Catholic teachers union latest to announce job action

An empty classroom. February 22, 2017. (Photo by Wokandapix from Pixabay)

On the day of the latest one-day walkout by members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, the union that represents Catholic teachers has announced it will start an administrative job action on Monday.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association said Catholic elementary and secondary school teachers would stop preparing report cards, taking part in activities related to EQAO testing, or participating in Ministry of Education initiatives.

Photo of Liz Stuart courtesy of OECTA.

Photo of Liz Stuart courtesy of OECTA.

The announcement comes ahead of scheduled bargaining Thursday and Friday.

“It is never too late to do the right thing,” said OECTA President Liz Stuart. “As we go back to the bargaining table this week, Catholic teachers call on the government to abandon their preoccupation with slashing spending, recognize that publicly-funded education is an investment, and finally get serious about working toward an agreement.”

Members of the union voted 97.1 per cent in November of strike action if needed.

“We have not taken this decision lightly,” explained Stuart. “We believe it is necessary to secure a fair contract and protect publicly-funded education in Ontario.”

A release from the union said the job action would continue until the two sides reach a tentative contract.

“We have been doing our part to negotiate an agreement, including meeting almost 40 times with the government and school board trustees. However, the Ford government has been disorganized and disrespectful throughout the process,” continued Stuart. “They continue to insist on an agreement that includes significant cuts.”

If the government refuses to change its position, Stuart said a further strike action, including a full withdrawal of services, could be coming.

“We know Minister Lecce and other members of the government will trot out their misleading talking points about union escalation, but the reality is, this type of widespread strike action is rare,” Stuart said.