Local OSSTF members poised to begin job sanctions

HEATHER BOA Bullet News SEAFORTH – About 1,600 unionized teachers, educational assistants and office, clerical and technical staff in the Avon Maitland District are expected to start job sanction Nov. 18, even as the union and the board negotiate this evening.

Other Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) districts across the province began job sanctions last week, however District 8, which includes public high schools in Huron and Perth counties, are not in a legal strike position until tomorrow, Nov. 19. At that time, teachers have been directed by their union to continue classroom instruction, prepare courses and mark tests and papers. However, they will not attend meetings or professional development days, take part in any Ministry of Education initiatives, maintain websites or distribute board material.

The local school board has developed a contingency plan to keep schools open.

“Please note that The Avon Maitland District School Board is committed to keeping its schools functioning as normally as possible in the event of any job sanctions and to maintain a safe school environment for our students,” wrote Steve Howe, the board’s communications manager, in an email to media late last week. Staff from the board office along with retired administrators, are expected to fill in for tasks like on calls and supervision.

Jeff Denys, who is president of OSSTF District 8, has maintained that union members would prefer to reach a deal with the board. He said the two parties are meeting off-site in negotiations.

To find out more information from the school board, please visit its special webpage, which will be updated as necessary.

For complete information on the sanctions for teachers, occasional teachers and support staff, please visit the OSSTF’s website.

The provincial government has introduced Bill 115, Putting Students First Act, which imposes compensation restraints for school board employees in the education system, whether they are union or contract employees. It instructs school boards and local bargaining units of teachers and support staff to negotiate contracts that reflect a zero wage increase for the next two years and cuts to benefits.

The government says compensation restraints will protect full-day kindergarten, smaller class sizes, and the classroom experience.

Written by on November 18, 2012 in Communities, Public School - No comments

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About the Author

Heather has spent most of her career in local journalism and communications. She moved to Huron County more than two decades ago to join the newsroom at the Goderich Signal-Star, reporting local council and community news. Since then, she had been editor at the Walkerton Herald Times, city editor at the award-winning Observer in Sarnia, and freelance writer for the Hamilton Spectator and the London Free Press. She developed a local network with local government and businesses while working for Heritage and Cultural Partnership. She also worked with municipal and provincial governments in her role as communications manager for a wind energy development company. She has been active in the local community, most recently volunteering time to Habitat for Humanity Huron County. Heather graduated from Ryerson with a Bachelor of Applied Arts, Journalism.