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Not all high school teachers to resume extracurricular activities, union says

Ken Coran, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) at a news conference, Feb. 25, 2013

TORONTO, Ont. – The union representing Ontario public high school teachers says the new attitude of the Kathleen Wynne government prompted its call to resume extracurricular activities but says not all teachers will do so.

Ken Coran, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, said Monday that the union recommended teachers resume extracurricular activities after Wynne signalled a willingness to alter the bargaining process.

However, many teachers are still angry about having contracts imposed on them in January and some may never resume after-school activities, Coran said.

“Not all of our members — based on where we are right now today — are going to return to extracurriculars,” he said.

“That’s an individual decision and we respect our individual members’ decisions and will protect them on a go-forward basis.”

Coran said a “significant portion of our membership is very upset right now, even with this change in direction.”

He said about 60 per cent of members are waiting for concrete actions from the province. His hope is that contract talks with government officials this week will convince teachers that progress is being made. Coran will be requested a media blackout regarding the talks.

Coran said in the late ’90s and early ’00s, roughly 20 per cent of teachers who used to volunteer never returned to extracurriculars.

The union agreed on Friday to “suspend political action” but did not guarantee that everything would return to normal in Ontario high schools.

Wynne predicted on Friday that most teachers would return to the sports and clubs they ran voluntarily for years.

She also insisted the government did not make any concessions to convince the union to end its protest.

She did, however, agree to work with teachers and school boards on a new collective bargaining process for the next time to help fix a “fractured” relationship.