OECTA to suspend upcoming rotating strikes

Members of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association picket outside (January 21, 2020). (Photo by Maureen Revait)

One of the unions representing Ontario teachers appears to be stepping back from potential strike escalation.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) has announced that its rotating strikes set for next week will be suspended.

The news was confirmed via Twitter by OECTA President Liz Stuart, who announced that the union plans to return to the bargaining table with the province after the weekend.

“The mediator has called the parties back to the table on Monday, February 24, and we have been assured that the discussions will continue to be meaningful,” said Stuart. “As a result, OECTA will be suspending the rotating strikes planned for next week.”

Teachers and education workers represented by OECTA are expected to report to work as scheduled every day next week, with classes at English Catholic schools going ahead as usual, Monday through Friday.

Stuart added that if negotiations should fall through, OECTA will reconsider rotating one-day strikes.

Members of OECTA joined their education counterparts across the province on Friday in a one-day strike, designed to pressure the Ontario government to return to bargaining and agree to reverse planned cuts to education. It was the first time all four unions have been on picket lines on the same day since 1997, when educators protested cuts to education made by the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Mike Harris.

The biggest rally took place in Toronto at Queen’s Park, with thousands of people participating.

The other unions involved were the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), and the AEFO, which represents teachers and education workers at French-language schools.