(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was sent to parents in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board today. In a press release issued on Wednesday, the teachers’ union said that teachers in the Durham region would be the first group to strike if an agreement hasn’t been reached.)
Dear Parents/Guardians of Elementary School Students:
You may have heard about the possibility of labour disruption at the OCDSB. I want to reassure you that this is currently an issue affecting secondary schools, not elementary schools.
The collective agreements for all unionized school board employees in Ontario, including teachers, occasional teachers and support staff expired on August 31, 2014. Currently, none of our bargaining units is in a legal strike position; however the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) representing secondary school teachers and secondary occasional teachers will be in a legal strike position on April 19, 2015.
The OCDSB is committed to negotiating in good faith in order to reach fair and fully funded collective agreements with all its employee groups. Negotiations with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and other employee groups are underway. At this time, those discussions are continuing and there is no immediate risk of labour disruption.
We understand that the potential for labour disruption can create anxiety for our students, parents and staff. That’s why we wanted to clarify that at this time, there is no immediate risk of labour disruption in elementary schools. We want to assure you that we will be communicating regularly with parents and students to ensure that you have as much information as possible, so that you can make informed decisions and undertake any long range planning.
More information about labour relations is posted on the District website and to the OCDSB’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that there is no immediate risk of labour disruption at elementary schools. We are committed to providing safe and caring learning environments and ensuring parents and students are kept informed as soon as information becomes available. In the interim, regular school operations will continue at all elementary schools.
Director of Education/Secretary of the Board
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