OSSTF threatens job action if no deal between union, TDSB

Toronto members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation are threatening job action on November 4 if a deal is not reached with the Toronto District School Board by then.

Teachers “will initiate a selective withdrawal of services,” union says

Members of the OSSTF, ETFO and other teacher groups rally outside the constituency office of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in Toronto on May 8, 2015. (Stephanie Matteis/CBC)

Toronto members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation are threatening job action on November 4 if a deal is not reached with the Toronto District School Board by then.

Teachers in district 12 (Toronto) "will initiate a selective withdrawal of services," according to a statement issued Friday by the union.

Those services are primarily administrative tasks that are designed to have minimal impact on students but put maximum pressure on administration, Doug Jolliffe, president of OSSTF's district 12, told the CBC's Mike Crawley.

For example, teachers will not participate in staff meetings or fill in for absent colleagues, Jolliffe said. They will, however, continue to volunteer for extra-curricular activities and to provide marks and report cards.

The key issue in bargaining between the union and the board is health and safety, Jolliffe said.

The OSSTF ratified its deal with the province one month ago, but that deal hinges on the union locals reaching separate deals with their school boards. Jolliffe said that there have only been two days of local bargaining since the main deal was ratified.

Talks are scheduled to resume next Thursday, he said.

The TDSB responded to the OSSTF's threat by saying it hopes to have a deal in place soon.

"It's our hope that an agreement can be reached in the very near future so that there is no impact to our students and schools," TDSB communications officer Ryan Bird told CBC News.

The news comes on the same day that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne threatened to dock the pay of the province's elementary school teachers and some support staff that are currently engaging in their own work-to-rule campaigns.

Wynne said Friday that unions will receive five days' notice that the terms of their employment could be changed after November 1 if a new deal isn't in place, or the job action continues while talks go on. The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), support staff with the OSSTF, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) do not have contracts. Some have taken job action.


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