27/09/2020

The full withdrawal of services next Thursday comes as the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has held rotating strikes at select boards across the province

Teachers march outside Market Lane Junior and Senior Public School in Toronto on Jan. 20. 2020.
Fred Lum
Ontarios public elementary teachers and education workers will hold a one-day province-wide strike on Feb. 6 unless a deal is reached with the provincial government, the union says.
The full withdrawal of services next Thursday comes as the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has held rotating strikes at select boards across the province and been on work-to-rule.
In a memo to its members on Monday, ETFO said the province-wide strike next Thursday would be accompanied by a week of rotating strikes at select boards. The union said that one-day rotating strikes and full provincial strikes would occur each week.
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The strike action next week means that the Toronto District School Board, Canadas largest, and the York Region District School Board would be affected both on Thursday with the province-wide strike, and then again next Friday by the rotating strikes.
The memo also said that starting next Monday, ETFO members would not participate in extracurricular activities at any time. Previously, the union had directed members not to participate in extracurricular but only outside of regular school hours.
All the main education unions in the province are involved in some type of job action, from work-to-rule to one-day walkouts, as contract talks stall and tensions with the provincial government escalate.
ETFO is the largest education union in the province with 83,000 members. The full-day strike would most likely shutter all elementary schools and send parents scrambling for childcare.
Sam Hammond, president of ETFO, said in a statement on Monday that he challenged the government to return to the table and address issues.
There is nothing to be gained by Minister [Stephen] Lecce avoiding meaningful and fair contract talks other than further damaging the reputation of the Ford government, Mr. Hammond. Educators and parents are not going to accept the governments deep cuts to public education that only serve to harm the quality of education for generations to come.
In a move that he said was meant to help families cope, Mr. Lecce recently announced that parents will be able to apply for as much as $60 a day for each child in compensation if strikes shut down their children’s elementary school or school-based daycare.
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At issue are class-size increases, mandatory online courses for high-school students, full-day kindergarten, wage hikes and other cost-saving measures.
Mr. Lecce has maintained that the main stumbling block in negotiations has been wages, with the unions asking for a 2-per-cent increase in the face of the government’s wage-cap legislation, meant to limit public-sector pay increases to 1 per cent.
Union leaders, however, have argued that their members are simply asking for cost-of-living increases in line with inflation.
Many school boards, including the Toronto District School Board, said last week that they would not be sending home Term 1 report cards, typically issued in February, because of teacher job action. ETFO told its members in November not to input data electronically for Term 1 report cards, and instead provide principals with a list of marks, or a comment for each section for the kindergarten reports.