May 8, 2015
Media Release: ETFO Strike Action Starting Monday Targets Education Ministry, Not Students
The following media release was issued by ETFO on May 8, 2015.
Teacher and occasional teacher (OT) members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will begin “phase 1” work-to-rule strike action this Monday, May 11 by withdrawing from Ministry of Education initiatives, including EQAO testing. The work-to-rule will affect all 32 of Ontario’s English public school boards.
ETFO’s 73,000 teacher and OT members will remain in schools to carry out their instructional duties with students, provide extra help to students and maintain contact with parents. Teacher voluntary extra-curricular activities and scheduled field trips will continue for the duration of the phase 1 work-to-rule. The strike action is incremental in nature and will continue until bargaining issues are resolved or ETFO deems further actions are required.
“Minister Sandals and her government have been willing partners with the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) in making demands that would unravel a decade of progress in creating a strong education system and strong teachers,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “ETFO teachers are not prepared to allow increases in class sizes, have their preparation time directed by others, or be micromanaged and have their ability to support student learning compromised.
“After eight months of bargaining, it is entirely disingenuous of Minister Sandals to plead ignorance of how these and other issues have forced us to take this strike action.
“In its first time at the central bargaining table, OPSBA has recklessly demanded numerous concessions and utterly disrespected agreements reached during the last decade of bargaining,” added Hammond.
Starting Monday, ETFO teachers and occasional teachers will cease undertaking EQAO testing with students or related activities, will not prepare report card comments other than providing a class list of marks, and will not participate in any Ministry initiatives and activities.
“The ministry needs the cooperation of our members to achieve its educational aspirations. That cooperation is now withdrawn until the government and OPSBA return to the bargaining table to address the issues that truly matter to students and teachers,” Hammond said.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.