Ontario high school teachers say they will hold a one-day strike in a number of districts across the province on Dec. 18.
A notice from the OSSTF says all of its members will be engaged in a full withdrawal of services at 10 boards, including three in the Greater Toronto Area.
This will be the third in a series of single-day strikes carried out by Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation members as the union battles with province over the terms of a new contract.
On Wednesday, high school teachers in nine districts across the province, including the Toronto District School Board, held a one day strike. The Wednesday before that, all public high school teachers across the province held a strike.
The strike set for Dec. 18 will not include schools within the Toronto District School, Board. However several large GTA boards are part of the latest strike action, including the York Region District School Board, York Catholic District School Board, and the Halton District School Board.
But the York Catholic District School Board says its schools will remain open that day, as only its therapists are represented by OSSTF, not teachers.
“Since our last bargaining date on Tuesday, December 3, we have seen no change in the minister of education’s agenda of increasing class sizes, forcing e-learning on our high school students, and continuing the funding cuts that take valuable support staff and services out of our schools,” OSSTF President Harvey Bischof said in a news release Friday.
News about the latest planned strike date comes days after the union and the province announced that they had scheduled two days to meet with a mediator on Dec. 16 and 17.
In the release about the new strike date, Bischof said he hopes that Education Minister Stephen Lecce “is ready to get serious about bargaining next week.”
Some 60,000 publicly-funded high school teachers in the province have been without a contract since August.
The OSSTF has said they are seeking a wage increase of two percent to keep up with the annual rate of inflation. However the government has passed legislation to cap wage increases for public-sector workers at one per cent.
Ontario’s four major teacher unions are challenging the legislation in court.
Other sticking points in the negotiations have been the planned introduction of mandatory e-learning credits and class sizes.
The province has argued that wage increases achieved by any one union could result in billions of dollars in additional costs due to so-called “me-too” clauses that mandate wage bumps for similar workers in other unions bargaining with the government.
For his part, Bischof has said that he is bargaining for the teachers he represents; not for all workers across the province.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a statement Friday afternoon that Ontario high school teachers are "the second highest paid in the country" and they should return to the table and cease any further rotating one-day strikes.
"We are calling on the OSSTF to cease from continued job action, accept our offer of private mediation, stay at the table and focus on improving learning in the classroom, not enhancing compensation for their members."
The province and the OSSTF have not met at the bargaining table since Dec. 3.
The full list of affected boards for the Dec. 18 strike is as follows:
- York Region District School Board
- York Catholic District School Board
- Halton District School Board
- Waterloo Region District School Board
- Waterloo Catholic District School Board
- Lakehead District School Board
- Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
- Lambton Kent District School Board
- Thames Valley District School Board
- Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
The strike will also affect dozens of French-language elementary schools where some workers are represented by the OSSTF.
OSSTF members employed by Conseil scolaire de district catholique MonAvenir at the following schools will be on strike:
• École élémentaire catholique Cardinal-Léger
• École élémentaire catholique Mère-Élisabeth-Bruyère
• École secondaire catholique Père-René-de-Galinée
• École élémentaire catholique Saint-René-Goupil
• École élémentaire catholique Saint-Noël-Chabanel (Cambridge)
• École élémentaire catholique Jean-Béliveau
• École élémentaire catholique Le-Petit-Prince
• École catholique Pape-François
• École secondaire Renaissance
• Campus Renaissance
• École élémentaire catholique Saint-Jean
• École élémentaire catholique Saint-Michel
• École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys (Markham)
• École catholique Monseigneur-Jamot
• École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Marie (Oakville)
• Garderie satellite Copains copines—Sainte-Marie (Oakville)
• École secondaire catholique Sainte-Trinité
• École élémentaire catholique Milton Sud
• École élémentaire catholique Saint-Nicolas
OSSTF members employed by the Conseil scolaire Viamonde at the following schools will be on strike:
• École élémentaire La Pommeraie
• École élémentaire Marie-Curie
• École secondaire Gabriel-Dumont .
• Académie de la Tamise
• École élémentaire Les Rapides
• École secondaire Franco-Jeunesse
• École élémentaire Viola-Léger
• École élémentaire L’Odyssée
• École élémentaire L’Harmonie
• École secondaire Gaétan-Gervais
• École élémentaire Patricia-Picknell
• École élémentaire du Chêne
• École élémentaire Dyane-Adam
• École élémentaire Horizon Jeunesse
• École secondaire Norval-Morrisseau
• École élémentaire La Fontaine
• Académie de la Moraine
• École élémentaire Paul-Demers
• École secondaire Étienne-Brûlé