Public elementary teachers in legal strike position May 10

The following is an email sent to parents today from Jennifer Adams,  Director of Education for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board.

I wanted to make you aware of some important changes regarding the status of labour negotiations with elementary teachers. Effective Sunday, May 10, 2015, all elementary teachers in the province of Ontario will be in a legal strike position. This includes elementary teachers and occasional teachers with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. A strike may include any labour action including work to rule or partial withdrawal of service, up to and including a full withdrawal of service.

While the union will be in a legal strike position as of May 10th, a strike cannot happen unless the union provides five days’ advance notice. For example, this means that the union would have to advise of strike action by May 6thin order to implement any kind of strike action on Monday, May 11th. We are committed to keeping you informed and will communicate with you immediately, if and when we become aware that strike notice has been provided.

There are some important differences between the elementary and secondary teachers’ potential strike action. At the elementary level, the union is in a legal strike position with respect to ‘central bargaining’‎. The school district does not sit at the central bargaining table; all Ontario school districts are represented by the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA) and the government of Ontario. At the local level, the school district is continuing to meet with our elementary teachers and occasional teachers; however this is separate from the ‘central table’ negotiations.

We understand that the potential for labour disruption can create anxiety for our students, parents and staff. We want to assure you that we will be communicating regularly with parents and students to provide you with as much information as possible, as early as possible so that you can plan accordingly. Decisions about the impact on school operations will depend on the nature of any strike action. All decisions will be based on student safety. For example, in the event of a full withdrawal of service, it is likely that all elementary classes would be cancelled. More detailed information will be shared if and when strike notice is provided. At the present time, regular school operations continue.

More information about labour relations is posted on the District website and to the OCDSB’s Facebook and Twitter accounts (@ocdsb). This information is updated regularly. Schools will also be communicating directly with their school community. If you have questions, please feel free to contact your school principal or e-mail us at chat@ocdsb.ca.

Yours sincerely,

Jennifer Adams
Director of Education/Secretary of the Board


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