The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will abide by today’s decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).
The OLRB decision was issued after the Trillium Lakelands and Upper Canada District School Boards lodged a labour relations complaint in January regarding advice ETFO issued to members about voluntary services.
The OLRB decision confirms, as ETFO had asserted during the hearing, that the union’s advice to members about withdrawing voluntary services was not a “directive”.
The OLRB’s interim decision states that the concerted withdrawal of voluntary services during the term of the collective agreement falls within the definition of strike. However, this is subject to a decision by the OLRB on charter issues related to the definition which is still outstanding.
”This ruling reinforces the position of ETFO that individual members have the right to make personal decisions about whether or not to participate in voluntary/extracurricular activities. It also makes clear that school boards cannot compel their employees to perform voluntary services or discipline them for not doing so,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond.
“You can’t legislate goodwill. There is no other profession where people are expected to perform hours and hours of voluntary service each week, and then are castigated for making personal decisions to put their principles, their families, and their own welfare first,” added Hammond.
“ETFO remains committed to working with the government to find meaningful ways to address the current issues facing the education sector and bring peace and stability back to our schools.”