TORONTO – A looming province-wide teachers strike is generating votes in favour of a strike from the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.
Results have been tallied in a province-wide strike vote held April 23-24, 2015, and members of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) have provided their union with a strong strike vote mandate of 94.2%.
“OECTA members have clearly expressed their opinion of the trustees’ and the government’s position at the bargaining table with this strike vote,” says James Ryan, president of OECTA. “Our teachers know that what has been proposed goes far beyond demands for a wage freeze. The employer side is using the economy as the excuse to take back everything OECTA has gained in bargaining, locally and provincially, for decades. This includes provisions that recognize teachers’ professional judgment and fair hiring practices.”
“Our members know they must take a stand against such proposals that also threaten students’ learning conditions,” says Ryan. There is absolutely nothing that justifies the employers’ demands. OECTA members will not tolerate what can only be characterized as contract stripping.”
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association stated in a media statement:
This is not about the austerity agenda. The initial proposal includes provisions, many of which are non-monetary, that eradicate the most fundamental of teachers’ rights. The government is using the provincial deficit as a smokescreen to allow school boards to take equitable, long-standing rights away from teachers.
This is about control. The conditions of the proposal, as it now stands, are unreasonable by any standard and are totally unacceptable to OECTA members. Members will not accept a proposal that would give school boards free rein to dictate teachers’ working conditions, eradicate their professional autonomy, and block their ability to properly meet the needs of their students.
OECTA hopes the employer side takes this strike mandate seriously and returns to the bargaining table prepared to engage in meaningful negotiations. Although the bargaining process will be a complicated one, OECTA remains committed to the publicly funded education system in this province.