Teachers picketed outside Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller's Bracebridge office on Wednesday, Dec. 5 against Bill 115. This Thursday, Dec. 13, schools will be closed as teachers walk off the job for a one-day strike, again in protest of Bill 115.
Photo by Louis Tam
MUSKOKA - This Thursday, Dec. 13, elementary schools in Muskoka will be closed as teachers walk off the job in a one-day protest of Bill 115.
TLDSB reminds parents that buses will not be cancelled on Thursday, as they also transport secondary students and students in the Catholic board, so please ensure your elementary child does not board the bus as schools will be closed
The one-day strike is a message to the government that Bill 115 is severely impeding local collective bargaining, stated a press release today (Monday, Dec. 10) from the Trillium Lakelands Teachers Local and the Trillium Lakelands Occasional Teacher Local.
“If the minister was serious about resolving issues with teachers, she would lift Bill 115’s limiting parameters that are impeding local bargaining,” said Steve Colliver, president of the Trillium Lakelands local. “We’re interested in reaching a fair local agreement, not playing political games.”
The Trillium Lakelands local represents 739 elementary teachers employed by Trillium Lakelands District School Board at schools throughout Muskoka, Haliburton and the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Occasional or substitute teachers will also be joining the one-day walkout in protest of Bill 115. The Trillium Lakelands Occasional Teacher Local represents 369 occasional teachers in the board.
“It is regrettable that we have been forced into strike action by a government that has no respect for the democratic rights of my members,” said Tracy Blodgett, president of the occasional teacher local.
Both the Trillium Lakelands Teachers Local and the Trillium Lakelands Occasional Teacher Local have been in a legal strike position since Nov. 26. The rotating one-day strikes are being organized by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) throughout the province in an effort to gain Education Minister Laurel Broten’s attention and to convince her to sit down and discuss the federation’s concerns regarding Bill 115 and the need to repeal it.
Niagara and Keewatin-Patricia teachers’ locals will be walking out in protest on Tuesday, Dec. 11; Ottawa-Carleton, Hastings-Prince Edward, and Lakehead locals will be off the job Wednesday, Dec. 12 and York Region teachers will be joining Trillium Lakelands in a walkout on Thursday, Dec. 13.
“There are two solutions to the chaos that the minister of education has created,” said Sam Hammond, president of ETFO. “Along with repealing Bill 115, the minister needs to step aside and give school boards and ETFO locals the latitude to have concrete and respectful discussions with all options on the table, in order to reach collective agreements.”
Although secondary school teachers are stepping up strike action this week by withdrawing from all extracurricular activities, they will not be involved in the one-day strike and secondary schools will be open as usual. Both elementary and secondary schools in the Simcoe-Muskoka Catholic District School Board will also be open on Thursday.
Trillium Lakelands District School Board reminds parents that buses will not be cancelled on Thursday, as they also transport secondary students and students in the Catholic board, so please ensure your elementary child does not board the bus as elementary schools will be closed due to the strike.
Bracebridge Culture and Recreation are offering a "Strike Camp" on Thursday, Dec. 13 for up to 30 children ages five to 14. Parents in need of care for their children can call 705-645-3037 to make arrangements.