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Last week, members of the Ontario Elementary Teachers` Federation (ETFO) Thames Valley Teacher Local voted to adopt the preliminary agreement. Thames Valley will not be able to ensure student safety, as more than 3400 of our employees are CUPE members who do not show up to work if no agreement is reached. CUPE staff include facilitators, early childhood educators, teaching assistants, school and central offices, technical assistance (IT) and maintenance. Contract negotiations are underway between OSSTF and the Ministry of Education at the Central Table in Toronto. The Thames Valley District School Board hopes that a provincial agreement can be reached before union action begins. “We are very pleased that preliminary agreements have been reached with our teachers` unions so that we can pay full attention to the exceptional challenges posed by the COVID 19 pandemic,” said Board Chair Arlene Morell OSSTF, who said ratification votes were scheduled for May. A preliminary agreement with the Ontario Elementary Teachers` Federation (ETFO) has already been signed and ratification votes will begin this week. Discussions on local issues continue between local bargaining units OSSTF and ETFO and the Thames Valley District School Board. Thames Valley will continue to communicate directly with parents/caregivers about ongoing work negotiations. As always, for work updates in progress, please visit www.tvdsb.ca/labourupdates and follow @tvdsb on Twitter and Facebook. On Tuesday evening, the TVDSB Foundation Board voted and approved the agreement.

A preliminary agreement has been reached between the Ontario government and the Ontario Association of Public Enterprise Councils (OPSBA) with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers` Federation (OSSTF). OSSTF is in negotiations with the Ontario government and the Ontario Public Schools Association (OPSBA) for a new collective agreement for high school teachers. After discussion and consideration of all options, the Thames Valley District School Board has decided to close schools to all students effective Monday, October 7, unless an agreement is reached before that date. If an agreement is reached, we will contact families as soon as possible when students can return to class. More details on ETFO`s employment action can be found on its website: etfocb.ca/strike-protocol-work-to-rule-phase-1/ ETFO will now check the details of the preliminary agreement and begin the ratification process next week with LOCAL ETFO leaders and members. EtFO immediately suspends strike action until the results of its central ratification votes are available. We look forward to your constant understanding, patience and support from our students. If agreed, secondary schools will remain open on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. For timely notifications, please subscribe to our “Labour Updates” page and social networks. While there is no progress towards a contractual agreement by Friday 6 March, ETFO said it would begin the next phase of its strike protocol on Monday 9 March.

We also hope that an agreement can soon be reached at the provincial level. Most importantly, teachers will continue to focus on supporting students` learning needs. The updated information is published on www.tvdsb.ca. If no agreement is reached at the central bargaining table in Toronto by Friday, January 17, 2020, the union will begin rotating strikes on Monday, January 20, 2020, according to the union. In addition, teachers will no longer participate in professional learning activities as part of the 4th phase of the EtFO Job action. Our CUPE employees are critical employees of the Thames Valley District School Board. We respect the negotiation process and we continue to hope that an agreement can be reached at the provincial negotiating table.