CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Green Cleaning Policy

Edmonton School Custodians call for Green Cleaning Policy

When WHMIS was first introduced a massive change was noted in the toxicity of chemicals used in cleaning. This call for a Green Cleaning materials policy is the next step towards safeguarding the public [the users of the space] and that of the staff working with the chemicals.

Lets cheer the Edmonton Custodial staff in CUPE Local 474 in their fight for this policy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

CUPE and Universities in BC

CUPE BC University group

CUPE represents approximately 9000 support and teaching staff within the university sector. We’re the largest support and teaching staff union in the university sector with members located at UBC in Vancouver, Locals 116, 2278 and 2950; SFU in Burnaby, Local 3338; UVic, Locals 917, 951 and 4163, and Royal Roads, Local 3886, in Victoria; Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops, Local 900; and University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in Prince George, Local 3799. CUPE also represents employees of the SFU Student Society, Local 2396, which bargains separately.

University employers continue with demands for contracting-out and student exploitation

[March 21, 2006 05:25 PM]

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Spring may have entered like a lamb for some, but not for instructors, teaching assistants and support staff in BC’s universities who are in their 15th day of mediation and still facing employers who are bent on contracting-out, exploiting student labour and freezing pay grades for the lowest paid workers in the ranks. In addition, bargaining committees are still waiting for a fair wage offer.

“Twelve-thousand university workers from every BC university have been battling employers simply to come to the mediation table,” says Connie Credico. “ Now that they are here their counter proposals have been outrageous. The money offer is low and insulting and they refuse to take contracting-out and student exploitation off the table.”

Three universities have received strong strike mandates from their employers. CUPE support staff at the University of Victoria, and UBC’s trades and services workers while TSSU’s teaching assistants and language instructors have all given their bargaining committees a mandate to strike should that become necessary.

“CUPE members at UBC were legislated back to work during the last round of bargaining. And the general wage increases in this sector totalled 2 per cent for a six year period,” says Credico. “While the bonus looks good, it can’t make up for low wages in the long term.”

CUPE and TSSU bargaining committees from UVic, Royal Roads, UBC, SFU, TRU and UNBC are at the BC Labour Relations Board at 1066 Hastings Street trying to break the deadlock on privatization, student exploitation and the growth of low wage ghettos in BC’s pre-eminent post secondary institutions.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Post-Secondary Education is becoming a luxury says OFL

Post-Secondary Education is becoming a luxury says OFL
There's no way raising tuition can make post-secondary education more accessible

"The latest reversal by the McGuinty Liberals, taking the freeze off tuition fees, will push student debt through the roof," said Terry Downey, OFL Executive Vice-President. "In some programs the fees will increase by as much as 20 percent. How can working families afford this?"

"Changes to the student financial assistance program mean that less than ten percent of families will qualify for grants. By raising tuitions McGuinty has just dropped thousands of post-secondary students into debt for years to come. With medical students already paying $16,000 a year who can afford to be a doctor? Or a lawyer or any other profession?" said Downey. The Canadian Federation of Students says that "for every dollar invested in student aid more than a dollar will be clawed back through tuition fee increases".

"Before Dalton McGuinty became Premier he campaigned on the promise, "We have a long-term plan to make sure more students have access to our colleges and universities," Downey said. "Instead, McGuinty has announced a huge tuition hike that throws thousands of Ontario students into debt."

McGuinty also stated on the campaign trail that, "We all lose when a student cannot afford post-secondary education." "Students and working families in Ontario just lost big time," Downey said. "There's no way that raising tuition can make post-secondary education more accessible to students."

