ETFO Durham locals to stage one-day strike on Tuesday December 18

TORONTO, Dec. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Durham public elementary teachers, occasional teachers, and designated early childhood educators (DECEs) will stage a one-day strike this Tuesday December 18 to continue sending the government a message that Bill 115 is severely impeding local collective bargaining.

"To date, the education minister has yet to do anything to assist local school boards in pursuing fair and respectful negotiations with our members," said Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO). "She can end the chaos she has created by repealing Bill 115 and letting local bargaining proceed without interference."

"Our members are going to take a pause in hopes that the minister will rethink her approach, which is having such a destructive effect," said Gerard O'Neill, president of the Durham Teacher Local. "She needs to restore local autonomy so that the school board and our local can get on with the business of deciding what's best for our classrooms."

"Our members are appalled that this government is using a big stick called Bill 115 instead of allowing fair and respectful discussions at the local level," added George Taylor, president of Durham Occasional Teacher Local.

"We're taking a stand for our members and all working people. If our rights can be taken away without having the opportunity to reach our first collective agreement locally, then Ontarians have to ask themselves who is next," said Rayna Barrese, president of the Durham DECE Local.

During a vote on September 19, 2012, the locals received overwhelming mandates for strike action from their members. The locals moved into a legal strike position on December 10, 2012. Prior to that, they received no board reports through the conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour to resolve their bargaining impasse with Durham District School Board. 

Fast Facts:

ETFO is the professional and protective organization representing over 76,000 teachers, occasional teachers, and education professionals employed in the public elementary schools of Ontario.

ETFO Durham Teacher Local represents 2,869 elementary teachers employed by Durham District School Board. The Durham Occasional Teacher Local represents 763 Occasional Teachers and the DECE Local represents 167 DECEs.

Collective agreements for all ETFO locals expired on August 31, 2012.  Since then, ETFO members have been working without collective agreements in place.   

SOURCE: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information:

Gerard O'Neill, Durham Teacher Local, 905-447-8204, lioneldrager@hotmail.com
George Taylor, Durham Occasional Teacher Local, 905-404-0411, president@etfodotl.com
Rayna Barrese, Durham DECE Local, 289-356-5302, raynabarrese@gmail.com