OSSTF provincial using Peel students as "pawns in their strategy," says chair

TORONTO, April 21, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Peel District School Board received formal notice from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) of a potential strike on Monday, May 4, 2015. Letters were sent to parents today to communicate that, in the event of a strike, all secondary schools are closed. The Peel board has about 42,000 secondary students in 36 secondary schools.

Notes Janet McDougald, chair of the board, "It is very disappointing that OSSTF provincial has tried so hard to make it seem like this is about local issues. That is deliberately misleading to our parents, students and staff. The fact is, all major monetary items have to be resolved at the provincial table. This is all about putting pressure on the provincial negotiations.

As a board, we are 100 per cent committed to fair negotiations with our unions and federations—including OSSTF. Locally, negotiations were progressing well. We have met six times locally and have more dates set. We are optimistic about local negotiations and willing to work hard to reach a mutually agreeable, negotiated local settlement. No local action was needed to keep us at the table—we are there and want a settlement.

The reality is that this is a provincial strategy with a harshly negative local impact for our students. Our students are being used by OSSTF provincial as pawns in their strategy. That is not fair. That is not right.

Our Peel secondary teachers are dedicated, caring professionals, committed to student success. We know they do not want to jeopardize the school year for our secondary students—especially our graduating students. But this is local action guided by OSSTF at the provincial level. That is unacceptable for us—and for the other six boards chosen by OSSTF provincial for potential "local" action that is really a provincial strategy."

Information, including a parent/student FAQ, will be regularly updated at peelschools.org/labour.

SOURCE Peel District School Board

For further information: Media contact: Janet McDougald, Chair of the Board, janet.mcdougald@peelsb.com, 905-278-1402; Reference: Brian Woodland, Director of Communications & Community Relations Support Services, brian.woodland@peelsb.com, 905-890-1010 ext. 2812

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