The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) are set to continue week two of rotating strikes, having sent the five-day required strike notice for Durham, Durham Catholic Algoma and the Lambton-Kent school boards for Thursday January 30.
“Minister Lecce is wrong when he says our strike action is about money,” stated Sam Hammond, ETFO president, in a press release.
“Ask any ETFO educator and they will tell you that lack of supports for children with special needs, large class sizes and the violent incidents occurring in classrooms due to lack of supports for students with unique learning needs are the reasons they are willing to go on strike.”
Hammond added: “These were the bargaining priorities that our members asked ETFO to pursue in a province-wide survey sent to them last year.”
Hammond said ETFO is “very disappointed” that Lecce has not come back to the bargaining table to negotiate key issues affecting students, student learning and educators.
“It is now 37 days since ETFO’s last bargaining session on December 19, 2019,” he said.
“I am concerned at the amount of disinformation that Minister Lecce is saying to the public through the media and social media. Either he is misinformed about what has taken place during contract talks or he is purposefully sharing inaccurate information to cover up the continuing cuts he wants to make to public education.”
Lecce said yesterday the province is prioritizing “student investment over compensation.”
— Stephen Lecce (@Sflecce) January 24, 2020
Earlier this month, Lecce said families face union escalation far too often.
“It’s time for union leaders to end the games and the cyclical experience of escalation that hurts Ontario students,” the Minister said in a press release.
“Union leaders promised that their escalation would not impact students and their learning. Regrettably, they have again broken that promise, however we will uphold our commitment to parents, to stay at the bargaining table and work as hard as it takes to reach a deal, that keeps students in class.”
Lecce added: “We have delivered a ratified deal, and most recently a tentative deal, with education unions to date, and we are working to deliver further agreements that achieve our priority of keeping students in class.”