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Catholic board, union continue to negotiate

 Niagara Falls Review/Postmedia Network

Negotiations between the Catholic school board and union representatives continue Sunday to try and avoid a lockout set for Monday.

The Niagara Catholic District School Board and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association Niagara Elementary Unit are working to reach a new contract for 800 elementary teachers.

The school board posted a labour negotiations update to its website this weekend.

“There have been a significant number of exchanges over the last three days and both parties have work to do,” read the update, posted at 12:40 a.m. Saturday.

“Parties will resume bargaining Sunday morning. We will continue to keep our families informed through negotiations updates on this website and through an electronic message to all families.”

In an earlier update, the board said the two sides were continuing to negotiate with the assistance of a provincially appointed mediator.

In a recent published story about the negotiations, board chair Rev. Paul MacNeil said the board has a 60-page contingency plan that will be enacted if a lockout does occur.

He said the board’s top priority is the safety of the board’s 14,700 elementary students, while keeping it “minimally disruptive.”

Although no curriculum-based classes will be taught if a lockout does occur, the schools will remain open.

The board also asked parents to make alternative arrangements for day care, if possible.