CUPE 1356-02 Student Safety, Parking, and CCTV Settles

Last night members of the CUPE Local 1356-02 Bargaining Unit settled their New Collective Agreement with a 63% "in favour" vote.
  • The agreement adds formerly titled 'Supervisors' to the bargaining unit as Team Leaders.
  • Monetary

    • 1 January 2006 3% + $0.50/hour [equal to an 8% increase]
    • 1 January 2007 3% + $0.50/hour [equal to an 8% increase]
    • 1 January 2008 3.5% + $0.50/hour [equal to an 8.5% increase]
    • Team Leaders +$2.00 above Basic Hourly Rate

  • changes in the Grievance procedure to mirror the 1356 and 1356-01 agreements
  • discipline letter now removed at 12 months
  • bereavement leave changed to allow flexibility on when time taken
  • opportunity to have shifts improved for lower seniority members
  • opportunity to make representation to the JOHS Committee
  • Personnel files location and access formalized
  • increase in the number of Labou-Management meetings per year
  • streamlining of the number of Classifications to three from a tiered system where all essentially worked the same jobs

This is the final item of a sequence of negotiations for CUPE Local 1356.
This is only a short synopsis of the items. Please refer to the actual settlement document for any further information, these were available at the meeting.

CUPE 3913 at University of Guelph in Stalled Negotiations

University walks away from negotiations with TA and Sessional Union

Talks in negotiations between CUPE 3913, the Union representing TAs and Sessionals and the University of Guelph stalled at 12:30 am March 15th, when the University walked away from the table.

Key issues for the union include class sizes; the process of assigning partial jobs; benefits, particularly for Sessional lecturers and International Teaching Assistants, and ensuring that increases in tuition fees don't erode Teaching Assistants' take-home pay.

The Union is particularly concerned about the issue of tuition fees, given the province's recent announcement that tuition fees for domestic undergraduates can be increased up to 5%, and 8% for graduates. International students' fees are deregulated, and are currently nearly double what a domestic student pays.

'We now know that tuition fees can rise dramatically, and that UHIP premiums have also increased to $684 for a single member. The university is still unwilling to address quality of education and how this is affected by workload. They've walked away from the table; we are left with no choice but to request the help of a mediator,' Xerri said.

Paying UHIP premiums for health care is mandatory for all international students. For a family, the cost is approximately $2,600 per year.

The Union has requested a No Board report. According to the Labour Relations Act, either party has the right during conciliation to request that a mediator be appointed for negotiations to continue.

'Despite the efforts of the conciliator, the parties seem to be still far apart,' said Toni Xerri, the union's chief negotiator. 'Obviously the university did not feel that any progress was being made since they refused to come back to the table after having walked out to caucus on the union's latest proposals.'

Mediation dates are set for March 30 and 31st. The Union is in a legal strike position at 12:01 am April 3rd. The University is in a legal lockout position at that time.

CUPE 3913 represents the over 1200 Sessional Lecturers and Teaching Assistants at the University of Guelph. They are the largest trade union in Guelph.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

CUPE Local 3338 Negotiations Stalled with Simon Fraser University

There's still been no movement on the monetary issues at all the UCBC and TSSU bargaining tables. The government is not allowing SFU and other universities to come to a fair settlement.

Now it's time for all CUPE 3338 and TSSU members and their supporters to take action. Please phone your MLA (don't email them as it's too easy for them to ignore an email message). When you call ask the MLA or staff member that you want the MLA to call you back to answer the question: When will PSEC give our employers the authority to bargain a fair settlement?

New way to deal with the public

This news item reports of an Associate Dean of a university biting a member of the public!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tuition Fee Announcement

We still have not been given any word about the status of the announcement on tuition fee increases. The absence of an announcement is undoubtedly a sign that the government is nervous about how the announcement is going to be received by Ontario families. Already the announcement is nearly two months later than originally expected. College and university administrations cannot be happy either, since they are in the midst of preparing next year's budgets and calendars, and have no concrete information to use.

However, each day of the delay gives us more time to organise and get the word out about the looming fee hikes. Now is the time to re-distribute the Federation's website far and wide: and We have updated the message and copied all MPPs on the fax campaign. We should get as many faxes sent as possible between now and the announcement.

Last Friday, March 3, Local 20 representatives (Nipissing University Student Union) organised a constituency office picket of Liberal MPP Monique Smith. The media coverage was excellent, and included: local CTV television; the major print daily the North Bay Nugget; as well as local radio stations.

