Ontario elementary teachers escalate job action, phase 2 of work-to-rule campaign starts Tuesday

WATCH ABOVE: Travis Dhanraj speaks with Education Minister Stephen Lecce about ongoing negotiations between the province and teachers unions, the government’s consultations on class sizes, compensation, e-learning and more.

Starting Tuesday Dec. 10, elementary teachers in Ontario will be escalating job action, starting phase two of their work-to-rule campaign.

That will see 78,000 teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals with the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario withdraw a number of services, including not planning any new field trips for students.

The escalation comes amid tense negotiations between the province and teachers unions, including ETFO.

Ontario elementary, high school teachers to start work-to-rule campaigns Tuesday

On Friday ETFO president Sam Hammond told thousands of teachers attending federation day: “We can’t change this until this minister of education stops lying to parents and students in the public… stop lying minister.”

Also on Friday the province’s high school teachers escalated their job action, announcing a second one-day strike of some high school teachers this coming Wednesday if a deal is not reached. No talks have been planned.

Negotiations between the province and elementary teachers are set to take place Monday, however both sides seem far apart.

2nd strike planned for some Ontario public high school teachers on Wednesday, union says

Education Minister Stephen Lecce told the media Friday: “student success should never be the causality of union escalation.” The minister has repeatedly said the main sticking point with unions is compensation, something union leadership denies.

Lecce also said Friday: “We’ve made moves, we have stayed at the table. Leadership of teachers unions have dug in their heels because they exist to advance the interest of their members, my job is to fight for your children.”

In addition to services withdrawn as part of phase one of ETFO’s work to rule campaign, an email sent to members indicates they should withdraw the following additional services as of Tuesday:

  • NOT participate in any performance appraisal or evaluation process, unless the member has received a previous unsatisfactory report or is ‘under review’;
  • NOT post success criteria (e.g., anchor charts, learning goals, etc.) in the classroom if directed to do so by an administrator or supervisor;
  • NOT prepare a bulletin board or school display if requested to do so by an administrator or supervisor;
  • NOT plan any new field trips scheduled to occur before June 30, 2020;
  • NOT register for any future Additional Qualification course(s) offered by a school board;
  • NOT serve as ‘Teacher in Charge;’
  • NOT perform any duties that are normally performed by a school administrator or direct supervisor;
  • NOT complete system-level board reports requested by an administrator or supervisor;
  • NOT complete board finance-related documentation (including grant applications) requested by an administrator or supervisor;
  • NOT undertake the role of divisional chair/team lead;
  • NOT attend meetings unless they are scheduled during the instructional day, and release time is provided by an occasional teacher, occasional DECE or an occasional education worker;
  • NOT collect monies or participate in the electronic collection of monies for school-based activities except those for charitable causes;
  • NOT purchase supplies on a member’s own time if requested to do so by an administrator or supervisor;
  • NOT distribute any memos/letters from a school and/or school board;
  • NOT distribute any material related to the legal strike action of another bargaining unit; and
  • NOT participate in any new employee attendance or absence reporting processes, including the submission of medical certificates initiated because of full-withdrawal strike action by another union/bargaining unit.

Saturday, members of multiple unions are scheduled to rally together in downtown Toronto as part of Unifor’s Ontario Regional Council.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias will be joined by Harvey Bischof, President OSSTF, Sam Hammond, President ETFO, Liz Stuart, President OECTA and Smokey Thomas, President OPSEU.

All are expected to speak out against Premier Doug Ford’s governments policies and what they believe are deep cuts to programs and services in the province.

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