Public board wants return to bargaining table
High school teachers to resume job action Dec. 10, union announces
Posted: Dec 4, 2012 6:20 AM ET
Last Updated: Dec 4, 2012 9:37 AM ET
The head of Ottawa's public school board said the board is prepared to go back to the original labour deal negotiated with local high school teachers and resend it to the province.
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and the local bargaining unit of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation had reached a tentative agreement last week and had sent it to the Ministry of Education for approval.
But in an email sent Sunday to teachers, the union said the ministry returned the agreement with language that was not part of the negotiated contract.
The changed language, which was not specified in the email, rendered the tentative agreement null and void.
As a result, the teachers' union said Monday "all voluntary extracurricular activities will cease as of Dec. 10" for its 60,000 members across the province, which also includes elementary school support staff.
'A lot going on' across province: McKenzie
OCDSB chairwoman Jennifer McKenzie said the changes the Ministry made were not substantial, according to her understanding from board staff.
"We would be willing to put the original agreement back on the table," said McKenzie.
McKenzie would not say whether such an agreement would meet with provincial approval or whether the union would agree to resend the original agreement.
"There's a lot going on across the province, so it’s difficult to say what they would do," she said.
Ratifications of tentative agreements suspended
The OSSTF cut off talks last week after teachers rejected local agreements with two school boards. Ratification votes for any other tentative agreements have been suspended until further notice.
Education Minister Laurel Broten argued Monday there had been no interference in local bargaining. She told reporters the unions for elementary and high school teachers should call off the strikes.
Broten accused the union of seeking conflict instead of resolving outstanding issues before Dec. 31, the deadline for boards and unions to agree on new deals across Ontario.
"The actions by the teachers' union leadership show clearly that this was never about bargaining locally and finding solutions," said Broten.
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