Ontario Catholic teachers announce rotating strikes for next week
An empty classroom is shown in this file image. (The Canadian Press)
Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, February 18, 2020 10:06AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 18, 2020 10:09AM EST
Catholic school teachers will hold rotating strikes across Ontario next week following Friday’s province-wide walkout led by the four major education unions.
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) announced the escalated job action on Tuesday morning.
“If an agreement is not reached, members will participate in full withdrawals of service the week of Feb. 24,” a news release issued by the education union reads.
Within the Greater Toronto Area, the rotating strikes will impact students in the Toronto Catholic District School Board on Monday, the Durham Catholic District School Board on Tuesday, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board on Thursday and York Catholic District School Board and Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board on Friday.
Here is a full list of one-day strikes happening next week:
These walkouts will follow all of Ontario’s 200,000 public school teachers and education workers striking in unison for one day on Friday.
The four major education unions have all been individually holding rolling one-day strikes for weeks now, but Friday’s strike comes as talks with the province’s government have thus far failed to result in any meaningful progress on core demands brought forward by union leaders.
Liz Stuart, the president of OECTA, said “teachers and education workers across the province are united, and the public are firmly behind us.”
“Everyone is saying we do not support the Ford government’s destructive agenda for publicly funded education, and everyone knows the solution is for the government to back away from their reckless cuts and come up with a real plan to reach a fair agreement.”
“But, the government still is not listening. All we can do is continue to demonstrate our determination and solidarity.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said his objective “has always been to reach deals with education labour partners.”
“Students belong in class,” he said. “The government has demonstrated our commitment to reaching a deal by affirming our commitment to maintaining all-day kindergarten, investing in special education needs and keeping classroom sizes low.”
OECTA members last walked off the job on Jan. 21 and Feb. 4. As well, the union said they have been taking administrative job action since Jan. 13.
A member of the OECTA’s provincial bargaining team is expected to meet with representatives of the government and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association on Wednesday “to continue negotiations,” the news release said.
Lecce said he is “pleased” the mediator has called all parties back to the negotiating table.