No news from Ontario labour board until next week

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Teacher protest last year.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) is now expected to release its decision next week about an application from the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) and Trillium Lakelands District School Board regarding whether the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) was engaging in an activity that constitutes an unlawful strike.

The OLRB is not expected to issue a written ruling on the matter until the middle of next week, said UCDSB Chair Greg Pietersma. The school boards are challenging a directive from ETFO that effectively ordered teachers not to volunteer for extracurricular and co-curricular activities in our schools. The school board will publicly release the written decision once it is received.

“This application has always been about restoring teachers’ ability to make the choice to volunteer or not volunteer,” said Pietersma.

UCDSB Director David Thomas said the application was necessary to restore confidence in the public education system and the opportunities that sports, the arts, after-school academic help, and other activities provide to our students.

“We want to restore order in our schools so that our students, staff and community can have confidence in their public education system,” added Thomas.

Pietersma said that this decision is needed to bring clarity to this situation that was neither created by the Board or the federation.

“This application was caused by the provincial government and not the teachers’ unions,” said Pietersma. “The provincial government has had ample opportunity to make things right but has chosen not to do so.

“We hope going forward that all parties will learn from this unfortunate situation.”

Organizations: Ontario Labour Relations Board, Upper Canada District School Board, Trillium Lakelands District School Board Federation of Ontario

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  • Rockford
    February 19, 2013 - 09:48

    You can't tell me there isn't pressure on teachers to toe the union line and not partake in EC activity.That's where the problem lies. Voluntary means just that. It's just as wrong for the union to pressure members to not partake in them as it is for the public to expect them to be done as a matter of course. This is the same union that could have FINED teachers for not going out on "day of protest" late last year. If I were a teacher I wouldn't be able to look my students in the eye if I were to withhold ECs from them just to punish "the man". If they've been treated unfairly - and maybe they have - then take it to the courts. I can't believe most teachers want to punish the kids the way they are now.

  • Pensive
    February 14, 2013 - 07:58

    It would appear that few people are really listening. The teachers have a choice now and where my husband works they have chosen as a group not to participate in extracurricular activities. They have not made this choice as a result of an instruction by a union. These are the most dedicated teachers I have met but are so demoralised by having their rights removed, a 1.5% pay cut resulting from mandatory unpaid days of p.d, suffering abuse from parents even when acrtivities were run etc. that they decided enough was enough. It was time to stand up and be counted. There will be no extracurricular until these imposed conditions will be revoked or reach their end. The boards in question use teachers to fill in for Principals as they will not pay for VPs. One has to wonder if they do not have the money for VPs how they are affording the court fees at $12000 per day. Further if, parents are so desperate for kids to have extracurriculars, why they are not taking responsibility for their own kids activities themselves instead of wanting someone else to give up their family life for free and do it?