ETFO reaches deal, high school teachers take strike action
By Angelica Ingram
Elementary school teachers reached a tentative deal with the province, announced on Monday, Nov. 2.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario issued a release advising its members to suspend strike action in light of the tentative agreement that had been reached with the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and the government.
“This round of bargaining has been exceptionally lengthy and difficult but in the end we achieved a tentative agreement that ETFO believes is fair and meets the needs of our members,” said ETFO president Sam Hammond in the release.
A Nov. 1 deadline imposed by the provincial government saw ramped up negotiations between ETFO and the province that lasted multiple days. Negotiations between ETFO and the province began last September, as teachers have been without a contract since Aug. 31, 2014.
Details of the tentative agreement are not being released until members and local presidents have had a chance to review it.
An all-member vote on the agreement will be conducted, with results expected sometime mid-November, according to ETFO.
“ETFO’s bargaining team will continue central table negotiations on behalf of its designated early childhood educators, education support personnel and professional support personnel,” reads the release.
Elementary teachers had recently entered into phase 3 of a work-to-rule action, which saw them withdraw from all voluntary extra-curricular activities and not issue fall progress reports.
Premier Kathleen Wynne had given ETFO until Nov. 1 to reach an agreement or else teachers’ salaries would be docked.
ETFO represents 78,000 elementary education workers.
On Nov. 5 the local of the Ontario Secondary Schools Teacher Federation (OSSTF) initiated strike action in Trillium Lakelands District School Board high schools, according to the board.
“Among other things, this means that TLDSB secondary teachers will not be attending staff meetings or professional development. They will not accept any positions of responsibility or distribute documents for the board or the school to students. They will however, complete report cards but with no comments,” says the board in a media release on their website.
According to TLDSB, OSSTF ratified a collective central agreement on Sept. 18, however school boards are still negotiating with its members at the local level.
TLDSB trustee Louise Clodd told the Echo that talks between the board and OSSTF last took place on Nov. 4, with no future date set to come back to the table. The trustee said it was OSSTF that broke off negotiations.
“We’re disappointed that we’ve not been able to come to an agreement or continue to negotiate with our local OSSTF,” said Clodd.
The trustee said secondary school classrooms are operating as usual, including extra-curriculars.
“TLDSB is monitoring the situation and keeping in touch with boards that are in a similar situation in other parts of the province,” says the board.
Haliburton Highlands Secondary School is still open during the strike action.