Parent Update: October 30 – Possible Strike on Friday, November 4

Warning of Possible Strike

CUPE, the union representing over 1300 full-time/term OCSB employees and 700 casual positions, will legally be able to strike as of Friday, November 4.

How will this affect your child’s learning?

If a strike occurs, all OCSB in-person students will move to remote learning on Friday, November 4. We will do this because operating in-person learning without CUPE staff is unsafe. We will do our best to provide continuity of learning for all our students should there be labour disruptions.

Why are schools closed to in-person learning if the teachers are not on strike?

It would be unsafe. Our CUPE staff includes Educational Assistants (EAs), Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs), Office administrators (OAs), Library technicians, extended day supervisors and many others. OCSB CUPE staff monitor the front door entrance, respond to parent calls, process attendance, support and maintain our technology, and assist with the safe arrival of students. They also support medical, toileting and/or behavioural needs, and many take part in supervision duties. Your children’s safety is our number one priority. Without their presence, we would not be able to ensure student safety.

If there is a strike 

On the first day of the strike (Friday, November 4, 2022), educators will reach out to each student during their regularly assigned class time to ensure they have the devices and information they need to participate in remote learning. Staff will spend this day preparing for the move to remote learning and troubleshooting and access or technology issues.  On the second day of the strike, students will attend classes remotely and follow the same schedule as when attending in-person learning. 

If your child needs a device

Principals will coordinate with families that need to borrow a device. Please be patient. Our computer support staff are also CUPE staff and will not be available to assist during a strike. If your child has a device they can use, we appreciate them doing so.  This will allow for school devices to be redistributed to students who do not have access to a device at home.

What if I can’t support my child with remote learning during a strike?

If your child cannot participate in remote learning, we understand, and please know that no student will be academically penalized if they cannot take part in remote learning. Parents may also choose to have their child join for part of the remote learning but not be online for the entire day.

Will Extended Day programs continue during remote learning?

No Extended Day Program Supervisors are CUPE staff who can legally strike.

Can parents continue to volunteer in schools during a strike?

School councils and other parent activities can continue during remote learning; however, parents cannot replace striking CUPE staff.

Why are some of my neighbours’ kids still attending school in Ottawa?

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) has no CUPE employees, so the CUPE strike does not impact them. In the OCDSB, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) union represents their support staff.

Students have missed enough school over the last two years – why not just settle?

The Ontario Government negotiates all things monetary. These negotiations include pay, benefits, sick leave, and job security. The OCSB is not part of these negotiations and has no direct say in the talks’ outcome. Those involved in the bargaining are CUPE provincial, the government (Crown), and the four trustee associations representing the four English/French/Public/Catholic school Board Trustee Associations.  We understand staff have a legal right to strike, and we hope there will be a quick resolution to the current negotiation impasse. There are still three days of negotiations scheduled for this week, and we are hopeful a strike can be averted.

Updates

We will continue sharing labour disruption updates with parents via email and the school and board websites. 

Thank you for your understanding and patience. We know this is a stressful time for our staff and families in our school community.

Take care,

Tom D’Amico

OCSB Director of Education

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