DAN CEARNS The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: Elementary School teachers across Ontario now have limited duties they can perform in the classroom, as they have recently begun to a work to rule campaign.
The action by the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) was announced at a press conference on the afternoon of Friday, May 8.
During what is called phase 1, teachers will no longer be involved with administering or marking EQAO exams, not making any report card comments, as well as not attending any staff or ministry meetings.
However, extracurricular activities such as field trips and sporting events will still continue as planned.
Provincial talks resumed on Monday, May 11, but broke down and the meeting ended early. No new talks have been planned.
“It was our expectation that the government and the Ontario Public School Board Association would remove concessions from the table. That did not happen and the meeting ended at 11,” ETFO President Sam Hammond said in a press release.
Before talks began on Monday, Premier Kathleen Wynne told the legislature she was “pleased to see that ETFO has returned to the central table”.
Local bargaining is set to resume this week. ETFO Durham President Gerard O’Neill said there are two things the Ontario government has asked of them recently that they feel are off base.
“They’re asking that we remove all class size language from our previous agreement. We think they are being disingenuous when they say that,” he told The Standard. “They also want us to give up our prep time. It’s an attack on our professionalism and how we do our job.”
Durham District School Board Chairman Michael Barrett said it was “disappointing” that provincial talks broke off.
“With the continued demand of the full withdrawal of our positions, we do not feel this serves our children well,” Mr. Barrett said in an interview with The Standard.
The ETFO represents over 76,000 teachers across the province. The two sides have been without a deal since August. A province-wide strike by elementary teachers has not been ruled out.
Little progress was made on the local High School teacher negotiations on Friday as the strike has entered its fourth week, with another bargaining session is set for later this week. No further provincial talks between the OSSTF and The Government of Ontario have been scheduled since the two sides failed to reach an agreement on Monday, May 4.
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