Starting Wednesday January 15, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will begin providing the required five-day notice to school boards in anticipation of rotating strikes.
“This is a wake-up call for Ford and his Education Minister Stephen Lecce to get serious about negotiating a deal that supports students and educators,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “We have been clear that, after five months of no progress at the table, we will commence rotating strikes if a deal is not reached by this Friday.”
“It is incredible that as of today, no dates for contract talks have been scheduled by Minister Lecce with ETFO. Should no dates be set, it will be crystal clear that this government’s only mandate is to continue with its damaging cuts to public education.”
Talks have dragged on since August with minimal progress.
But in a press release Lecce says for the last three decades, parents and students have experienced labour strife in education, regardless of the political stripe of the government.
“While I am disappointed in the teacher unions’ continued focus on escalation that hurts our students, our government will remain focused on improving public education and keeping students in class.”
Hammond says “Lecce’s unwillingness to engage in any serious contract talks contradicts everything he has said publicly. This is a government that is treating public education as simply a budget line to find cuts. Ford’s education minister is trying to make education cheaper at the expense of students and their future.”
The union wants to discuss special education resources, protection of Ontario’s Kindergarten program, smaller class sizes, reduction of violent incidents and fair compensation for educators, particularly occasional teachers, early childhood educators, professional support personnel and education support personnel.
ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.