ETFO members prepare to meet amid work stoppage this fall

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About 800 members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) are meeting this week at a downtown hotel to debate and vote on policies and directions for the upcoming school year.

Hundreds of public elementary school teachers descended on Toronto for their annual reunion amid a potential work stoppage this fall.

About 800 members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) are meeting this week at a downtown hotel to debate and vote on policies and directions for the upcoming school year. They are also likely to get an update on contract negotiations with the province.

The current agreement is due to expire on August 31, just days before students return to class on September 6.

Union officials have previously said they are seeking bigger increases to meet the rising cost of inflation.

Premier Doug Ford said teachers can expect to get increases above the 1% cap his government imposed when it took office, but that came with a caveat.

“Their increase is going to be over one percent, it won’t be exorbitant but it will be very fair to everyone,” Ford said. “We fully understand inflation, we fully understand that the cost of living is going up, but my message to the teachers’ union is one thing: These kids need to be back in school in September and they need to be back in school. school with extracurricular activities.”

Teachers’ unions noted, in response, that after-school programs are voluntary for teachers.

ETFO President Karen Brown said any disruption would likely come much later in the school year.

“It’s a long process. The talks don’t break down and then we go to the picket lines,” Brown told CityNews. “Our members want – parents want, students want – stability in the system. So that really means working at the table to get the best deal for our members.

ETFO represents approximately 83,000 members, including public elementary teachers, substitute teachers, designated early childhood educators, educational support staff and professional support staff.

OSBCU calls for strike votes

Earlier this month, the CUPE-Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU), which represents school board office workers, teacher’s aides, library workers, custodians, ECE workers and other support staff, has asked its members to hold a strike vote no later than August 22. This means a possible work interruption from the second week of school in most school boards.

In his proposal submitted to provincial negotiatorsthe OSBCU is asking for significant wage increases of at least $3.25 an hour for each year of the new contract as well as minimum staffing requirements, a designated early childhood educator for each kindergarten class, and $100 million to create between 1,500 and 1,700 new jobs. .

Lecce called on CUPE to suspend any strike votes, noting that talks between the two parties have been “productive.”

“Let’s be clear about the collective bargaining process. If a union holds a strike vote, that does not mean there is a strike. In fact, the negotiations are still continuing,” read a tweet sent by ETFO on Friday while calling on Lecce to “stop fearmongering and attacking [education] unions”.

Files from The Canadian Press and Shauna Hunt were used in this report.

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