NO BIG GOODBYE: Catholic teachers’ union forbids members from year-end activities

Teachers helping students retrieve belongings or taking part in year-end goodbyes and grad ceremonies are violating work-to-rule job action, union dictates

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They won’t even get an end-of-year goodbye.

Elementary students are the big losers as a labour battle rages between the city’s Catholic school board and the Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers’ Union (TECT.)

The union has ordered teachers not to help students with anything — including removing belongings from schools, no meet-and-greets and even year-end goodbyes are now forbidden.

“Some principals are requesting/directing members to oversee the pick up of student belongings and a meet-and-greet/goodbye to students,” the union wrote to members in what it described as an urgent memo.

“This is a clear violation of the current TECT work-to-rule sanctions”

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The memo continued: “These actions may also jeopardize not only your health and safety, but that of your students, colleagues and families.”

The union and the TCDSB are not talking, as a labour agreement appears out of reach.

“You will be in violation of our work-to-rule sanctions,” the union’s message continued, “should you plan, participate in or attend any ‘Meet-and-Greet’, ‘drive-by’, year-end celebrations, graduations or any such activities.”

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The tough line comes as the board has just dumped summer literacy and math classes.

It blames the work-to-rule.

In a text to parents Tuesday afternoon, the board wrote, “You are receiving this message as you recently applied to register your child in the TCDSB Literacy/Numeracy Summer School program … Unfortunately due to the ongoing Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers work-to-rule actions we are no longer able to offer this program as TCDSB teachers are unable to participate.”

The board reiterated that position in a statement Wednesday.

Education Director Brendan Browne stated in his last labour update to parents on May 20 that “… academic programing will continue to be delivered to our students, during this work-to-rule action. We expect that the daily activities of our students during remote learning will not be affected.”

But remote summer classes are now scrapped.

Browne has a previously scheduled question-and-answer session Friday with parents, live on Facebook and YouTube, and he may face questions about the board’s move.

The union – which did not respond to the Sun’s requests for comment — launched their work-to-rule campaign on May 25.

Among services for parents and students that are nixed include providing comments on report cards, participating in school graduation ceremonies or yearbook activities and not participating in grade-to-grade transition meetings.


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