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Elementary School Teachers to Stage a Province-Wide Walkout on Friday

Public schools are expected to be forced to close for the day.

Photo by {a href=""}Miss T{/a}, from the {a href=""}Tornotoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

Public elementary school teachers, early childhood educators, and some education support personnel will stage a day-long, province-wide walkout on Friday, according to a press release issued earlier today by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. The job action comes after the provincial government imposed new contracts on elementary and secondary teachers using powers granted to it under Bill 115. That was on January 3.

The walkout, according to the Star, will cause public schools to close down for the day.

Participants in the walkout will be protesting what ETFO sees as an undemocratic negotiation process that has saddled their members with unfair employment contracts. “Our members are standing up to say that democratic values must trump party politics in this province,” ETFO president Sam Hammond is quoted as saying in the press release. “What happened to educators must not happen to any other Ontarian. The stain of Bill 115, enacted four months ago this Friday, serves as a permanent reminder of that.”

Provincial Education Minister Laurel Broten has said that, now that contracts are in place, teachers are no longer in a legal strike position. This would make a work stoppage on Friday illegal.

CLARIFICATION: January 10, 2013, 10:45 AM This post should have noted that the ETFO maintains that their planned job action is legal, because, they claim, it’s protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


  • Walter Lis

    Illegal strike = decertify the union

    • Testu

      Not even close.

      An illegal strike means per member and per local fines for all participating members and locals though. The fines are quite large and will burn through the locals’ savings pretty quickly so this isn’t likely to happen more than once or twice.

      It does help make a point though. This isn’t about money at this point, it’s about whether workers can be forced into contracts by the government whenever negotiations become inconvenient.

  • Ellegee

    Good for them. They shouldn’t go down without a fight.

  • Heather

    This is a very unfortunate decision. While I don’t think the McGuinty gov’t handled this as well as it might have; teachers need to be concerned with the optics. In the end they’re getting the same contract that other teachers negotiated (Catholic/French); they’re getting a pay freeze (which doctors and other public servants have agreed to); and a better deal that many in the private sector are facing.

    Not that’s not an invitation to a ‘race to the bottom’; yes teachers (are) and should be well compensated for quality work; I personally know and deeply respect many.

    But one can not be seen to disrupt the lives of most parents in Ontario, many who are economically disadvantages (poor) and who will struggle paying for daycare or missing a day of work; and will develop a profound distaste for the teacher’s cause as a result.

    Simply put, sometimes you take a ‘loss’ whether or not you feel its fair or right; so that you can preserve past gains, and ‘fight another day’.

    This is one of those times. The last time ‘teachers’ (or their union leadership) targeted the government this way, the deposed Bob Rae and got Mike Harris. That did not to turn out to to be an improvement from their perspective.

    Nor will inadvertently electing Mr. Hudak.

    (something even he would agree with, I think)

    Choose bad, to avoid worse.