Board filing application with Ontario Labour Relations Board to end strike

SUDBURY–Rainbow District School Board is asking the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to declare the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) – District 3 strike “unlawful”.

The Board is joining its counterparts in Durham and Peel in filing a joint application to the OLRB on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.   OSSTF – District 3, which represents English public secondary teachers and secondary occasional teachers in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin, has been on strike since Monday, April 27, 2015.

The collective bargaining framework for the education sector, set out in the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014, features a two-tier bargaining process with a central table and local tables. In accordance with the legislation, local strikes must be about local issues.

“We have maintained from the outset that our students and their families are caught in a dispute that is really between OSSTF and the Province,” said Rainbow District School Board Chair Doreen Dewar. “Rainbow District School Board was targeted for strike action by the provincial OSSTF long before local negotiations had even started.”

Rainbow District School Board has posted a “Clarification of statements about strike action” (see attached) on its website in order to provide factual information about negotiations at the local level.

“One of the misconceptions is that the Board is attempting to increase class sizes, limit prep time and freeze salaries and benefits at the local table,” said Chair Dewar. “Those issues are not part of the local negotiation process. They are central issues. We have absolutely no influence over central items at our local table.”

Chair Dewar is calling on the OLRB to hear the joint application that is being submitted by Rainbow District School Board, Durham District School Board and Peel District School Board as quickly as possible.  “We value our students and we value our teachers,” she said. “We want our students and our teachers back in the classroom.”