Hamilton public high school teachers begin job action
Public high school teachers in Hamilton started job action on Monday, just three days after voting down a tentative agreement their union reached with the school board.
The teachers are expected to adopt the work sanctions that have been prescribed by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), which include refusing to attend staff meetings, participate in field trips, complete ministry reports and correspond with parents outside of school hours.
The OSSTF website says the federation won't make any official comment "until Monday’s OSSTF/FEESO meeting with its leaders." A press conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. today following the meeting.
The job action does not affect teachers' daily classroom teaching duties, and classes are still in session.
"Our teachers are still teaching and our students are still learning," said Tim Simmons, chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. "We're trying to maintain a business-as-usual atmosphere in the classroom."
In a vote on Friday, both the full-time and occasional bargaining units did not ratify their tentative collective agreements. A news release from the union did not indicate how many teachers voted or the margin by which the vote failed to pass.
"We understand that our secondary school teachers did not ratify the tentative collective agreement," said John Malloy, director of education, in a statement released Friday. "We will try to minimize the job action's impact on students and families."
The president of the local bargaining unit for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation did not respond to requests from CBC News for comment.
Public high school teachers in Hamilton were to commence work-to-rule measures on Nov. 19, but the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and the local bargaining unit reached a last-minute deal.
Province may use 'tools' to deal will strikes
Teachers across the province have been in negotiations with their respective school boards, while most of the provincial teacher unions have been in on-and-off talks with the Ontario government.
A major point of contention is the provincial Bill 115, which freezes teachers' pay, pares back benefits and expands the government's ability to crack down on strikes.
Ontario education minister Laurel Broten said Thursday that the government would, "continue to negotiate until we reach agreements or we will use the tools available to us.
"We do not want students in the middle."