Elementary educators begin full day strikes

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Creemore educators joined forces with those at New Lowell Central Public School Monday during a full day strike.
It was the first rotating strike by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) to impact Simcoe County.
The union announced later on Monday that it would ramp up strikes to one full member strike and one rotating strike per week until a deal is reached with the province.
On Feb. 6, all 83,000 ETFO members will be out on a one-day strike. In Simcoe County that would result in strikes on both Feb. 5 and 6, if labour agreements are not reached by the end of January.
“There is nothing to be gained by Minister Lecce avoiding meaningful and fair contract talks other than further damaging the reputation of the Ford government,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond in a news release. “Educators and parents are not going to accept the government’s deep cuts to public education that only serve to harm the quality of education for generations to come.”
“From ETFO’s perspective, fair contract talks must include: appropriate funding for special education; a strategy to address classroom violence; maintaining our internationally recognized kindergarten program; fair hiring practices; class sizes that meet the needs of elementary students; and compensation that keeps up with inflation,” said Hammond.
A joint statement from MPP Doug Downey (Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte), MPP Jill Dunlop (Simcoe North), MPP Andrea Khanjin (Barrie-Innisfil), and MPP Caroline Mulroney (York-Simcoe) said, “We continue to stand up against the withdrawal of services to students in Simcoe County and across the province. Teacher union leaders broke their promise to not adversely impact student learning by withdrawing services for our kids, including EQAO math testing, extracurriculars, and report cards.”
“We recognize the impact of union escalation on families is real. That’s why our government launched its Support for Parents initiative that puts money directly into the pockets of parents.”
As of Jan. 26, the government has received 222,253 applications.
“The immense uptake of our Support for Parents initiative speaks volumes to the level of uncertainty union-led strike action causes,” said MPPs. “For decades, families have faced union job action far too often. Students deserve better, and most importantly, our government believes they deserve to be in class. We will continue our work with one focus: landing deals that keep students in class.”
On Jan. 28, ETFO and negotiating parties for the Ontario government and school boards returned to the table for mediation.
More information on the Support for Parents initiative can be found at ontario.ca/supportforparents or by calling 1-888-444-3770.

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