Toronto

Ontario Catholic teachers' union launches site ahead of possible strike

Ontario's English Catholic School Teachers’ Association (OECTA) has launched a website to inform parents about the issues at stake in upcoming negotiations with the province.

Parents 'deserve to know what's at stake' in upcoming negotiations, union head says

Ann Hawkins, president of the Ontario's English Catholic School Teachers’ Association, says she hopes teachersmatter.ca will "help parents understand that there's more at stake here than a labour disruption."

Ontario's English Catholic School Teachers' Association (OECTA) has launched a website to inform parents about the issues at stake in upcoming negotiations with the province.

The two sides will face off on Wednesday and Thursday.

OECTA, which represents some 50,000 teachers, says there has been little progress on key issues that would affect students' learning conditions. Its members voted 94 per cent for a strike mandate in April and they will be in legal strike position on Aug. 17.

"We hope that teachersmatter.ca will help parents understand that there's more at stake here than a labour disruption," OECTA president Ann Hawkins said in a statement today. "We all want to reach a deal, but not at any cost to public education."

Several major teachers' unions have listed class sizes, control over teacher preparation time and hiring practices as sticking points in negotiations.

They have raised the possibility of September strikes, which could make for a tense summer of bargaining.

At the end of the last school year, Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) teachers in Durham and Peel Regions launched a weeks-long strike before they were forced back to work by a ruling from the Ontario Labour Relations Board, as well as back-to-work legislation passed by the provincial government.

On Tuesday, OSSTF said it would return to the bargaining table on August 18 and 19.

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