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Peel high school teachers set May 4 strike date

Last Updated Apr 21, 2015 at 6:36 pm EST

Summary

Durham Region's high school teachers went on strike on Monday after negotiations reached an impasse over the weekend.


High school teachers in Peel Region — one of Canada’s largest public school boards — have set a strike date of May 4, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) says.

If a deal is not reached between the union and the Peel District School Board by then, teachers will walk off the job.

“Our collective agreements expired in August of 2014, and since that time our members have shown a great deal of patience despite the slow pace of bargaining,” Mike Bettiol, president of OSSTF District 19 (Peel), said in a release.

“The school board’s approach to bargaining will have to change dramatically if they want to avoid a full withdrawal of services,” he said.

In the event of a strike, all 36 public high schools in Peel will be closed, impacting almost 42,000 students.

Peel board chair Janet McDougald said she is not pleased with the union’s provincial leadership.

“I am disappointed that they have chosen to use students — and I can speak for Peel — to use students in order to get the attention of the provincial government,” McDougald said.

She said the situation is also frustrating because the local talks have been going well.

All extracurricular activities, field trips and other school events will also be cancelled; however, McDougald said prom will go ahead.

Durham Region’s high school teachers went on strike on Monday after negotiations reached an impasse over the weekend.

Union president Paul Elliott said talks have resumed at the provincial level, but local-level negotiations are still stalled.

The Peel strike date is the third set locally by OSSTF, with teachers in Sudbury set to walk out on Monday.

Halton, Peel, Waterloo, Ottawa-Carleton and Lakehead school boards will also be in a legal strike position by the end of the month.

With files from Charlene Close