On Thursday, March 2, Local 98 representatives at the University of Toronto in Mississauga organised a demonstration with less than 3 hours notice, to call on the University President to stop tuition fee hikes. Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion was in attendance at the event and met with students to hear their concerns. Likewise, the event garnered significant media coverage including local print, television and radio.

This week in Peterborough, Local 71 (Trent Central Student Association) is organising an on-campus rally for Wednesday, March 8. Other locals in Toronto, London, and Guelph are set for emergency pickets the day after the announcement.

original information from the CFS

U of T 2006 Bora Laskin Award Winners

The University of Toronto Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources has announced two recipients of the 2006 University of Toronto Bora Laskin Award for Outstanding Contributions to Labour Law in Canada: Roy Heenan, Founding Partner of the management-side national law firm Heenan Blaikie, and Mel Myers, Founding Partner of the union-side law firm Myers Weinberg in Winnipeg.

This year's Bora Laskin Awards will be presented at a dinner that will take place at the Sutton Place Hotel on Thursday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m. (preceded by cocktails at 6 p.m.). This special dinner event is being held in conjunction with the Conference on Canadian Labour Board Law.

The 2006 Award Selection Committee is comprised of: Frank Reid, Director, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto, Madam Justice Louise Otis, Quebec Court of Appeal, Kenneth Swan, President, Ontario Labour-Management Arbitrators' Association, Madam Justice Sheila Greckol, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, Professor Brian Langille, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Mr. Justice Warren Winkler, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Thomas Kuttner, Vice-Chair, New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board, Stan Lanyon, Arbitrator/Mediator, B.C.

Brief profiles of Roy Heenan and Mel Myers follow:

Roy Heenan

When Quebec's Labour Code had existed barely a decade, and labour and employment law was considered a mere branch of litigation, he co-founded Heenan Blaikie, based on a philosophy that labour and employment law deserve to be a specialty as well as a field of study in its own right. The firm has since established offices in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Calgary, Vancouver, and Kelowna.

Mr. Heenan has also been one of the first Canadian labour law practitioners to recognize the growing importance of international labour law development. In this regard, he serves as a tribunal member of the Inter-American Development Bank, and a roster member for dispute settlement procedures under the North American Free Trade Agreement. In 1999, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

A Fellow of the College of Labour and Employment Lawyers, and of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Mr. Heenan is listed in the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers as among the top 15 labour and employment lawyers worldwide, and the only one from Canada so recognized.

An influential voice within ius laboris, an international alliance of labour law firms, Mr. Heenan has not only been a successful and respected practitioner, but has also written extensively on labour law, and has taught as Adjunct Professor at McGill University, and as a lecturer at the Queen's Industrial Relations Centre, Laval University, and the University of Ottawa.

Still today the driving inspiration for a 400-lawyer firm, Mr. Heenan finds time to pursue a passion for Canadian contemporary painting. He has served as Chairperson of the International Historic Heritage Foundation and President of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. He has also acted as Chairman and founding director of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and as a director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies and Alliance for Higher Education and Enterprise in North America.

Mel Myers

Throughout a long and distinguished legal career with the law firm of Myers Weinberg, Mel Myers has been Manitoba's pre-eminent advocate for labour, and a vigorous defender of fundamental human rights. As a labour lawyer, among numerous notable cases he successfully defended, the constitutionality of the Rand formula under the Charter of Rights, and the prohibition against mandatory retirement as age-based discrimination under the Manitoba Human Rights Act. As a human rights advocate, he served as the first chairperson of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission from 1974 to 1978.

However, Myers' contribution has gone beyond litigation before labour boards, arbitrators and the courts. Besides teaching labour law at the University of Manitoba, he has mentored countless union lawyers and advocates in the presentation of cases, and has tirelessly advanced the education of union members. Indeed, an annual conference on labour law has been established in his honour, the Mel Myers Labour Conference. Proceeds are donated to a charitable cause espousing economic and social justice.

