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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="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tatawnawana/7305269612/"}Miss T{/a}, from the {a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/torontoist/pool/"}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.

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