High school strike vote passes

Eighty percent of the 6,500 high school teachers from the Toronto district voted for strike action on March 31. But kids won’t be getting a break just yet.

“There is no strike at this point. The union only held a strike vote.” May Moore confirmed, a spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

The vote in favor is only a hint at what could come much later, so it isn’t an immediate problem for parents, teachers, and students.

“The union is not in a legal position to strike at this time,” Moore said. “Negotiations will resume after that point.”

Negotiations between the Board and the union are on hold. They are waiting on a ruling from the Ontario Labor Relations Board. The board will decide if the teachers can strike, but the ruling could take as long as 2 months.

The main point of contention between the two sides is over how much supervision time teachers will be required from each teacher during the year. The TDSB wants the teachers to commit more time to supervising students outside of class time, with compensation for doing so. While teachers are maintaining that they are trained in classroom management and not as hall monitors.

“This vote shows that Toronto high school teachers are very serious about getting a collective agreement and frustrated with the Toronto District School Board’s violation of the conditions stipulated in the Provincial Framework Agreement,” the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) said in a media release.

At this rate a compromise is uncertain.

“If both sides agree, an arbitrator could be brought in to help hammer out a deal,” Moore said.

A mediator will be brought in if neither side reaches an agreement. For now there is no strike, but unless some cooperation starts happening between the parties, it is a strong possibility.