OSSTF plan more strikes in Huron and Perth on Thursday

Protest flag at a rally by OSSTF members. Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.

Members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation in Huron and Perth County will be withdrawing their services on Thursday.

District 8 OSSTF President Shane Restall said around  1,000 educational support staff, teachers, occasional teachers, and professional student services personnel will picket in front of Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson’s office in Blyth, at the Avon Maitland District School Board Education Centre in Seaforth and at Market Square in Stratford.

Restall said part of their action tomorrow will involve delivering letters to local MPPs.

“So we have these letters, which we wanted to deliver in-person to Lisa Thompson and to Randy Pettapiece, however, they didn’t want to meet with us,” he said. “So, we’re going to deliver those letters during our walk out tomorrow.”

Restall added OSSTF members in Huron and Perth have only walked out three times since December 4, so most of the time, very little has changed for the students.

One of the sticking points in negotiations with elementary teachers has been the claim by the government that boards are required to consider union seniority over skill when hiring teachers.

“Regulation 274 says, while the top five people for seniority have to be interviewed, they’re qualified people who are interviewed and the board and the principle select who is the best candidate from the LTO roster.”

Restall said members are also concerned about the possibility of the government passing back-to-work legislation when they resume sitting next Tuesday. He said teachers want a negotiated contract that works for everyone and he believes it would be very sad if the government used back-to-work legislation to get a contract.