Ontario public elementary teachers vote 98 per cent in favour of strike action
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario members have voted 98 per cent in favour of central strike action, said president Sam Hammond in an announcement made this morning.
“Talks have stalled at ETFO’s central bargaining tables,” he said on Nov. 1. “This is a wakeup call from our members to this government to get serious about key issues affecting educators and students including more supports for special education, class size and class structure, fair and transparent hiring practices, and preservation of the current kindergarten program.”
Hammond said it was an “overwhelming mandate,” from ETFO members and that a conciliator would meet with the ETFO and other parties at the central bargaining tables on Nov. 4. No job action has been announced yet.
In response to the ETFO strike vote announcement, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, said in a statement, “While our government has been a reasonable and constructive force at the bargaining table - focused on keeping kids in class - today, ETFO has taken another escalating step towards a strike which will disproportionately hurt our kids.”
Lecce said, “strike action caused by unions could mean school closures, disruption, and uncertainty for students and parents.”
“I support a deal, not a strike,” he said. “Our team remains unequivocal in our determination to land deals with our labour partners as soon as possible to keep our kids in the classroom.”
ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.
Last month, a last-minute deal was reached between the province and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents about 55,000 education workers in the province, averting a full strike poised to proceed on Oct. 7. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, representing 60,000 members, is holding strike votes from Oct. 22 to Nov. 15. The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association representing 45,000 teachers is holding strike votes this month.