Mr. Myers is a co-founder and past president of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers, an association of 500 lawyers representing trade unions and professional organizations across Canada. Since his retirement from active practice he has served as Chair of the Automobile Injury Compensation Appeal Commission, where he has established an advisor's office to assist citizens dealing with Manitoba's public auto insurance plan.

Nominations of Mr. Myers for this award have referred to "his willingness to work himself to the point of exhaustion, his fierce commitment to fairness and due process, and his conviction that protecting the rights of labour is fundamental to the preservation and strength of Canadian democracy." In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Myers has maintained a broad range of interests in arts and the theatre, history, jazz, and sports of all kinds. He is known for his immense and varied collection of trade union memorabilia, as well as his readiness to discuss or debate any topic with passion and energy.

originator of this information Lancaster House publisher of Labour Law materials

To learn more about the award, visit the Lancaster House website at:

International Women's Day, March 8th


(TORONTO) - On International Women's Day, March 8th, we celebrate the lives
and work of all the women who have come before us. As we honour our
sisters, we also recommit ourselves to continue to struggle for women's
social and economic equality. This March 8th the issue of child care has
never been more critical and urgent.

"Canadian women have been calling on governments for universal child care
for the last 30 years," said Irene Harris, OFL officer responsible for
women's issues. "Child care affects women's lives daily. It allows women
to work and it gives parents peace of mind."

"By just a stroke of the legislative pen, newly-installed, Prime Minister
Stephen Harper has cut parents adrift and turned his back on the one solid
solution for working families and their children," Harris said.

The immediate result of cancelling the agreements is the stalling of Best
Start and the loss of 25,000 planned child care spaces across Ontario.
Fifty-eight new child care centres in Toronto will not be built, nor the
over 7300 regulated spaces created for rural municipalities. In addition, we
stand to lose significant new investments in special needs resources across
the province.

"Unions have bargained for and won paid leaves for the care of children and
elders, child care subsidies and workplace child care centres," said OFL
secretary-treasurer Irene Harris. "But this is not enough. Just like health
care and education, child care should be a public service."

"Harper's alternative to a national child care system is a cheque for $100 a
month per child. Families welcome additional financial support but the
reality is a hundred bucks doesn't go very far. A hundred dollars might
help cover the cost of diapers - but it will not cover costs or create child

"By reneging on child care agreements, that were made in good faith, Prime
Minister Harper has turned his back on working women. Child care is all
about equality. It is about a woman's right to work without worrying about
the care of her children," Harris said.

The Ontario Federation of Labour has joined child care activists and parents
calling on Stephen Harper to honour the child care agreements that were
signed in good faith, just last year.

from the OFL

Friday, March 03, 2006

Pension Dispute Rises to a Boil

The Current February 2006 Pension Newsletter in the second page left column has again highlighted an issue that has been taken to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, the body that adjudicates disagreements over pensions, by YUFA.

The main issue is the manner in which the York University has dealt with a component of the York University Pension Plan. This issue is the manner by which the incrementation of Pension payouts for Retirees is calculated. The Unions' agree that the rolling four year average can only be used for positive incrementation. The University is calculating in a manner that effectively allows the Pension plan to recover the plan loss of 4.6074% in 2002, which effectively has wiped out increases to the amounts pensioners should be receiving since 2003.

Some of this dispute is also shown at the bottom of page 2 of the August 2004 Pension Newsletter. The item discusses how the loss of 2002 is being recovered from the University. The February 2005 Pension Newsletter showed a robust fund that still could not increase Pensioners payouts!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

New Funding System for Post-Secondary Education?

Empower Students, Meet Postsecondary Goals with Student-Based Funding: C.D. Howe Institute Study

TORONTO, Feb. 22 /CNW/ - As Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Quebec Premier Jean Charest prepare to convene a national summit on postsecondary education in Ottawa, a new C.D. Howe Institute Commentary argues for an over-haul of postsecondary funding. Provinces should change their outdated postsecondary funding mechanisms in favour of student-based funding, says the study, "The Future Is Not What It Used to Be - Re-examining Provincial Postsecondary Funding Mechanisms in Canada." The paper argues that providing a share of provincial funding directly to students, rather than only to institutions, would do a better job of meeting the sector's goals of quality, accessibility and responsiveness to labour market needs.

