Rainbow secondary school teachers on strike

High school teachers in Sudbury's English public schools are walking picket lines, joining colleagues in Durham who have been on strike for a week.

Talks between the Rainbow District School Board and OSSTF District 3 have broken down

The NDP got some of its biggest donations from unions, including $1,330 from the Rainbow District branch of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, who are now on strike against the Liberal government. Steelworkers Local 6500 and OPSEU were among the other union donors to the New Democrats. Unifor, which represents hundreds of workers in the Sudbury area, gave $1,330 to the NDP, but donated $9,975 to the Liberals. Sudbury union Ironworkers Local 786 also supported the Liberals to the tune of $9,975. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

High school teachers in Sudbury's English public schools are walking picket lines, joining colleagues in Durham who have been on strike for a week.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 3 said negotiations with the Rainbow District School Board failed to result in an agreement, putting high school teachers and occasional teachers on strike as of Monday, April 27.

"Our teachers would prefer to be in class with their students than on picket lines. But this employer's unwillingness to negotiate in any meaningful way has really left us no option," James Clyke, District 3 President, said in a statement.

"The Board came to the table ready to negotiate and responded to all union proposals. The union chose not to respond and advised the Board, through the mediator, that the parties were at an impasse, they did not see any possibility of progress or a settlement" said Rainbow District School Board Chair Doreen Dewar in a release.

Schools will be closed

"Our students and their families are caught in a dispute that is really between OSSTF and the province. We value our secondary teachers in the classroom and, in the best interest of students, we encourage OSSTF – District 3 to join us in resuming local negotiations as quickly as possible," Dewar added.

As a result of the strike, all instructional programs for students in Grades 9 to 12 are cancelled starting Monday in Rainbow schools. The schools will also be closed to students, including Barrydowne College and the Adult Day School.

The board offered the following information for parents:

  • Buses for secondary students will not operate.
  • Buses will continue their routes for elementary students only.
  • Dual credits will continue at Cambrian College.
  • Programs for Grade 7 and 8 students at Chelmsford Valley District Composite School will continue at Chelmsford Public School.
  • Programs for Grade 7 and 8 students at Lively District Secondary School will continue at Walden Public School.
  • Community use of schools, in the evenings and on weekends, will proceed as scheduled.
  • Students are encouraged to continue their learning through self-directed study.
  • Resources are available through the Rainbow District School Board website.

Bargaining with teachers in Ontario is happening on two levels. Issues such as salary, benefits and class size are being negotiated between the province, the school boards' association and the unions. School boards are also negotiating other issues with their local unions.

"I know parents and students in Sudbury are facing significant ‎disruption as a result of the local teachers' strike, and I encourage the ‎parties to reach negotiated local agreements," said Liz Sandals, Ontario's Education Minister in a statement.

High School teachers with Sudbury's Rainbow District School Board have been striking since April 27. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

"Students and parents affected by the strike should plan for school days to resume and continue to prepare for their final exams or assignments as they normally would."

The Rainbow District School Board has approximately 5,000 secondary school students in 10 schools in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin Island. There are 401 permanent secondary teachers and 125 occasional secondary teachers in Rainbow Schools.

Labour troubles with Ontario's teachers are also growing. Several other union locals have indicated plans to strike in the coming weeks if they can't reach a deal with their school boards.

English public elementary teachers across the province will be in a legal strike position by May 10, and Catholic teachers in Ontario have voted in favour of a strike, but have not yet set a date.


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