Ontario’s Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has dismissed charges filed by the Trillium Lakelands District School Board against District 15 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO).
OSSTF/FEESO teachers in Trillium Lakelands have been without a local contract for more than 20 months and have been engaged in a legal strike in the form of a selective withdrawal of services for the past six months in support of their efforts to negotiate a fair agreement.
In their application to the OLRB, the Trillium Lakelands Board accused OSSTF/FEESO of bargaining in bad faith by deliberately taking positions at the bargaining table that are illegal. The Board further claimed that OSSTF/FEESO’s strike action, based on its negotiating position, is also illegal.
OLRB Vice-Chair Patrick Kelly rejected the claims of the school board and ruled that none of the OSSTF/FEESO bargaining proposals in question are illegal. He also took no issue with the legality of the current job action, and dismissed all of the school board’s allegations.
“It’s time for this school board to stop playing legal games and come back to the bargaining table,” said Cindy Dubue, OSSTF/FEESO Provincial Vice President and chair of the negotiating team, in a press release. “They’ve used their bogus allegations as an excuse to avoid bargaining, and in the end they’ve succeeded only in prolonging a strike that should have been settled months ago.”
“Unlike the Trillium Lakelands Board, we have been committed to the collective bargaining process throughout these negotiations,” said District 15 President Colin Matthew. “Our members will certainly feel vindicated by this decision, but what they are really looking for is a fair, negotiated deal. It’s now time for the Board to finally sit down with us and engage in serious negotiations.”