January 19, 2020
Toronto, ON – The intransience of the Ford government and Education Minister Lecce to return to the bargaining table has pushed the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) to commence rotating strikes starting Monday.
"For 29 days, Minister Lecce has refused to return to contract talks with ETFO even though we tabled revised proposals in our last session on December 19, 2019," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "We can only assume that the Ford government does not want to discuss key issues for students, student learning and educators in public elementary education. They only want to talk about cuts to public education."
This morning, ETFO also gave the required five-day notice to Bluewater and Ontario North East school boards for strikes on Friday January 24.
"Minister Lecce seems prepared to let his government's demaging cuts to public education proceed instead of taking a responsible approach at the bargaining table. In four months, there has been little discussion on ETFO's proposals for: smaller classes where students get the help they need; more resources for students with special needs; protection of our world-renowned Kindergarten program; and fair compensation for educators," added Hammond.
As previously announced, members in ETFO's Toronto, York Region and Ottawa-Carleton locals will conduct a one-day strike on Monday January 20. Members in Grand Erie, Trillium Lakelands, Renfrew and Superior-Greenstone will strike on Tuesday January 21 and those in Thames Valley, Rainbow and Rainy River will strike on Wednesday January 22. Members in Avon Maitland, Halton, Niagara and Lakehead will strike on Thursday January 23.
"We continue to urge the Minister to get back to the table to discuss the critical issues that parents and educators care about."
In November, 98% of ETFO members gave their union a strong mandate for central strike action should it be needed during ETFO's central bargaining negotiations. ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.
For further information, contact:Bluewater locals: Denise Hammond, Strike Coordinator, Cell: 416-948-2428, firstname.lastname@example.org Ontario North East locals: Evelyn McGrogan, Strike Coordinator, Cell: 905-518-5499, email@example.com ETFO Provincial Media Relations: Valerie Dugale, 416-948-0195, firstname.lastname@example.org