TORONTO, ON - Jun 13 2014 – School bus service for thousands of students in Waterloo Region could be impacted as of Monday, when employees of the consortium that delivers student transportation services in the region will be on a legal strike.
The employees, who work for the Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region consortium, are represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO). They plan, coordinate and monitor the transportation of more than 30,000 elementary and secondary school students every day for both the public and Catholic school boards, and they have been attempting to negotiate a new collective agreement since the previous contract expired in August of 2012. They have been in a legal strike position since June 9.
“Our members are extremely frustrated,” said Diane Flewwelling, president of the bargaining unit that includes the consortium employees. “We’ve been trying for almost two years now to bargain a fair and reasonable agreement, but the consortium has maintained a rigid position, refusing to even discuss our concerns in a meaningful way.”
Rob Gascho, a member of OSSTF/FEESO’s Provincial Executive and chair of the negotiating committee, said, “The employer’s demeanor throughout this process, including conciliation and mediation, suggests an alarming lack of respect for the hard-working employees who do this important work every day. Obviously a withdrawal of service is always a last resort, but the inflexibility of the consortium’s position has left us with very few options. We would be more than happy to work with the employer to avert this strike, and to that end we remain ready and willing to go back to the table at any time, including this weekend.”
OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.
Rob Gascho, Executive Officer
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
Tel 416.751.8300 Toll Free 1.800.267.7867