The new study, by Payam Pakravan, a former policy analyst at the C.D. Howe Institute, suggests replacing a significant part of current institutional subsidies with student-based funding. Institutions would continue to receive a basic amount of direct funding based on actual or moving-average enrolments. The remaining amount of public operating funding would be given directly to students, according to needs-based assessment criteria, perhaps in the form of a carefully designed voucher scheme. The other element of such an approach would be a more deregulated tuition regime, in which institutions would have more freedom to set differentiated tuition fees, subject to meeting accessibility criteria.

The study, "The Future Is Not What It Used to Be - Re-examining Provincial Postsecondary Funding Mechanisms in Canada," is available at

South African University Strikes Against Corporatisation

South African University Strikes Against Corporatisation

Students, workers, shack dwellers and academics at South Africa's largest teaching university, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), are now in their 6th day of a militant strike against corporatisation. Thousands have marched under the banners of education for all, decent working conditions and academic freedom. One of the university's five campuses is under heavily armed police occupation and serious clashes between police and strikers look increasingly likely.
Previous attempts to arrest the rapid corporatisation of the university have been dealt with brutally. In 2000 a student, Michael Makhabane, was shot dead by police in a peaceful protest against the exclusion of poor students. No action has ever been taken against the police offer responsible. In 1996 a mass strike was crushed when then vice-chancellor, Marcus Ballintulo, invited white paramilitaries onto campus "to restore order".
The strike currently underway has specifically targeted the ongoing exclusion of poor students from the university, the super exploitation of workers and contract academic staff, attempts to evict shack dwellers living on the campus and various forms of corporate authoritarianism. These include the exclusion of unions from decision making structures, attempts by the university management to intimidate staff supporting radical social movements off the campus, the subordination of research agendas to the demands of big business, the World Bank and donor agencies and the banning of radical academic Ashwin Desai. Desai was fired and banned from the university after leading the 1996 strike. That banning was lifted in 2003 and no longer has any legal standing. Yet the vice-chancellor, Malegepuru Makgoba, unilaterally rebanned Desai from the university in later 2005 fearing that he would again lead protests against corporatisation. In fact there is a whole new generation of union activists willing to organise against corporatisation. But the banning led to protests from the respected Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa, radical intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, Antonio Negri and Naomi Klein and massive international campaign for academic freedom. A number of academic associations in Africa are contemplating a boycott of UKZN. Makgoba?s response has been to accuse Chomsky of 'dementia' and to claim that academics organising against corporatisation are 'lazy'.
Makgoba works closely with the World Bank and he even invited the Bank onto campus to design a "staff retention policy" in other words the World Bank will decide who gets hired and fired and under what conditions.
Makgoba has failed to meet any of the strikers' demands or even to meet with union representatives. Heads of Department, now called 'line managers', have been instructed to inform on strikers and strikers have been banned from marching on campus. But most department heads have openly defied the instruction to inform and thousands have marched in defiance of a ban on marching. A ban by Makogba's chief spin doctor, Dasarath 'Gundane' Chetty, on staff speaking to the media was overturned after a direct challenge by the highly respected Jimi Adesina, a progressive Nigerian academic.
Strikers are now demanding the immediate resignation of Makgoba, his management committee and the university council, which is stocked with the corporate elite.
Although UKZN is the only South African university where the rapid corporatisation of universities has struck a rock this strike is happening in the midst of a broader rebellion against the consequences of neo-liberal polices. Last year there were over 6 000 legal protests and 850 illegal protests across the country. In Durban 20 000 shack dwellers are planning to march into the city demanding land and housing on 20 February. Their march has been illegally banned by the notoriously authoritarian city manager, Mike Sutcliffe. The last time Sutcliffe illegally banned a march by shackdwellers he followed it up with major police violence against people who tried to march in defiance of the ban. But that violence didn?t crush the fighting spirit of shack dwellers. It only firmed the resolve to fight and their movement has grown rapidly. It's a lesson Makgoba would do well to heed.

