TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 3, 2012) - "92% of 60,000 OSSTF/FEESO members employed in elementary and secondary school systems have voted in favour of supporting strike action. They are sending a very clear message to the McGuinty government; we stand strong and united in our desire to pursue unfettered local bargaining and in our absolute opposition to Bill 115," said Ken Coran, President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF/FEESO).
"Our members have clearly indicated they want a collective bargaining process that involves local school boards and not the government. They do not want the undemocratic process that can be imposed by the Minister of Education as defined in Bill 115," continued Coran.
"That process has created a confrontational, not collaborative environment. In early April, we acknowledged the financial concerns indicated by the government. We offered to accept a two year wage freeze in addition to proposing other cost saving measures. The Minister's negotiating team, a team of lawyers, rejected them outright.
Instead, they left us with a 'take it or leave it' offer. That's not a productive way to negotiate. That's not how we solve problems together," Coran stressed.
"We will continue to follow the process as laid out in the Ontario Labour Relations Act, and the taking of these strike votes is part of that process. When times get tough, people don't expect their government to sacrifice basic rights of its citizens. They expect all parties to pull together to solve problems, something we have been willing to do from the start," concluded President Coran.
OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.