Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday May 6, 2015
Ontario elementary teachers plan job action Monday
Ontario’s 73,000 public elementary teachers will begin job action on Monday, when they are in a legal strike position.
While a strike is not anticipated — local union districts have been given details about a work-to-rule — it remains one of the options available, says Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, ETFO said its members would be taking unspecified “central strike action” in 32 school boards across the province Monday.
According to an ETFO bulletin obtained by the Star, titled “Strike Protocol: Work-to-Rule — Phase 1,” and sent out to its Toronto members late Monday night, teachers will not take part in any EQAO (standardized testing), write report cards, fill in for absent principals or “conduct any reading, writing or mathematics assessments other than those that the teacher deems necessary to report on student progress.”
Hammond has told the Star that the recent offer on the table from the government and the school boards’ association was “offensive” and contained concessions the union would not consider.
He said if the concessions remained, the union would be “looking at all the options.”
“We are hoping on, or prior to, May 10 that we get substantial movement at the table and we won’t have to move in a direction nobody wants to move in,” he has previously said.
While talks have continued with the help of a mediator, they recently broke off. A union spokesperson said Monday that “ETFO is eagerly awaiting a call from the government that it, and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, are ready to engage in meaningful and substantive bargaining.”
ETFO is the country’s largest teacher union. A strike or job action would affect more than 817,000 elementary school students across the province. (Source: Toronto Star)