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'Get our message out': Striking Catholic teachers picketing at 3 high-traffic locations Tuesday

OECTA reps say they chose not to picket at schools because their issue isn't with the school board

Local English Catholic teachers say they'll be picketing at three high-traffic locations in Greater Sudbury during a one-day strike Jan. 21.

Members of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) are engaging in a one-day strike across the province Tuesday as part of a labour dispute with the province.

The Sudbury Catholic District School Board has cancelled all classes Jan. 21 in response.

The teachers will be picketing from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the following locations: the corner of Regent Street and Long Lake Road (the Four Corners) in the South End, the corner of The Kingsway and Barrydowne Road in New Sudbury, and the corner of Main Street and Highway 69 North in Valley East.

Both Sudbury MPP Jamie West and Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas say they plan to visit the teachers on the picket lines Tuesday.

Franco Rocca, acting president of the OECTA secondary unit in Sudbury, said his members chose not to picket at schools because their issue is with the actions of the province, not the school board.

“This is not something to do with our school boards — this is strictly a provincial matter,” he said.

“We're trying to go out to the spots where we feel we might get the most exposure and get our message out.”
Chantal Rancourt, president of the OECTA elementary unit, said the union has received a lot of support from parents.

“They understand the battle is much bigger than missing a day or two of school,” she said.

“The cuts that are being presented are going to affect our students much more significantly if we don't try to stop them.”

Class is also out for elementary students with the Rainbow District School Board on Wednesday, as a rotating strike by members of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) hits the board Jan. 22.

Check back to in the coming days as we provide coverage of the strike action by both unions.