ONTARIO – The Ontario public school teachers’ union (along with some elementary school support staff) has served notice that if negotiations with the province fail to resolve in a contract by Tuesday, teachers will hit the picket lines for a one-day strike.
Currently, four of the province’s teachers’ unions are in tense contract negotiations with the province. Teachers have been working without a contract since August 31.
Education minister Stephen Lecce has gone on the record criticizing what he characterized as an escalation of the dispute, claiming the province is being reasonable and that the union’s actions will hurt kids.
For their part, the unions say they are fighting larger class sizes, mandatory online courses for high school students, cuts to some education funding and a law limiting wage increases for public servants to one percent a year for two years.
The one-day strike being planned by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) is expected to take place today, December 4. This would be the first broad-based strike in Ontario schools since 1997, when teachers took to the picket lines to protest cuts by the then-Conservative government of Mike Harris.
While the strike loomed on the horizon at press time Monday, job action was not yet written in stone, as negotiations were slated for Monday and Tuesday.
The Rainbow District School Board advised parents and students to check the board website for up- to-date information on negotiations.