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One union reaches deal, another pausing strike action

DAN CEARNS The Standard

NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) announced on Thursday, March 12th, they’ve reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement with the government of Ontario. “Details of the agreement remain confidential pending ratification. In accordance with the Association’s ratification procedures, should the OECTA Provincial Executive and local unit presidents recommend approval, Catholic teachers will participate in a province-wide vote on April 7th and 8th,” read a statement from OECTA president Liz Stuart. Strike action has been halted while the union goes through the ratification process. In a press release from the government of Ontario, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce called this deal a win. “Our Government achieved our foremost priority – landing a good deal with a teachers’ union that advances the priorities of students and parents,” he said. “As part of our Government’s singular focus to ending this impasse, we took action to advance the priorities of students and parents, and provide fairness to teachers. I would like to thank the mediator from the Ministry of Labour for their assistance in having all parties reach this tentative agreement.” This is the government’s first agreement with a major teachers’ union during this current round of collective bargaining. “The time is now to drive deals with all remaining union partners as parents expect action, not delays. We agree and will remain a positive and driving force at the bargaining table, advancing the priorities of parents and students,” Minister Lecce said, in his statement. Meanwhile, due to COVID-19, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has decided to suspend their rotating strike action, which was to begin on Monday, March 23rd. “Following the March break, ETFO members will continue to engage in work-to-rule strike action, but will not engage in full withdrawal of service rotating strikes that were scheduled to begin on Monday March 23rd,” ETFO President Sam Hammond stated, in a press release.

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