Yesterday, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) voted in favour of possible strike action, and now the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is announcing that it’
Yesterday, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) voted in favour of possible strike action, and now the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is announcing that it’s preparing its members for work-to-rule action in the coming days.
ETFO members also voted overwhelmingly in favour of possible job action earlier this month and will be in a legal strike position as of Nov. 25.
Starting today, the ETFO will begin preparing members for a work-to-rule strike action that will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 26, the ETFO said in a statement.
The union says action targets the Ministry of Education and school board administrative tasks and will not impact on students.
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“We are making this known well in advance to assure parents that this strike action will not affect students, their learning or their safety,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond in a statement.
“ETFO members will be withdrawing from Ministry and school board administrative activities, which will give them more time to focus on working with students.”
Conflicts between teachers’ unions and the province have been escalating in recent weeks.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) will also be in a legal strike position as of next Monday, meaning three major unions are threatening job action.
“Our goal is to turn up the heat on Premier [Doug] Ford and his education minister, Stephen Lecce. It’s critical that they finally come to contract talks prepared to address the real issues of concern: more supports for students with special needs, the protection of Ontario’s Kindergarten program and critical issues like addressing violence in schools,” Hammond said.
Hammond says the government has provided nothing but “evasive non-answers” regarding teachers’ concerns during negotiations.
“Parents, teachers and education professionals know that the government’s agenda of cuts, not investment, in public education is harmful to our students’ education and future. We’re taking the legal steps available to us to get a better deal that supports our members and students and helps preserve Ontario’s world-class education system,” Hammond said.
“With an overwhelming strike mandate of 98 per cent from voting members announced November 1, ETFO is mobilizing its teacher and education worker members for work-to-rule strike action in 12 days. We are holding meetings with school stewards across the province to ensure they are ready to take on leadership roles in their schools and worksites around work-to-rule.”
After ETFO announced it was moving forward with possible strike action at the beginning of the month, the province expressed disappointment.
“While our government has been a reasonable and constructive force at the bargaining table – focused on keeping kids in class – today, ETFO has taken another escalating step towards a strike which will disproportionately hurt our kids,” Lecce said in a Nov. 1 news release.
“Strike action caused by unions could mean school closures, disruption, and uncertainty for students and parents. I support a deal, not a strike. Our team remains unequivocal in our determination to land deals with our labour partners as soon as possible to keep our kids in the classroom.”
More to come.