The Rainy River District School Board and the local Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation were slated to resume contract talks Thursday and Friday in an effort to avert a possible strike by high school teachers in Fort Frances, Rainy River, and Atikokan.
The teachers have been working without a contract since the fall.
There have been several rounds of talks between the two parties since then, with the last being at the end of January with the help of a conciliator.
When those talks failed to reach an agreement, the local OSSTF requested a “no board” report and held a strike vote Feb. 5—with more than 98 percent of ballots cast in support of strike action.
The teachers legally can take job action as of tomorrow, but the head of the local bargaining unit said they will wait to see how the negotiations go.
If talks stall, Monday could see the start of some type of job action by the teachers. If the talks are promising, as both sides hope, then the union will hold off.
The teachers are looking for more than a three percent hike in wages and benefits.
The school board is willing to talk, and is optimistic a deal can be reached, but there’s uncertainty whether the board is willing to cross the three percent threshold.
Back in December, the Rozanski Report on education called for immediate action by the Ontario government to resolve the collective bargaining stalemate with teachers across the province.
Queen’s Park responded with $340 million—reflecting a three percent increase.
The local school board received $600,000 of that total to put towards the collective bargaining process here.