ETFO Bluewater locals to stage one-day strike on Wednesday December 19

TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - Bluewater public elementary teachers and occasional teachers will stage a one-day strike this Wednesday December 19 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."

"Teachers are extremely angry and disappointed at the use of such draconian legislation. That is why our members voted overwhelmingly for strike action this fall," said Nancy Lawler, president of Bluewater Teacher Local. "We have been forced into this situation by an education minister intent on destroying our fundamental rights to bargain collectively."

"Bill 115 has removed local autonomy from a bargaining process that has been in place for decades," added Marcia Shimoda, president of Bluewater Occasional Teacher Local. "Bill 115's power to take away democratic rights is a concern for everyone in this province, not just teachers. That is why we are taking a stand."

During a vote on September 13, 2012, both locals received overwhelming mandates for strike action from their members. The locals moved into a legal strike position on December 6, 2012. Prior to that, they received no board reports through the conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour to resolve their bargaining impasse with Bluewater 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 Bluewater Teacher Local represents 687 elementary teachers employed by Bluewater District
School Board. The Bluewater Occasional Teacher Local represents 296 Occasional Teachers.

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:

Nancy Lawler, Bluewater Teacher Local President, 519-373-9636, etfoblup@bellnet.ca
Marcia Shimoda, Bluewater Occasional Teacher Local President, 519-708-1111, marcia.shimoda@bmts.com