Teachers will strike again this Friday

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Teachers protest in front of MPP Jim McDonell's office last month.

Get ready for more placards - teachers are holding another walkout this Friday.

Members of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario voted last month to stage a political protest this Friday that will include teachers, early childhood educators, professional support personnel and education support personnel (ESP) across Ontario.

Once again the teachers are taking direct aim at Bill 115, a controversial piece of legislation that thhey believe is undemocratic.

"(Education Mininster Laurel Broten) made a deliberate and provocative choice to wipe out the democratic rights of tens of thousands of educators rather than work towards a respectful solution,” said Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Wednesday. "She could have taken our olive branch and waited for a new leader to try and find solutions, but she chose not to."

Bill 115, introduced nearly four months ago, gives the education minister power to impose contracts on Ontario public school teachers until local unions and school boards were able to come to mutual agreements.

"Our members are standing up to say that democratic values must trump party politics in this province," continued Hammond. "What happened to educators must not happen to any other Ontarian. The stain of Bill 115, enacted four months ago this Friday, serves as a permanent reminder of that."

The Upper Canada District School Board is expected to comment on the move later this afternoon.

Ninety-two percent of more than 46,000 members who cast a ballot in December voted in favour of a one-day political protest should the minister impose contracts using Bill 115. She did so on Jan. 3.

"This protest is aimed squarely at the government and education minister, not those school boards who pursued legal collective bargaining with our locals," said Hammond. "It is shameful that the minister tied their hands with the limiting parameters of Bill 115. The government can prorogue the legislature but it can’t prorogue democracy."

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

Organizations: Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, Elementary Teachers

Geographic location: Ontario, Canada

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