The following ETFO media release was issued on September 14, 2015.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is rejecting the Liberal government’s ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to reaching a deal, saying that the government and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association need to return to the table and bargain with ETFO.
“Premier Wynne wants to impose another union’s deal on ETFO. She wants to impose a quick deal, not a reasonable deal for elementary teachers to help Mr. Trudeau’s chances in the federal election,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond today.
“ETFO is not prepared to accept a flawed deal that does not address our members’ needs and the needs of public elementary students in the long term, just to increase the Liberal Party’s chances in October’s federal election.”
“A student who is six years old has different educational needs than a student who is sixteen. Anyone with children knows that’s true. As a result, elementary teachers’ working needs will be different than secondary teachers, so the imposition of a cookie-cutter deal just won’t work.”
Last Friday afternoon, the Liberal government and the OPSBA abruptly broke off talks and walked away from the central bargaining table.
“The government’s action smacks of the same tactics that the Liberal government used in imposing Bill 115 on our members in 2012. As we said then, it is our democratic right to bargain and the democratic rights of our members cannot be taken away because of political expediency,” said Hammond
Hammond said that ETFO is waiting for the government and OPSBA to pick up the phone and return to the table as soon as possible. He also stressed that the issues under discussion at the central table are related to teacher working conditions and student learning conditions, not salary.
“We are prepared to escalate our strike action if there is no change on the part of the government and OPSBA. Members have been very public in their support for the action in their schools and social media, which is a clear demonstration of their resolve to achieve an agreement that meets their needs and the needs of their students.”
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.