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High school teachers’ protest cancelled for Jan. 16

The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board has received written confirmation from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation – District 29 that the planned one-day political protest scheduled for Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at local secondary schools is cancelled.

This decision is based on the recent Ontario Labour Relations Board ruling related to the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. As a result, all Hastings and Prince Edward secondary schools will be open to students on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.

Jan 9 – Ontario’s 60,000 high school teachers will walk off the job in a one-day protest Wednesday, Jan. 16 unless the government repeals Bill 115 and restores collective bargaining by that time.

Following the announcement Wednesday that the 76,000 member Elementary Teachers’ Federation scheduled its one day protest for Friday, Premier Dalton McGuinty warned they would be participating in an illegal strike and that it is the government’s expectation that teachers would be in school Friday “in keeping with their employment obligations.”

The government is to go to the Ontario Labour Relations Board with an application to prevent the action.

“The premier’s statements late this afternoon finally acknowledge that the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the Ontario Labour Relations Act are the appropriate avenues for dealing with labour disputes and collective bargaining issues,” said Ken Coran, OSSTF President. “We hope his government will follow this up with the appropriate meetings to resolve the current labour situation.”

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) bargaining unit presidents attended an all-day meeting in Toronto Wednesday to discuss actions members will take “to protest the government’s imposition of working conditions and the loss of the democratic right to freely bargain collective agreements with employers,” said  Coran.

Education Minister Laurel Broten said she will ask the Ontario Labour Relations board to review the OSSTF plan and seek a “cease and desist” order.

“It is regrettable that the provincial government has chosen to continue down this path and not respect the rights of education workers,” said Coran in a media release. “OSSTF/FEESO members have told their local and provincial leadership that should the Minister of Education impose working conditions on them, removing their ability to have the union engage in free collective bargaining on their behalf, that they would refuse to engage in voluntary and extracurricular activities. They further voted in favour of a day of action in protest.”

Decisions were made by OSSTF/FEESO’s bargaining unit leaders at Wednesday’s meeting to:

–    support the withholding of voluntary and extracurricular activities

–    schedule a day of political protest for Wednesday, January 16, 2013, to be held if the government has not repealed Bill 115, rescinded the Order in Council that imposed the OECTA MoU and restored free collective bargaining by that date. The political protest will be held locally and will include picketing at Liberal and Tory MPP offices where possible or at local school board offices.

–    replace participation in voluntary or extra-curricular activities, by engaging in a public education campaign highlighting the loss of the right to free collective bargaining and the loss of democracy and its implications for all Ontarians.

–    reconvene a meeting of local Bargaining Unit Presidents to discuss next steps after the Ontario Liberal Leadership Convention or earlier, if government actions warrant it.

“OSSTF/FEESO is willing to meet with the Minister of Education at any time to discuss the reinstatement of collective bargaining rights or to meet with the new premier to discuss any changes in approach to bargaining should the current minister be unwilling,” said Coran.

The OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.

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  1. End the Madness says:

    private (spoiled rich kids, whose parents can’t deal with them) and catholic schools (behaviour issues, etc)have as many undesirables as public schools.

  2. Ian says:

    @robert:

    I read the same article.

    Those parents are in for a shock. Private and Catholic schools have the right to refuse students for any reason. Public schools do not have that option.

    I know of a lot of parents who, after being mad at their public school, pulled them out and enrolled them in a denominational or private school, only to have to re-apply to the public school a few months later because their student was deemed to be “unfit”.

    The only advantage of sending a child to a private school is that they have better classmates; not better teachers.

    Many parents, who complain about the public school system, may be surprised to know that they, and their children, aren’t welcome in private and denominational schools.

  3. robert says:

    I was reading last night in the globe that many parents are considering transfering their children to private and catholic schools

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