Ontario Catholic teachers become latest educators’ union to hold strike vote

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The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) announced Monday that the union will conduct a province-wide strike vote on October 18 and 19, becoming the latest teachers’ group to retaliate against stalled bargaining talks with the government.

“The Ford Conservative government has failed to demonstrate real interest to engage in meaningful discussions about the critical issues facing publicly funded education in Ontario,” the union said in a release.

Earlier this month, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) said it will hold in-person meetings to conduct central strike votes, given the lack of progress made at bargaining with the government.

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Ontario’s main four teachers’ unions – including OECTA – have been without a contract for a year. In November last year, thousands of education workers went on a province-wide strike following a decision by the Ford government to impose a 4-year contract on them – and prevent them from going on strike.

The province’s Minister of Education Stephen Lecce had earlier expressed that another teachers’ strike was “unnecessary,” saying that Ontario government had been bargaining with the unions in “good faith.”

However, OECTA said that the reality of the bargaining situation is drastically different from the government’s end. “While the government is telling one story publicly, the reality at the bargaining table is quite different,” the OECTA statement said, adding that the association has only had 30 meetings with the government in 440 days since they filed notice to bargain.

The union said that bargaining talks will continue while the strike vote is being conducted.

Rahat Sandhu

NEWS

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