October 17 is Your Central and Local Strike Vote – and Your Vote is Critical!

Dear ETT Members,

October 17 is your central and local Strike Vote – and your vote is critical!

Right up front, I want to address a question that’s been raised many times – Why isn’t our strike vote being held online or at multiple sites?

Your ETT Executive Team hears you, we totally get the challenges in a city like Toronto, and we’ve raised the same questions with ETFO. We passed a motion calling on ETFO to move to online or multiple sites voting – more appropriate in a city like Toronto. We’ve been in frequent dialogue with ETFO’s Executive team and staff, and we’ve brought all of your questions and concerns forward.

We have secured additional supports (more on this below).

However, ETFO’s decision is to maintain the in person, one strike vote location. They announced this plan in August, under their current Negotiations Procedures. Every local in the province with a couple of exceptions in the far north, is holding a one location in person strike vote.

On a go-forward, your ETT Executive will bring a motion to ETFO’s Annual Meeting in August again for online strike votes. We did last year – but ran out of time on the floor.

These are the parameters we’re working in now, and we’re motivated to provide all of the supports we can, to come together and make this work with you as smoothly as possible because….

After more than a year of central bargaining, the stakes are very high and the targets are clear

You and your students deserve and need the best working and learning conditions possible, especially after all you’ve done during a global pandemic to make things work.

Instead, the response from the Government and the Ontario Public School Board Association to what you need in this round of bargaining is appalling.

They’ve tabled strips to your sick leave, health benefits, and professional judgment. They are intent on holding you down to below inflation wage increases of only 1.25% in each of the 4 years of this collective agreement!

They haven’t budged an inch on your key working and student learning conditions concerns – like smaller class sizes, more supports in special education and ELL, the staffing resources necessary to address escalating violent incidents or mental health issues…

And as we begin bargaining with the TDSB in earnest, nothing is more important than them knowing that you are united behind proposals to: address serious workload issues causing stress and burnout, make your schools safer and healthier, provide the time and resources you require to meet your students’ diverse pedagogical needs, and respect your expertise on how your schools best function!

Top 10 Reasons to Vote and to Vote YES on October 17th

☑️ A strong Yes is your key source of bargaining power. Without it, the other side has no reason to seriously negotiate any of the issues you desperately want improved.
☑️ Despite more than a year of bargaining, this Government hasn’t budged. Seeing you and your colleagues stepping it up in massive numbers pressures them to move.
☑️ You only get one strike vote to show the other side the strength of your resolve.
☑️ You’re living every day with the impact of an underfunded, under-resourced status quo and it’s not fair
☑️ You and your students deserve and need so much better
☑️ You want to stop…hybrid; strips to your sick leave, health benefits and professional judgement; 4 more years of below inflation paltry 1.25% wage increases
☑️ The money for the schools your students deserve is there – this Government is sitting on $22 billion in excess funds while stripping out $1200 per student since 2018
☑️ If you want better, you know the only way to win better is solidarity, and people power. You show it through a high participation strike vote.
☑️ After years of trying to make it work with less and less, Enough is Enough!
☑️ Now is our time to collectively fight!

Does Voting Yes automatically mean we will go on strike?

No, this vote does not mean you are automatically going on strike. Strike votes are a normal part of the negotiation process.

Your vote, in concert with the votes of thousands of your colleagues, shows the Government and Employer that you are firmly behind bargaining proposals to improve your working conditions and your students’ learning conditions.

It also shows that you are prepared to take action should this be necessary in the future, but there are many steps to go through before this would occur.

Remember that work to rule is considered strike/job action too – you cannot legally engage in work to rules unless we’ve gone through the legally required processes, including a strike vote.

When the other side sees a strong strike vote mandate from you and your colleagues, they get the most tangible display of the strength of your collective resolve.

It’s the leverage your bargaining team needs to force them to start seriously negotiating.

This is why strong strike vote mandates can actually help to avoid strike action.

Weak participation has the opposite effect. It shows the other side that they don’t need to seriously bargain on your issues, can continue to drag things out, and demand strips (like to your sick leave benefits!) because they believe they can divide and conquer.

What Supports will be Provided to Get to the Vote at Meridian Hall on October 17th?

Your ETT Executive has advocated for and ensured the following supports will be in place:

  • Buses will be arranged from a variety of different locations throughout Toronto. You must register not later than October 11 at 9:00 am.
  • You will be reimbursed for expenses related to child care, kilometrage, and parking, according to ETFO’s internal procedures and parameters
  • If you have medical restrictions/limitations that will impact your ability to participate, contact your Executive Officer. They will provide the ETFO process to follow.

Strike votes end the isolation of struggling to make it work on our own. They build our collective power and demonstrate our strength in numbers.

Let’s show how united and shoulder-to-shoulder we are with our bargaining team to fight for the schools our students deserve!

On October 17th, we’ll see you at Meridian Hall, 1 Front Street. Wear your Red for Ed!

Helen Victoros
President, ETT

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