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Imposed Contracts Not a Peace Treaty for Schools

Not surprisingly, the province has moved to impose new contracts of thousands of teachers across the province today. But, the move isn't likely to bring labour peace and a sense of "certainty" that the Education Minister is hoping for. At a press conference this morning, Minister Laurel Broten said using bill 115 to impose the new collective agreements would end the prospect of strikes. "At some point in time, Ontario families deserve certainty and clarity and in this province we need to determine what our expenditures are and that's why we've put into place collective agreements. We've been clear and transparent for many, many months that if we did not see negotiated agreements this would be the endgame." Broten said "the ball is in the union's court", in terms of a response to the imposed contracts. The early response hasn't been flattering. President of the Elementary Teachers Federation for Thames Valley, Phillip Mack called the move "disappointing" to teachers, and he doesn't expect things will return to normal when school resumes next week. "What's going to be interesting is what we think provincially in terms of what we consider to be what our normal work is. I think you'll find that teachers will take it upon themselves to say 'You know what, there are things outside of the school that I'm just not going to do anymore. I'd suggest to you that is what is going to happen. I just don't see the anger dissipating.'" That could mean the continuation of teachers refusing to coach sports and supervise clubs and extra-curricular activities. Mack says we'll have to wait and see what the Union Leadership's response is in the next couple of hours and days.

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