Some teachers to continue boycott of extracurriculars
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 6:21AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 25, 2013 3:21PM EST
Some public high school teachers and support staff are continuing their boycott of voluntary extracurricular activities, despite a recommendation by union leaders to suspend the protest.
At a news conference Monday, Ken Coran, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, said the union is leaving it up to its members to decide whether they want to resume their involvement in extracurriculars.
Last Friday, OSSTF leaders voted to “suspend political action” related to voluntary activities outside of school hours, but Coran warned Monday that not all teachers and support staff are agreeing to it.
“Does that mean that everyone will do that? I want to make it very clear that is not likely to be the case,” Coran told reporters at the news conference.
Coran said members are still “very” upset with the Liberal government after new contracts were imposed on them under Bill 115, so some are choosing to continue the withdrawal of extracurriculars.
The OSSTF’s 60,000 members stopped supervising after-school programs in December in protest of the legislation, which was enforced under then-premier Dalton McGuinty and then-education minister Laurel Broten.
Friday’s vote to suspend the withdrawal of extracurriculars was a sign of goodwill that the union hopes will help to resolve the labour dispute.
Meanwhile, the OSSTF and the province are scheduled to resume “central table” negotiations this week as they try to work out some of the existing issues, Coran said.
There is renewed optimism about the negotiations because of the government’s new leadership and because new faces will be at the table.
Coran said the union has seen some positive signs from Premier Kathleen Wynne’s cabinet.
“What we have seen is a shift to the way business used to be done,” Coran said.
He said there is willingness on the government’s part to collaborate and re-engage on a collective bargaining process that is fair and transparent.
Coran called it a “new phase” of negotiations.
“This is the next stage. We certainly are nowhere near completion and there’s a lot of work that still remains to be done,” he said.
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