ETFO Upper Canada Locals to Stage One-Day Strike on Thursday December 20

TORONTO, Dec. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Upper Canada public elementary teachers and occasional teachers will stage a one-day strike this Thursday December 20 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."

"Given the rigid parameters of Bill 115, the minister has left us no other option but to send her a message via strike action," said Marg Merpaw, president of Upper Canada Teacher Local. "We are calling on the Minister to restore local autonomy and stop destroying a bargaining process that has worked for decades."

"It is unconscionable that a government would use a draconian law like Bill 115 to sweep away the democratic rights of our members," added Diane Dewing, president of Upper Canada Occasional Teacher Local. "Right from the start, the minister took a 'take it or leave it approach' to talks. That's not bargaining, that's an abuse of power that all Ontarians should be concerned about."

During a vote on October 4, 2012, the locals received overwhelming mandates for strike action from their members. The locals moved into a legal strike position on December 13, 2012. Prior to that, they received no board reports through the conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour to resolve their bargaining impasse with Upper Canada 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 Upper Canada Teacher Local represents 1,098 elementary teachers employed by Upper Canada District School Board. The Upper Canada Occasional Teacher Local represents 581 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:

Marg Merpaw, Upper Canada Teacher Local President, 613-345-4893, mmmerpaw@ripnet.com

Diane Dewing, Upper Canada Occasional Teacher Local President, 613-291-3147, ddewing@cogeco.ca

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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