Union says 11 Catholic teachers suspended related to support staff strike
The union representing Catholic teachers says some Windsor-Essex high school teachers have been suspended without pay, in relation to the support staff strike.
Brian Hogan, unit president with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, confirmed to CTV News that at least 11 teachers at St. Thomas of Villanova High School in LaSalle received indefinite suspensions on Monday.
"They hit you with the hammer, saying we’re the boss," Hogan told CTV News Monday afternoon. "They want this to be a chilling effect."
Picketing support workers have been slowing down traffic entering the some catholic schools, typically holding each car for about five to 10 minutes, says the union. Vehicles at the back of the lineup can be waiting a couple of hours to enter school property.
Hogan says representatives from the school board were at Villanova handing out suspension letters to vehicles that weren't turning around quickly enough to enter the property from another cue.
“The management is taking it out on teachers," Hogan says. "it’s unfortunate that I think the management is flexing their muscles a little bit. It’s a labour dispute, they need to be patient with people, and it’s unfortunate they continue picking on their teachers.”
He says this is just a distraction and the board needs to get back to the table.
“We hope management takes a deep breath. We don’t have a problem taking a deep breath," says Hogan. "Let’s try to work through the problems and realize sometimes labour disputes drag on a bit. But really, it’s about two parties getting back to the table.”
The union says it will now work with the HR department at the school board to get these suspended teachers back in the classroom as quickly as possible. Hogan says the affected teachers are shocked.
"They’re hurt their employers would treat em like that," Hogan says. "They want to teach. And they’re just at home sitting by the phone hoping for us to give them some good news soon.”
It’s the eighth day of the strike at the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board involving 370 clerical workers, technicians, custodians, maintenance and office staff.
Representatives at the catholic school board say it's a personnel matter, and declined to comment.