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Elementary teachers withdraw from extracurriculars amid stalled bargaining

Last Updated Oct 23, 2015 at 6:50 am EDT

Elementary teachers in Ontario will be withdrawing from all voluntary extracurricular activities on Wednesday.

The union representing the teachers says it’s a way of putting pressure on the government and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association to return to the bargaining table.

The province has reached deals with the other major teachers’ unions, but talks with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) are stalled.

CityNews has learned one of the key stumbling blocks in negotiations is sick days.  Not the amount teachers get – right now they are allowed an astonishing 131. The issue is how many days they have to return to work before they are eligible for another 131.  It’s only one day.

The union confirmed that teachers are allowed 131 sick days at 90 per cent pay before long-term disability kicks in.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), the union representing high school teachers, recently agreed to a deal that increases the reset day to 11. Two sources tell CityNews that ETFO is not budging from one day.

sickdays
Education Minister Liz Sandals said Wednesday that the government has been available to bargain and ready to go back to the table.

“The best way to resolve job action is for all parties to be at the central bargaining table ready to work through the remaining issues and we urge ETFO to focus on bargaining rather than further disruption in our schools,” said the spokesperson for Minister Sandals.

“We have proposed dates to ETFO for the parties to resume negotiations next week and are awaiting their response,” said the spokesperson.

But the elementary teachers say the government and the school board association have “ignored all attempts” by the union to get them to return to bargaining, including an offer to refer one issue to binding arbitration.

Elementary teachers were already staging a work-to-rule campaign that included no parent-teacher meetings and no class trips, but had warned they would expand it further if there was no bargaining progress.

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