Last updated Jan. 31, 2020
Today over 100 teachers, parents, and students stood on the corner of Kerr St. and Rebecca St. in Oakville, ON as part of the rotating strikes organized by Ontario’s teacher’s unions. These strikes, happening across the province this week are demanding that the minister of education, Stephen Lecce, meet the unions at the bargaining table.
The strike group gathered outside of Conservative MPP Stephen Crawford’s office to advocate against changes to Ontario’s education system.
The Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario’s (ETFO) latest job action strike began this morning at Avon Maitland, Halton, Niagara, and Lakehead district school boards.
Displaying their fortitude on a cold and dreary January and with the hope of adding pressure to the government representatives to continue negotiations and contract talks with the various teacher’s unions in the province. Many of the teachers want to get back to the classroom sooner than later.
“We love our jobs, we love working with children, and we love helping them grow and learn […] that’s why we’re here,” said Katie Marie, one of the teachers at the strike.
As of Nov. 26, this action marks the first time in over 20 years that the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) has joined a job action strike. At this time, all four teacher’s unions in the province are participating in the rotating strikes.
This is the first time in over 20 years that all 4 education unions, @AEFO_ON_CA, ETFO, @OECTAProv and @osstf have moved into a legal strike position. We are united and proudly #RedforEd.— Elementary Educators (@ETFOeducators) January 17, 2020
Stand with us to defend public education for the future generation. #onpoli #onted pic.twitter.com/4C9sOkCXGa
According to CTV News and the Canadian Press, “ETFO president Sam Hammond has said the main issues in bargaining include classroom size, more resources for students with special needs, protection of their kindergarten program and fair compensation [for teachers].”
Teachers are saying that cuts to public education are a disservice to the community. While the ETFO is asking for a 2% increase, the Ontario government is only prepared to share an additional 1% increase.
In a statement on Jan. 31, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said “The Government has continued to signal reasonableness on issues from special education supports to efforts to counter violence in schools. Yet, the teachers’ union leadership push for compensation that comes with a substantial cost to the taxpayer. … While the mediator has called off discussions for now, the Government stands ready to meet at any time, to reach a deal that keeps students in class.”
With the strikes in full swing, the Ontario Elementary Teachers Federation have announced another 1-day strike continuing on Friday in Ontario’s North East and Blue Water School Boards.
Lecce’s comments on the strike actions have not provided information on how the government plans to move forward with negotiations.
The Ford government has offered a credit of $60 subsidiaries to compensate for the effects of the strikes on families.