Union wants to see tangible results from talks
Last week, the ETFO's secondary school counterpart, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), voted to advise members to resume their participation in extracurricular activities.
Both unions started the job action in December after a bitter labour dispute with the province, which was capped last month when the government imposed contracts on many of Ontario's teachers.
ETFO Rainbow president Barb Blasutti, who represents elementary teachers who work for the Rainbow District School Board, said while talks with Premier Kathleen Wynne's new government are promising, it's not enough to end the boycott.
“The key now is to turn that goodwill into some concrete solutions and real actions,” she said.
“That's why at this time we're not in a position to change our advice to members about voluntary or extracurricular activities.
“We do want results. We want a resolution. We want to end this. We want to go back to business as usual. But we're just not at that point yet.”
When asked what the ETFO wants out of the talks, Blasutti was vague.
“Generally I can tell you that most of the issues that we've been talking about and dealing with for the past 12 months are on the table right now, so to speak,” she said.
“But I can't get into what those issues are, because that would be negotiating in the media. It is our policy not to do that.”
As for the OSSTF's decision to end its extracurricular boycott, Blasutti said she doesn't think they made the right choice.
“From my perspective, they've given up a bargaining chip for nothing tangible for their members,” she said.
“That's their decision, and they voted on it, and it was democratically arrived at. But for us, until we see some real actions, we don't think that's the right decision for us.”
Blasutti suggested parents upset with cancelled extracurricular activities phone Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci, as his government caused the situation.
She added that despite the ongoing job action, teachers are still fulfilling their teaching obligations.
“World-class education happens in our schools,” she said. “We know that, and our teachers are working diligently. They're giving 100 per cent in the classroom to deliver curriculum and to work one-on-one with students.”