Local public high school teachers have received a no-board report from a provincial conciliator, meaning they will in a legal position to strike on Nov. 19.
Chantal Mancini, president of the Ontario Secondary Teachers Federation (OSSTF) district 21 teachers bargaining unit, said Wednesday she does not know how her local will proceed.
Its next move will depend significantly on negotiations taking place between the provincial OSSTF and the Ontario government, she said.
“We are still open, of course, to going back to the table [with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board], but right now everything's on hold because of the provincial negotiations.”
The provincial OSSTF had instructed its members from other boards who are in a legal strike position to boycott what it called “administrative” duties — like taking attendance and filing progress reports — on Wednesday, but decided just before midnight Sunday to delay the sanctions.
The Ontario teachers unions and the Ministry of Education reached an impasse earlier this year as the government pushed for a framework deal. Points of contention included a two-year wage freeze, grid movement and a reduction in sick days.
While the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) signed the framework agreement, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and OSSTF declined.
The province then passed Bill 115, giving it the ability to intervene in the event of a strike.
Critics say this provision represents a major threat to teachers' collective bargaining rights.
HWDSB chair Tim Simmons said he's hopeful talks with local teachers will lead to a resolution.
“We're still talking with the local OSSTF,” he said, adding he could not comment on the specifics of the negotiations.
“The board's focus continues to be on maintaining a safe and positive learning environment."
“We're hopeful that the talks between the province and the OSSTF come to a positive resolution, as well.”
Local public elementary teachers filed for a conciliator on Oct. 19 but has not yet requested a no-board report.
With files from Samantha Craggs and The Canadian Press