenue. Mayor Rob Ford and his dwindling group of allies is still determined to forge ahead underground (without a plan for how to pay for it), while an increasing number of councillors are happy up top, thank-you-very-much. An expert panel recently added fuel to the LRT side, but that has not deterred Team In-Ground. Council has already voted to go with an above-ground line along Finch Avenue and an LRT route on Eglinton Avenue, so it’s not looking good for the subway fanatics. A loss here would be another huge blow to the Ford dynasty, but at least they might be getting used to that by now.

A woman was found unconscious overnight in the middle of Steeles Avenue West, near Weston Road. Discovered at about 4 a.m. in the eastbound lanes, she was taken to Sunnybrook Hospital for treatment. There is no word on her condition, but police are trying to find out whether she had been pushed out of a car.