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Catholic teachers continue talks despite legal strike position

Last Updated Aug 17, 2015 at 8:09 am EDT

The union representing the province’s Catholic elementary and high school teachers is in a legal strike position as of Monday.

Despite two days of bargaining last week, no deal was reached between the province and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA). Talks will continue on Thursday and Friday, and on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

Members of OECTA, which represents 50,000 teachers, have been without a contract for more than a year.

OECTA officials said work-to-rule action will begin on the teachers’ first paid date back to work, which is this week for teachers in some northern regions. There’s no word yet on what that action will be or if it will take place despite the negotiations.

They’re not the only union still in talks. The contracts for all Ontario teachers expired last August and there has been no resolution, with classes set to start on Sept. 8.

The province’s 60,000 public high school teachers are represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF). That union is in talks with Queen’s Park on Tuesday and Wednesday, and is also holding its own annual leadership meeting in Ottawa this week.

Negotiations with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which represents 76,000 teachers, are set for Sept. 1. The union has been in a legal strike position since May 10.

More than 800 teachers and other members of ETFO are in Toronto this week for their own annual leadership meeting. They will set policies for the coming year and elect the union executive.

Last week, Education Minister Liz Sandals warned the four big teachers’ unions that they can’t unilaterally decide what job actions they’ll take if there are no deals when school resumes and call it a work-to-rule campaign.

With files from The Canadian Press

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