News Local

Secondary teachers' job action starts Thursday

Cheryl Browne

By Cheryl Browne, Barrie Examiner

Although teachers' contract negotiations were underway this week, the union has threatened job action beginning Thursday.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) sent notice of strike action slated to begin Nov. 12 to the Simcoe County District School Board last Friday.

But board spokeswoman, Melanie Slade Morrison, said board staff and union negotiators have been meeting every day this week in an effort to negotiate a deal at board level after OSSTF reached a tentative agreement with the province Aug. 20.

“We're working at this point to reach fair and negotiated settlements,” Slade Morrison said Wednesday afternoon.

The board has been meeting with OSSTF District 17 union bargaining members since March 2015.

While provincial negotiations focus on contract matters relating to salary and other forms of remuneration, the local talks are based on operational and procedural aspects, she said.

“We can't speak to specifics but it's about working conditions and operational items. Things that are unique to local boards,” she said.

Slade Morrison said she believes Thursday's job action would be of an administrative nature, for example, with school teachers refusing to participate in staff meetings.

“At this point, I don't believe it's anything that would impact the students,” she said.

OSSTF officials were not available for comment.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario recently reached a tentative agreement with the province and has agreed to suspend job action while that ratification takes place.