Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation to hold a strike vote

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A strike concerning the province's secondary schools could soon be underway.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) is planning to conduct a strike vote among its members, citing a lack of action and discussion from the provincial government in meeting the organization's demands.

"The government claims that it wants to resolve these negotiations quickly," says OSSTF President Harvey Bischof.

"But from the beginning they have done nothing to help expedite the process, and now they are simply refusing to discuss substantive issues at the bargaining table. They delayed the start of bargaining by two months and have thrown procedural roadblocks in the way ever since."

Bischof states concerns that students across the province have lost access to mandatory courses, are being crammed into overcrowded classrooms, and are going without the support staff they need to succeed.

The process of conducting strike votes is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

The OSSTF president also criticizes the government for sending out contradictory messages.

Publicly, the Minister of Finance has stated that an agreement already reached in the education sector should be seen as guide for outstanding agreements. But at the bargaining table we are being told that the content of other agreements has no impact on our discussions," he says.

We are disappointed that our best efforts to find positive and peaceful solutions have been rebuffed and the management team is once again, as in other recent talks in this sector, intent on seeing increasing tensions before taking the process seriously and looking for solutions.”

Bischof says they will continue their bargaining efforts while undertaking strike votes, and hopes the government will come to the table prepared to discuss the issues.

OSSTF will conclude strike votes by November 15.

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