With the beginning of the school year quickly approaching as I write this in the first days of September, ETFO is ever more mindful of how important it is to get school reopening right and to ensure health and safety of both educators and students.
Standing Strong Across Ontario
ETFO educators are in an unprecedented round of bargaining with a government intent on making drastic cuts to public education. Through weeks of protest we have stood by our commitment to our students, our classrooms and our public schools. Educators know that the cuts from Doug Ford’s Conservative government will have lasting impacts on all of our communities, and we have been standing together on picket lines across the province to oppose them. Our solidarity, strength and community alliances are extremely important as we try to move our contract negotiations forward.
We’ve included a roundup of photos from pickets from across the province in this issue of Voice. If you don’t see your local featured here, please go to facebook.com/ETFOprovincialoffice/ for a full round up of photos.
Parent support has been unprecedented in this round of bargaining. Ontario parents know that this government does not have the best interests of students at its heart. They also know that a quality public education system ensures that all Ontario children, regardless of their circumstances or geographic locations, get the public education they deserve and the chance to succeed.
Many ETFO members made inspired and inspiring signs, highlighting that educators take the responsibility of stewardship and protection of the public education system seriously. Nobody knows the public education system or its needs better than the educators who are in classrooms across the province every day.
“We’d rather be in the classroom” was a common sentiment among educators on the picket lines. But all of us know how important it is for us to push back against the Ford Conservative government and to continue to call on them to reverse the cuts.
Over the course of the winter, ETFO staff have been focussed on organizing strike action, which began in late November and has extended over six phases that have included work-to-rule, rotating strikes, full-day withdrawal of services and a coordinated all affiliate one-day strike.