One-day teacher strikes to hit northeastern Ontario boards Monday
Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten addresses a news conference in Toronto, Monday, April 9, 2012. (Colin Perkel / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 5, 2012 6:19PM EST
TORONTO -- Elementary school teachers in northeastern Ontario say they'll be staging a one-day strike next Monday.
The teachers will be in a legal strike position on Friday and say they have exhausted their options at the bargaining table following no board reports through a conciliator.
Union spokeswoman Monica Rusnak says the provincial government's Bill 115 set out such restrictive parameters that it left no room to achieve a fair collective agreement.
The union says the strike is to protest the legislation that allows Education Minister Laurel Broten to stop strikes by teachers and lockouts, and impose a collective agreement.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 299 elementary teachers and 140 occasional teachers employed by Ontario North East District School Board in communities such as Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Iroquois Falls.
The union says a solid majority of elementary teachers across Ontario have voted in favour of a one-day political protest in the event that Broten uses the provisions of Bill 115 to shut down strikes or impose a collective agreement.
Ninety-two per cent of more than 46,000 members who cast a ballot during an online vote earlier this week voted in favour of a one-day political protest, the union said.
"This vote affirms once again that it is our members who determine their actions through democratic processes, contrary to Minister Broten's derogatory comments about union leaders this week," ETFO president Sam Hammond said in a release.
"It is unfortunate that her government crafted a law that allows no judicial appeal in the provincial courts -- a tactic rarely if ever used in democracies," Hammond said.
"Our members have been left with little recourse but to choose a political protest."
North East Occasional Teacher Local president David Livingston said the decision to strike on Monday was not made lightly.
"For the first time in our 14-year history, Ontario North East ETFO members will be forced to take full-scale job action," Livingston said.