Sudbury

Premier Wynne greeted by striking teachers on Sudbury visit

Premier Kathleen Wynne addressed a room full of municipal leaders in Sudbury Thursday morning, while one of the major issues facing her government sparked a protest outside on the sidewalk.

Wynne recognizes teachers' right to strike, says education system has to fit economic realities

Some 250 striking English public high school teachers rally outside a Sudbury hotel where Premier Kathleen Wynne was speaking this morning. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Premier Kathleen Wynne addressed a room full of municipal leaders in Sudbury Thursday morning, while one of the major issues facing her government sparked a protest outside on the sidewalk.

Some 250 striking English public high school teachers rallied outside the Holiday Inn during Wynne's speech, urging her to help advance their negotiations with the Rainbow District School Board, so they can get back to the classroom.

"Let's go Wynne, negotiate! Let's go Wynne," they chanted.

James Clyke, the president of the local branch of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, said the talks with the board have come to a halt.

"What we're trying to do is bring some attention to that and we thought coming here and putting some pressure on the premier might break some of that," he said, adding that the union has made an array of proposals to the local school board, but hasn't received a response.

Clyke said he met with Wynne before her speech at the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities conference. So too did a handful of striking teachers, who also identified themselves as Wynne supporters.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, flanked by northern MPPs Michael Gravelle and Glenn Thibeault, speaks to reporters in Sudbury Thursday morning. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC )

R.J. Zadow-Roy left the protest to take her picture with the premier.

"She rolled down her window. I said 'I believe in you or we believe in you,' she goes 'We believe in you and we're hoping to get it settled,'" she said.

Inside the hotel, speaking to mayors and municipal councillors from across the region, Wynne said she too wants to see an end to the labour strife in Ontario schools. She added, she isn't sure how long that will take, especially as there is no new money for public sector increases.

 "We are committed to reaching a negotiated settlement," she said.

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