SOUTH DUNDAS – Secondary school teachers with the Upper Canada District School Board will be off the job for one day next week. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation has served the provincial government notice that its 60,000 members will hold a one-day strike on December 4th across Ontario.
This is the latest escalation in contract talks between the Ontario government and the union. OSSTF members have been a legal strike position since the beginning of the week and started a limited work-to-rule campaign on November 26th.
“This week we began a job action carefully devised to have no impact on students,” said OSSTF president Harvey Bischof on Thursday. “It’s clear from these past two days of bargaining, however, that our action is having no impact on the tone or substance of negotiations.”
“Strikes hurt kids. Our Government has been clear, we want deals that keep students in class,” said Minister of Education Stephen Leece. “For teacher unions to leave the table, to turn their back on our children, and to escalate to the point of compromising their education, is deeply troubling for parents and our Government.”
The union and the province appear far apart in negotiations. OSSTF are calling government reductions in increased class sizes and online courses unacceptable, while Leece says the wage increases the union has asked for are too much. Negotiations continue.
Officials with the UCDSB announced Friday evening that there will be no classes for Grade 9-12 students and no extracurricular activities on December 4th. Classes for Grade 7 and 8 students who attend the UCDSB’s Grades 7-12 intermediate/secondary schools like Seaway District High School will not be affected by the labour action.