Reposted from an email received.
October 23, 2015
We are writing to update you about the continued impact of the ongoing, province-wide legal job action currently being undertaken by members of three unions:
Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) which represents elementary teachers
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) which represents school support staff including custodians, school office staff, Educational Assistants, Early Childhood Educators and others
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), Professional Student Services Personnel Unit which represents education workers (not teachers) including Attendance Counsellors, Child and Youth Counsellors/Workers, Social Workers, Speech-Language Pathologists and others
These unions are currently in contract negotiations with the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association. Details of the duties and services no longer being performed during this job action can be found at http://www.tdsb.on.ca/labour.
During these exceptional times, we continue to focus on keeping schools open and safe for students and staff and ensuring that learning continues. We are closely monitoring the condition of our schools and assessing any health and safety implications for students, staff and visitors.
Continued withdrawal of services by ETFO and CUPE is having an impact on the normal operations of our schools. It is simply NOT possible for elementary principals to perform the many duties and tasks that nearly 11,000 elementary teachers and 15,000 CUPE support staff are not doing during this labour action.
As ETFO has directed its members to NOT prepare report card comments or complete or package progress reports, we are unable to issue Kindergarten to Grade 8 elementary progress report cards between November 6 and 12, as previously scheduled. Should a tentative agreement be reached with ETFO, we will revisit the situation.
In addition, ETFO has directed its members to NOT conduct parent/guardian interviews that are related to progress reports unless the teacher identifies a concern about a student’s progress.
We also regret to inform you that ETFO has recently announced that beginning Wednesday, October 28, they are directing elementary teachers to withdraw from all voluntary extracurricular activities (e.g. sports and clubs).
At this time, OSSTF education workers (not teachers) are providing services and supports to students and parents/guardians only during regular school hours.
It is also important to note that if the current partial withdrawal of services by elementary teachers and school support staff is prolonged or escalated, it may have an impact on some daytime school activities, as well as evening programs and after-school permits.
TDSB is in contact with child care administrators who operate out of TDSB schools. Every attempt will be made to preserve access to licensed child care programs in our schools, however, modifications may become necessary (e.g. changes in hours of operation, limited access to alternate rooms except in an emergency, change in entry practices etc). Please contact your child care centre for more information.
We remain hopeful that collective agreements with these unions can be achieved in the very near future to bring an end to the labour action and return schools to normal. As always, we are committed to keeping you informed. Please continue to check http://www.tdsb.on.ca/labour and monitor local media for any developments, including the latest on province-wide contract negotiations.
Director of Education