Cornwall Hearing, Cornwall, Ontario

Public elementary teachers could escalate work-to-rule Monday

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By Nick Seebruch
Public elementary teachers could escalate work-to-rule Monday

ONTARIO – The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) have announced that they would escalate work-to-rule action as early as Monday, Jan. 13.

In a press release, the ETFO said that their teachers would not participate in extra-curricular activities or facilitate field trips. In case of school assemblies, teachers would only be providing supervision for their students and nothing more. According to the union, their members also would not be showing up to work more than 30 minutes early and would be leaving within 15 minutes of the end of the day.

“In six months of contract talks, the Ford government’s education minister has given his negotiators no mandate to discuss anything other than cuts to education including a $150 million cut to public elementary education,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “That’s why there has been negligible progress on substantive issues like supports for Special Education, protecting the Kindergarten model, addressing classroom-based violence and compensation that keeps up with the cost of inflation.”

The ETFO is only one of the teacher unions that are currently fighting with their employers and the province for new contracts.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) has been holding rolling one-day strikes across the province.

“Parents have been clear: strikes by unions hurt kids and investments should go to support student success, not towards enhanced compensation,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “We agree with Ontario parents. This is why we will continue to vigorously champion the interests of students and seek stability for parents in 2020, who are frustrated and tired of the union-led escalation that began in 2019. This continued strike action is unfair to students and their families.”

ETFO President Sam Hammond accused Lecce of focusing on rhetoric instead of the best interest of Ontario students.

“Contract talks are not being helped by Ford’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce making public announcements that misrepresent what his team is doing at the bargaining table,” Hammond claims. “The disconnect is so great that we’re left shaking our heads. Minister Lecce claims in public that there will be no changes to the Kindergarten model, but refuses to make that commitment during bargaining. The Minister claims salary is the main sticking point in bargaining, yet it’s been a topic that has received hardly any discussion over months of bargaining.”

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