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April 20, 2004

Teachers in schools for disabled withdraw services

From: Toronto Star - Toronto,Ontario,Canada - Apr 19, 2004


Teachers who work in special provincial schools started limiting their services today in a contract dispute.

The 239 teachers work in schools for the deaf, blind, deaf-blind and in correctional facilities across Ontario.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation said the teachers will no longer volunteer for extra-curricular activities, nor will they perform supervision of students, hall duty or clinics during the lunch hour.

"We have been more than patient with this employer," said Beth Phieffer, local president for OSSTF District 30 teachers.

"It has been almost a year with no contract when most public school boards across this province concluded negotiations with their teachers before the year even started."

The OSSTF said teachers held a strike vote more than a month ago and have been in a legal strike position since April 15th.

The key demand is wage parity with public school teachers.

"We have made every effort to narrow the range of issues at the bargaining table. We are seeking a contract to cover this current school year only — a year which is almost over. Teachers in the government's schools deserve a reasonable increase and a salary commensurate with the teachers in Ontario's public schools," said Rhonda Kimberley-Young, president of the OSSTF provincial organization.

"The teachers are frustrated that negotiations have dragged on for so long and that they still have not seen their specific needs addressed by the employer ... nor any sign from the employer that they wish to return to the table," said Kimberley-Young.

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