THUNDER BAY – The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association has informed the province it plans to stage a one-day walkout next Tuesday if a contract can’t be reached before that time.
Carlo Cappello, president of Thunder Bay Secondary OECTA, on Monday said walking out isn't the ideal solution, but after 40 meetings with the province since their contract ran out and little to no progress being made, the union membership and leadership believe it's the only course of action left.
"The walk-out on the 21st of January will affect every school in the Catholic system. It also means that teachers will not be in class that day and likely students will be either, as a result," Cappello said.
Negotiations can't continue in the same fashion, he added.
"The government is insistent on keeping the disastrous cuts to education on the table. This is a last-ditch effort in hoping to get the government to back off on these cuts to education."
Cappello admitted it's a longshot, given the lack of traction in talks with public board high school teachers, with talks dragging on for months and no progress being made.
"We're hoping that continued pressure on this government will result in a contract environment that will be more favourable and will result in less cuts to education and the cuts will disappear."
For now, teachers plan to continue offering their services for extra-curricular activities, but have decided to withdraw other, non-mandated, services.
"This week we announced our administrative job action, which means teachers will be engaged in a job action that will result in fewer activities that teachers will engage in," Cappello said. "But students will remain in classes. Extra-curricular activities will continue. A full withdawal of services down the road is possible, but nothing has been determined yet at this point.
"The administrative job action will impact teachers with respect to the fact that they're not going to be engaged in EQAO activities, other board initiatives and definitely ministry of education initiatives."