Watch Indymedia South Africa for updates!

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Sign a Petition to Save Child Care

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision this week to cancel the federal-provincial agreements on child care will be a huge setback to the long-awaited goal of a national child care program. Please take the time to visit this site and sign on to protect the gains we've made on child care.

Random Casserole Generator

a lighter item
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Advocating for universities in the public interest

An interesting site with a blog like component!

Thanks Derek Blackadder!

U of G TAs have Strong Strike Mandate

Guelph, ON February 28, 2006

CUPE 3913 strike vote turns up a very strong yes

The members of CUPE 3913, the union representing Teaching Assistants and Sessional Lecturers at the University of Guelph, have given a very strong strike mandate to their bargaining team.

The Local is currently in negotiations with the University. Their Collective Agreement expired August 31, 2005.

"It proves to us what we've been telling the university all along," said Toni Xerri, the Union's Chief Negotiator. "Our proposals are our members' proposals and our members have been behind them all the way. Now they have shown that they're behind this bargaining team wholeheartedly."

"I'm feeling strengthened by our membership," said Deborah Woodman, the Union's Chair. "This is the strongest strike mandate this Local has ever had."

"I am confident that when we return to the table tomorrow things will start to move,"
Woodman added.

The Union's membership authorized the strike vote at a membership meeting December 1st, 2005. A key point for the Union is making sure that tuition fee hikes don't erode wage increases for members. Other key points are class sizes, workload, Sessional/TA-Student ratio and health and safety issues.

"What we do next depends on the University. Hopefully this vote will convince the University to stop the delaying tactics and reach a settlement that both parties can live with," Xerri said.

"The University has to understand that our members are ready, able and willing to walk. The ball is now in the University's court," said Xerri.

CUPE 3913 filed for conciliation with the Ministry of Labour on February 20th. Conciliation is the point in negotiations, as legislated by the Labour Relations Act, where either party has the right to request that a Conciliator be appointed to facilitate negotiations.
The Union returns to the bargaining table tomorrow morning in what turns out to be the last scheduled meeting till March 23.

CUPE 3913 represents over 1200 Teaching Assistants and Sessional Lecturers at the University of Guelph and is the largest trade union in Guelph.

Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story

Mark your calendar. Sunday, March 12 and Monday, March 13, at 8:00 p.m. you want to watch Tommy Douglas.

Tommy Douglas is now a TV-miniseries.

CBC Television will be broadcasting PRAIRIE GIANT: THE TOMMY DOUGLAS STORY, a two-part four-hour dramatic miniseries.

Part one on Sunday, March 12th at 8:00 p.m.
Part two on Monday, March 13th at 8:00 p.m.

This is an important movie and an essential story that every progressive family will enjoy.

Tommy C. Douglas' passion, integrity, leadership and innovation inspired the nation to elect him as the “greatest Canadian.”

The former Saskatchewan premier, first federal NDP leader, pioneer of universal health care and spirited champion of the people bequeathed this country a legacy of political, humanitarian and social reforms of which every Canadian can be proud.

Douglas arrived in Saskatchewan in 1930 as the minister of a Baptist church at the beginning of the Great Depression. He set up a job and food distribution centre at the church, and moved into political involvement. From his first foray into public office politics in 1934 to his post-retirement years in the 1970s, Canada’s ‘father of Medicare’ stayed true to his socialist beliefs.

Vision, eloquence, wit and a passionate commitment to social causes made Tommy Douglas an unstoppable force. Now, more than ever, this story will inspire generations of Canadians to preserve his precious legacy.

On March 12th and 13th encourage your friends, neighbours and colleagues to watch. A strong audience sends a strong message – the work of Tommy Douglas cannot be forgotten.

For more information go to

Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story will also be available on DVD 6-8 weeks following the broadcast. The 2-disc set has a suggested retail price of $29.98 and is available online at or by calling toll-free 1-800-995-7711.

originator CALM