Statement on partial closure of IFS Toronto school
August 23, 2017
In May 2017, the 35 teachers at the Islamic Foundation School of Toronto voted to join the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 175.
Since that time, the Union has attempted to bargain in good faith with the employer.
Last Saturday, the employer contacted the parents of students to inform them that it would close the grades 9 to 12 portion of the school as a result of the teachers joining a Union. The employer took this disturbing action with no notice to the Union and only two weeks’ notice to parents. It means 150 children have to find a new school and approximately 10 teachers will lose their jobs.
The Union believes that this is a reprisal for having to bargain with their employees.
“It’s upsetting and petty for this employer to put the children in this community at risk rather than treat their employees with dignity and respect,” said Shawn Haggerty, President of UFCW Local 175. “It’s clear this employer is anti-Union and will do whatever it takes to prevent their employees from exercising their legal rights.”
UFCW Local 175 will pursue every legal action possible to prevent the closure of the school, the expulsion of these children, and the termination of these employees.
“These teachers want what’s best for their community and to take care of the children they see every school day,” said Haggerty. “Their work is important. In return, what they want in their Union contract is simple: Improved benefits, job security, better health and safety and wages, and respect and dignity at work.”
The Union and the teachers are ready for the employer to meet at the bargaining table to negotiate a fair collective agreement. To date, the employer has stated it is too busy to bargain, has restricted its availability, and cancelled future bargaining dates. The Union has not taken a strike mandate nor set a deadline at this time.
UFCW Locals 175 & 633 represent over 70,000 workers across multiple sectors in Ontario including teachers at two other Islamic schools.
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