Union says teachers could withdraw from extracurriculars for two years
Published Monday, January 7, 2013 12:40PM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 7, 2013 6:36PM EST
The head of a local teachers’ union warns teachers may withdraw from extracurricular activities for as long as two years as they look to ramp up job action.
“That’s certainly a possibility. We can’t accept that conditions are imposed on us,” Waterloo Region OSSTF president Rob Gascho told CTV.
Greg Weiler, who heads up the Waterloo Region branch of the ETFO, says a continued boycott of extracurricular activities is a likely scenario.
“With the contracts imposed, it’s put us all in a position where the only avenue the teachers have to look at protest is voluntary activities,” he said.
Last week, provincial education minister Laurel Broten imposed new collective bargaining agreements on public board elementary and secondary school teachers under the controversial Bill 115.
Many teachers are upset at both the unilateral action and the contracts themselves, which include wage freezes, an end to bankable sick days and other cuts to benefits.
Teachers’ unions have suggested one-day strike activity could be a possibility now that classes are back in session.
Greg Weiler, president of the Waterloo Region ETFO, says that although such a strike would no longer be legal, it is still being considered and has the support of teachers at large.
Extracurricular activities appear to be the next battleground in the showdown between teachers and the province. Teachers withdrew from the voluntary activities in December, and have not returned to them despite calls from students and Premier Dalton McGuinty to do so.
“All of my members want to have extracurriculars back as well,” said Weiler, who put the blame for disputes over extracurriculars on Broten and McGuinty.
“They chose to create an artificial deadline and impose a contract, and they really created this situation.”
ETFO and Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation leaders will be meeting Wednesday to plan their next court of action.
With files from The Canadian Press