Toronto’s Catholic elementary school teachers plan to strike at one or more schools on Monday

Toronto’s Catholic elementary school teachers have given formal notice that they plan to go on strike at one or more schools next week amid frustrations over the pace of negotiations on a new collective agreement.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board informed parents of the impending job action in a memo issued Wednesday morning.

They said the Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers’ Union has notified the board that it will conduct a “full strike” at one or more schools on Monday, though it is still unclear which schools will be targeted.

The board says that the job campaign is partly initiated on two key issues. One concerns a plan to improve employee attendance, and the other has to do with the way classroom assignments are handled, the board says.

However, the union says its around 5,000 members have been without a contract since September 2019 and are now one of the few unions in the education sector without a new agreement.

They accuse the board of using “the coverage of the pandemic to make unreasonable, regressive demands at the negotiating table.”

“We do not want to escalate our job action further,” Julie Altomare-DiNunzio, the president of the local, said in a statement to CP24. “As teachers, this is an incredibly difficult action for us to take, as we more than anything else want to be in the classroom and support our students’ academic success and well-being. But we can not ignore the board’s bullying tactics, repeated efforts to pull the negotiations out. criminal cases against teachers involved in legal job actions and refusal to work together to reach a fair agreement.

Talks between the union and the board began in February 2021, but broke down a few months later, leading to the start of a work-to-rule campaign that has continued.

In its memo, the TDSB said it was “shocked” to be informed of the planned job action by the union.

It said it was “unforgivable” that the union “wants to halt students’ learning by threatening to strike after all that the students have been through during the pandemic.”

The board suggested that the dispute was solely about the union’s intent to prevent it “from providing absence support and managing staffing processes.”

But the union said in its statement that the problems go much deeper than that.

“Our students are already suffering from pandemic-related learning losses. They can not afford the further damage to the learning environment that the board’s punitive, costly and ineffective demands would inflict – draconian impacts that would affect essential programs that support students, punish teachers for be sick, deprive the rights and limit the abilities of our teachers in order to best serve their students, ”said Altomare-DiNunzio.

The planned job action from Toronto’s Catholic elementary school teachers comes just two weeks after schools were allowed to return to personal learning after a nearly month-long closure.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the “recent provocations” from the union are an “insult to the interests of children who deserve to go to school.”

“On behalf of tens of thousands of families seeking stability as Ontario gets through the challenges of Omicron: end the strikes,” he said.

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