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Union representing Ontario’s elementary teachers to conduct central strike votes, says talks with government have stalled

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will will hold in-person meetings to conduct central strike votes, given the lack of progress made at bargaining with the government, the union said in a media release on Monday.

The all-member meetings to address the bargaining issues will be held across the province from mid-September to mid-October, the release said.

In November last year, thousands of education workers went on a province-wide strike following a decision by the Ford government to impose a 4-year contract on them – and prevent them from going on strike.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) had been arguing for an 11.7 per cent increase, equalling about $3.25 more an hour for educators. In a tentative agreement reached between CUPE and the provincial government in December, an increase of $1 hourly wage, or about 3.59 per cent annually was decided, ending the strike.

However, the other unions that make up the province’s education sector have remained without a new contract, which includes Ontario’s main four teachers’ unions.

ETFO, one of the four unions, said that bargaining has stalled. The union said that the government has refused to discuss important issues like “improved supports for students with special needs, violence in schools, compensation, fair and transparent hiring practices, workload and working conditions, and smaller class sizes.”

“ETFO members have been without an agreement for almost a year,” ETFO President Karen Brown said in the release. The union maintained that they want to reach an agreement without having to take “job actions,” hinting that ETFO educators would be returning for the new school year.

Earlier this month, ETFO filed a complaint with the Ontario’s labour tribunal, accusing the Ford government of failing to bargain in good faith over the release of an education memo last month.

Rahat Sandhu
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