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OSSTF to pause rotating strikes until March 27

The union says they will be increasing withdrawal of administrative services
2020-03-05 Orillia teachers strike 3
Jen Hare, District 17 bargaining unit president with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, addresses the crowd. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

NEWS RELEASE
ONTARIO SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHES' FEDERATION
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OSSTF/FEESO to pause rotating strikes, increase limited withdrawal of administrative services

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) will pause all full withdrawal of service job actions beginning next week. The pause in rotating strikes will continue through to March 27.

“Our intent has always been to minimize the impact our labour actions have on students,” said OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof. “With so many student events planned around and during March Break, we feel that a pause in our strike actions is appropriate at this time.”

In addition, beginning Monday, March 9, OSSTF/FEESO members will expand their limited withdrawal of administrative services in schools and worksites.

That limited withdrawal of services has been in place since November 26. The expanded sanctions will have a minimal impact on the learning environment, while continuing to draw attention to the government’s cuts to education and the lack of progress in bargaining.

“The Minister’s latest vague proposal to fund class size averages at 23:1 will still result in significant challenges for students,” said Bischof. “We already see overcrowded classrooms and disappearing courses—often courses students need in order to graduate. This proposal does nothing to address those serious problems, all of which have come about thanks to the Ford government’s short-sighted policies.”

“Furthermore, the proposed partial restoration of the Local Priorities Fund will not restore the hundreds of education worker jobs cut by this government anytime soon. These workers provided vital support services to high-needs students, supports that many students are missing this year.”

“We urge the Minister of Education to abandon his habitual tactic of bargaining via press conference and direct his negotiating team to return to the table. Parents, students and educators want the Minister to engage in real, good-faith negotiations. Bargaining proposals need to be brought to the bargaining table, where they can be meaningfully discussed, not proclaimed from a podium,” Bischof concluded.

OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has over 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.

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