Strikes have begun; Board announces lock out

Rotating strikes began at the Thunder Bay Catholic District school board office on Victoria Ave., Tuesday.

Thunder Bay’s separate school contract dispute is heating up. One day after Thunder Bay separate school elementary teachers strike, the board says it will lock them out.

The board announced Tuesday, while teachers were staging a protest outside its offices, that teachers will be locked out of the three schools they chose for rotating strikes.

Teachers had said they planned to return to classrooms Wednesday but the board says Bishop Gallagher, Bishop E.Q. Jennings and Pope John Paul II schools will be closed to teachers.

“The schools will be open, but parents should expect picket lines and delays,” the board said in a statement.

The board added that it “had offered to continue with negotiations today (Tuesday), if the rotating strike was suspended. The union did not agree to this proposal.”

Further, if the union conducts any more rotating strikes, the board says that it will lock teachers out of all of its elementary schools.

Earlier, the union said it had offered to meet the board at 9 p.m., Monday, in hopes of a tentative agreement.

“To facilitate the proposed talks we sent the board a new proposal on all outstanding items,” says Aldo Grillo president of the Thunder Bay Elementary Unit of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association.

He said the board refused, stating that the union’s offer “put the board at an unfair disadvantage in its ability to understand your (the union’s) proposal and any counter-proposals.”

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