BROCKVILLE, ON, Feb. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - As an Ontario Labour Relations
Board (OLRB) hearing co-initiated by Upper Canada District School Board
(UCDSB) finished its eighth day, Elementary Teachers' Federation of
Ontario (ETFO) Upper Canada local President Marg Merpaw expressed
concern about plummeting teacher morale.
"Teacher morale has been a long-standing concern in UCDSB and is
currently at an all-time low. It's a problem the school board is aware
of but has chosen to ignore for many years," said President Merpaw.
President Merpaw cites long term disability statistics showing Upper
Canada elementary teachers taking medical leaves for depression, stress
and other nervous disorders at a rate almost sixty percent higher than
the provincial average for teachers. Merpaw attributes this abnormally
high rate to the heavy-handed management style of some senior board
staff members - a style encouraged and replicated in many schools.
"Filing this OLRB application is just one more example of the
belligerent management style that is characteristic of UCDSB," said
President Merpaw. "There are 31 public school boards in this province
and 29 of them are approaching labour relations in more constructive
ways during this challenging time. But, unfortunately, the UCDSB has
taken a different approach."
"I have been contacted by many of my members, and they are angry and
frustrated with their employer's actions," stated President Merpaw.
"This school board was vocal in its opposition to the coercive manner
that contracts were imposed by the government, yet it had no hesitation
in replicating that approach against its own teachers. Teachers are
also very concerned that the school board has chosen to redirect
hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for students' education and
classroom resources into legal fees for this OLRB complaint."
"If this board thinks taking ETFO to the OLRB is the way to build
bridges with its elementary teachers," continued President Merpaw, "it
has made a serious miscalculation."
ETFO Upper Canada Teacher Local represents 1,098 elementary teachers
employed by Upper Canada District School Board.
SOURCE: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
For further information:
Marg Merpaw, Upper Canada Teacher Local President