TORONTO, Dec. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Limestone 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."
"We are having to take strike action because this government has refused to listen to anyone except their own voices for a long time," said Mike Lumb, president of the Limestone Teacher Local. "By taking away local autonomy and imposing Bill 115, the minister has severely impeded our goal of fair and respectful talks with our board."
"As difficult and inconvenient as a strike may be, the minister can't abolish our democratic rights and expect things to be business as usual," added Ken Gee, president of Limestone Occasional Teacher Local. "Bill 115 is an unprecedented attack on the rights of educators. We're taking a stand so that it doesn't happen to others."
During a vote on September 18, 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 Limestone District School Board.
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 Limestone Teacher Local represents 826 elementary teachers employed by Limestone District School Board. The Limestone Occasional Teacher Local represents 285 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
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