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Media Release: OSSTF/FEESO to conduct strike vote

Toronto, October 15, 2019

After months of delays and inaction by the Ontario government, and no indication that meaningful discussion will take place, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) feels it now has no choice but to begin the process of conducting strike votes among its members across the province in the coming weeks.

“The government claims that it wants to resolve these negotiations quickly,” said OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof. “But from the beginning they have done nothing to help expedite the process, and now they are simply refusing to discuss substantive issues at the bargaining table.”

“They delayed the start of bargaining by two months and have thrown procedural roadblocks in the way ever since.”

“And so it was thanks to their incessant stalling and delay tactics that it took months for bargaining to get underway in the first place,” said Bischof, “and now that we are finally at the table they are simply refusing to engage in meaningful discussions about the most important issues. Through five days of bargaining they’ve brought absolutely nothing of substance to the table.”

Bischof also pointed out that the government is sending other contradictory messages.

“Publicly, the Minister of Finance has stated that an agreement already reached in the education sector should be seen as guide for outstanding agreements. But at the bargaining table we are being told that the content of other agreements has no impact on our discussions,” said Bischof. “Consequently, while the government and the trustee associations drag their feet, students across the province have lost access to mandatory courses, are being crammed into classrooms, sometimes with 40 or more of their peers, and are going without the critical support staff they need to succeed.”

“We are disappointed that our best efforts to find positive and peaceful solutions have been rebuffed and the management team is once again, as in other recent talks in this sector, intent on seeing increasing tensions before taking the process seriously and looking for solutions.”

“As we undertake strike votes we will continue our efforts at the bargaining table. We hope that the government will rethink its stance and come to the table prepared to discuss real issues that are crucial to quality education in Ontario. And we hope Ontarians will continue to visit to see who is really defending high quality education and Ontario’s future,” concluded Bischof.

OSSTF/FEESO will conclude strike votes by November 15.

Contact: Harvey Bischof, President Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation 416-751-8300

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