With contracts expiring at the end of August, this issue of Voice focuses on collective bargaining. It includes features that reflect on the education consultations ETFO has participated in over the past year since the Ford government was elected, unpack what happens at the local and provincial bargaining tables and consider how to speak up for collective bargaining on social media. It also includes an interview with three local leaders.
Bargaining to build better schools for our students and create better working conditions for our members is at the centre of what we do as an organization. While we participated in more consultations this year than ever before in ETFO’s history, it is clear – as Federico Carvajal writes in his column – that the government is not listening. As President Hammond writes in his column, the Ford government has amply demonstrated what they are about, but ETFO is prepared for any challenges this government may put in the way of collective bargaining.
Organizing with parents and mobilizing ETFO members is a significant way that we push back against the Ford Government’s regressive policies. In Parents Standing with Teachers, Organizing to Build Strong Alliances and Deep Connections, Nigel Barriffe, Yolanda B’Dacy and Helen Victoros stress the importance of community connections and the power of collective bargaining to push for a common good. In Planning a Rally at Your Local MPP’s Office, Michaela Kargus and Carolyn Proulx-Wootton offer practical tips for organizing in your community and bringing the issues to the attention of your MPP.
In Class Size Matters: Why I’m Fighting Any Increases, Kimberly Veneziale reflects on how teaching a class of 32 students affects the experience and quality of their education. “There were days when I didn’t even get to have a conversation with some of my students,” she writes. “The foundation of good teaching has always been relationships. How will my students feel valued if I don’t even get to talk to them, individually, as people and not simply as a member of a giant unit.”
These features, along with a round-up of ETFO’s August Annual Meeting, reviews and our crossword, are sure to get your school year off to a great start!
– Izida Zorde