Niagara's Catholic Elementary teachers respond to threat of lock out
Niagara's Catholic Elementary teachers are reacting with surprise at Friday's announcement by the Catholic School Board that if a new collective agreement is not met soon, teachers will be locked out beginning Monday March 20th.
In a release, the Niagara Unit of the OECTA says the lock-out notice shows a lack of respect for students and teachers.
The OECTA says both parties exchanged items for consideration at their last meeting with the understanding that responses would be provided at the next bargaining meeting set for this Monday.
Catholic Elementary teachers in Niagara have been working without a contract since August of 2014.
None of the outstanding issues between the two sides involve money.
In the event of a lock-out the NCDSB says schools will remain open but admits programming will be significantly impacted.
Below is a copy of the full release issued by the OECTA Niagara Unit.
OECTA Niagara Elementary Press Release
On Friday, March 3rd, the Niagara Elementary Unit of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) was informed by the Niagara Catholic District School Board that unless an agreement on local terms for our collective agreement is reached by March 19th, the school board will lock out the elementary teachers effective March 20th. Teachers have been working even though their collective agreement expired on August 31, 2014. The Niagara Catholic District School Board's lock-out notice shows a lack of respect for students and teachers.
We are surprised that the board has stated that we are at an impasse since both parties exchanged items for consideration at our last meeting, with the understanding that responses would be provided at the next bargaining date. OECTA Niagara Elementary is trying to work toward a resolution and is prepared for our next scheduled conciliator- assisted bargaining date scheduled for Monday March 6, 2017.
The Board has indicated that the pressures around their legal fees for negotiations are $160,000 and the Board anticipates that amount rising to $200,000. We feel this is a waste of taxpayers' money, considering that we are negotiating non-monetary items. We feel this money would be better spent in a variety of ways including supplies for students, textbooks, technology and supporting the needs of our students, including the students with special needs.
The Board's media release states that they believe a lock-out is in the students' best interest. OECTA Elementary teachers have been preparing, teaching and assessing students since the beginning of the academic school year. The elementary teachers are poised to continue educating students. It is our belief that teachers delivering curriculum in the classroom is what is best for students.