ONTARIO – Over 60,000 high school teachers could be on strike for one day on Wednesday, Dec. 4 if their union, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) and their employer and the province of Ontario are unable to reach a deal.
The teachers are striking over mandatory electronic lessons, pay, and class sizes.
“We do recognize that our one-day walkout will cause short-term disruption in the lives of students and parents, and we are disappointed that we’ve been driven to take this job action. We cannot, however, stand aside and do nothing while the long-term interests of students are being compromised by the Ford government,” said OSSTF President Harvey Bischof.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce urged the union to remain at the bargaining table.
“Strikes hurt kids. Our Government has been clear, we want deals that keep students in class. For teacher unions to leave the table, to turn their back on our children, and to escalate to the point of compromising their education, is deeply troubling for parents and our Government,” Lecce said. “Our Government has demonstrated consistently it is reasonable and student-centric by making major moves that have not been matched or reciprocated by the teachers’ unions. In fact, on the days we made reasonable offers – reducing class room sizes from 28 to 25 and reducing online learning courses from four to two – the unions decided to escalate. This is wrong, and our students deserve better.”
Bischof said however that he did not believe that the government and management were negotiating in good faith.
“Through months of bargaining, the management team has avoided any meaningful discussion of class size, staffing, mandatory e-learning, or any other issue that impacts the quality of student learning,” Bischof said. “Even in light of our current job action, far too little has changed at the table. We are left with no choice but to intensify our efforts to defend our education system against a government that has already begun to sabotage it.”