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Catholic teachers 'scared and disappointed' as strike looms

'Nobody wants strike action'

Local Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) members are hoping for a breakthrough in negotiations with the government as a one day strike next Tuesday inches closer.

See: Catholic teachers taking province-wide strike action on January 21

Local OECTA president Tammy Chasse told BayToday that it's not something they want to do.

"People are scared and disappointed. Nobody wants strike action They are worried about student education. The changes are not going to be good going forward for students."

A strike will affect about 145 full-time teachers and another 100 occasional teachers.

"What's happening with local priorities is we're losing teachers that were designated for special ed and Indigenous learning kinds of programs, so now we're losing some of those pieces, and so the kids are losing the added support. People's classrooms are starting to balloon higher and higher every year and the needs are extreme and we don't have the resources to deal with it."

Chasse says parents have been very supportive.

"I know it's difficult for them as well but they have a lot at stake as well. These are pretty huge changes to their kid's education as well, moving forward."

The OECTA says that all of its members will be engaging in the one-day full withdrawal of services on Tuesday, January 21.

It means teachers in publicly funded Catholic district school boards across Ontario will not be reporting to work or performing any of their duties.

The previously announced administrative job action will remain in effect before and after this date, states a news release from the union.

Meanwhile, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued a statement in response to the escalation to a one-day walkout:

"Following five hours of a work-to-rule campaign, OECTA has decided to escalate to a one-day, province-wide strike, that negatively impacts their students.

"For the last three decades, parents and students have experienced labour strife in education, regardless of the political stripe of the Government. While I am disappointed in the teacher unions' continued focus on escalation that hurts our students, our Government will remain focused on improving public education and keeping students in class."

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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