Sudbury school board caught off-guard by protest
Board head says teachers who don't show up for work Friday will not be paid
The premier calls it an illegal strike, the teachers union calls it a political protest — but either way, English public elementary teachers will not be in the classroom Friday.
And local school boards call that disruptive.
Barb Blasutti said she hopes parents will understand why teachers will be protesting instead of teaching on Friday.
"We don't want to inconvenience parents or the students, but we have to do something," said the head of the local union that represents elementary teachers at the Rainbow School district school board.
But unlike the one-day protest before the holidays, this one comes on much shorter notice, catching the board off guard.
‘Can’t go on’
Rainbow School Board director Norm Blaseg said, without enough staff employees to run the schools, it had no choice but to cancel classes.
After being told of the union's plans, staff scrambled Wednesday afternoon to get letters out to parents.
He said he is unhappy the union didn't give 72 hours notice, as it did for job actions late last year.
"We'll be trying to figure out how to bring some resolution to this matter, because it can't go on," Blaseg said.
"It's too disruptive for everyone involved."
He said those resolutions could include some sort of disciplinary action. Blaseg also sais teachers who don't show up for work on Friday will not be paid.
Secondary school teachers to walk out Wednesday
Public elementary school teachers aren't the only ones planning a walkout.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation says it too will stage a day of political protest next Wednesday.
That's if the government has not repealed Bill 115, rescinded the imposed contracts and restored free collective bargaining.
The premier is calling all of the walkouts illegal strikes.
"I feel terrible for the parents and I feel terrible for the students. This is the second disruption in a very short period of time."
Many of the students will now spend Friday at daycare.
Melissa Pitfield from YMCA Sudbury said its 10 in-school daycares will be open all day and parents can also bring their kids to a special day camp at the downtown Y.
She said it stretches their staff fairly thin, but it's worth it.
"I think we just roll with the flow and whatever happens, happens," she said
"And we're here to support the families."
Meanwhile, teachers are planning several pickets across the Sudbury area in an effort to educate the public about their ongoing fight with the province.