OECTA responds to statement from Niagara Catholic District Board

Tensions are heating up as contract talks resume this week between the Niagara Catholic District School board and the union representing elementary teachers.

The union releasing a statement late last week commenting on an information update the board provided to parents

The Ontario Elementary  Catholic Teachers Association says the board has chosen to air  "misleading accusations and analysis" and calls the update yet another example of the disrespect being shown to teachers throughout the bargaining process.

The two sides sit down again on Wednesday with a provincial mediator in an effort to hammer out a deal.

The board has said it will lock out teachers starting March 20th if a contract agreement is not reached.

You can read the entire statement from OECTA below:

We appreciate the Niagara Catholic District School Board's need to communicate with parents about collective bargaining, but we are disappointed that they have once again chosen to air misleading accusations and analysis. The March 9, 2017 Information Update to parents and guardians is yet another example of the disrespect shown to Niagara's Catholic elementary teachers throughout the bargaining process.   

It is true that teachers are standing firm on some important matters. With regard to the process for filling vacant teaching positions, for example, we are seeking the same fair, transparent process that exists in many school boards across Ontario. We think most people will agree that this is not too much to ask.  

Although teachers understand that extra-curricular activities are important to some students, we simply cannot volunteer further time to support an employer who does not value our professionalism and dedication. We remain committed to continuing with our core duties of planning lessons, delivering curriculum, and assessing student progress. Removing teachers from the classroom would not be our choice. It would not provide enhanced safety for students - in fact, exactly the opposite - and it is not necessary, given our willingness to continue negotiating. Our decision to undertake work-to-rule job action was a measured response to the school board's reluctance to negotiate a fair agreement. It should go without saying that the school board's lockout will have negative consequences for students and parents.   

Despite these most recent actions and threats from our employer, we remain optimistic that we can reach an agreement.