By Chad Ingram
Published May 25 2016
The chair of the Trillium LakelandsDistrict School Board says the board intends to get back to the bargainingtable with Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 15 with theassistance of a provincial mediator following a ruling from the Ontario LabourRelations Board.
The board and the teachers' union localhave been without a collective agreement for nearly two years.
Talks between the two groups broke off in Februarywith OSSTF District 15 declining the board's request to go to arbitration.
Demands from District 15 include easieraccess to taking personal days and the way teacher evaluations are conducted.
Issues include fairness and equityspecifically with teacher performance appraisals and the language in thecollective agreement as it relates to occasional teachers OSSTF districtpresident Colin Matthew told the paper in an earlier interview.
Teachers have been instructed not toparticipate in school activities such as graduation ceremonies or providecomments on report cards.
In April the school board filed anapplication with the labour relations board “to seek a decision on whether ornot the OSSTF District 15 demands are a legal negotiation position.”
“In conclusion none of the impugnedproposals are necessarily inconsistent with the Education Act” reads a May 20decision from the labour relations board dismissing the school board'sapplication.
“Unlike the Trillium Lakelands DistrictSchool Board we have been committed to the collective bargaining processthroughout these negotiations” Matthew said in a release on the ruling. “Ourmembers will certainly feel vindicated by this decision but what they arereally looking for is a fair negotiated deal. It’s now time for the board tofinally sit down with us and engage in serious negotiations.”
“We are disappointed in the decision”board chair Louise Clodd said. “We reached out to the provincial mediator.We're hopeful the mediator will be available to work with both parties soon.”
Clodd added that just because the board'sapplication was dismissed it does not validate the district's proposals.
District 15 is one of the few OSSTFlocals in the province that's been unable to reach an agreement with its schoolboard. Secondary teachers protested outside the board satellite office atMinden's Archie Stouffer Elementary School earlier this month.