One-day high school teacher strike in some boards a 'virtual certainty'
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, December 17, 2019 9:44AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 18, 2019 1:02AM EST
TORONTO -- No further contract talks are scheduled between high school teachers and the government, and the head of the teachers' union says a one-day strike Wednesday is a "virtual certainty."
Union president Harvey Bischof says the mediator decided that the two sides were so far apart that forcing a second day of talks would be more frustrating than productive.
Talks likely won't resume until the new year.
With no progress on the horizon, Bischof says Wednesday's planned one-day strike in select school boards will almost certainly go ahead.
The planned one-day strike is the third job action by the union in a bid to ramp up pressure on the government. It will impact boards in nearly every region of the province and follows a province-wide job action earlier this month that shuttered every public high school and some elementary schools.
The teachers have been without a contract since their last deal with the government expired at the end of August, along with contracts with all public education staff in the province. The government has inked deals with two unions representing education workers, but remains at odds with a number of other major teachers' unions.
The teachers are conducting a work-to-rule campaign and say they are pushing back against government plans to increase class sizes and the introduction of mandatory online courses.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce called on the union to cancel the strike and put forward new proposals at the bargaining table.
“I am frustrated and disappointed by OSSTF's actions at the negotiating table,” he said in a statement. “They came forward ... with no new proposals, no changes to their position, and no ideas on how to advance negotiations.”
Lecce said the main issue in the talks is compensation, with the government recently passing legislation to cap annual wage increases for all public sector workers at one per cent for three years. The union is asking for inflationary increases, which would amount to about two per cent.
“We have made a reasonable offer on compensation for the second highest paid educators in the country, as well as other enhancements to our initial offer to OSSTF,” he said.
The boards affected by the latest job action by OSSTF:
- Lakehead District School Board
- Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
- Lambton Kent District School Board
- Thames Valley District School Board
- Waterloo Region District School Board
- Waterloo Catholic District School Board
- York Region District School Board
- York Catholic District School Board
- Halton 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