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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Elementary Teachers' Say Little Has Changed In Talks For New Contract

Huron-Perth | by Fadi Didi  

ETFO Avon Maitland spokesperson says province more interested in "privatizing healthcare" than reaching deal with teachers.

Job action is ramping up for public elementary teachers across Huron and Perth counties.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) ramped up a work-to-rule campaign this week, which involves not supervising extracurricular activities, or taking part in field trips.

This is in addition to earlier job action, where unionized elementary teachers agreed to no longer distribute letters or memos from schools and school boards.

ETFO will also be launching a one-day strike on January 20th, a day earlier than their counterparts with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA).

President of the Avon Maitland Teachers' Local of ETFO, Kent Cleland, says the union has seen no movement from the province, since work action was proposed in the Fall of 2019.

Cleland tells Country 104.9 News "there is no focus on making education cheaper," adding the province is more interested in "privatizing education."

He cites a Toronto Star report of a leaked document, suggesting the Doug Ford Progressive Conservatives will continue to reduce funding to school boards, while raising the number of required online courses, or e-learning programs.

The leak document suggests, according to The Star, Ontario's online curriculums could then be marketed to students outside the province for a profit.

As for where work action may go if a contract is not reached in the near future, Cleland says there are additional measures ETFO could take, but little time is spent contemplating future escalation.

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