Aug 15, 2013
By Andy Johnson
Ontario’s public school teachers say they’re eager to get back to the classroom but say they won’t lay down in the face of renewed contract talks with the province. Sam Hammond, who heads the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, says his union will be a “force to be reckoned with ” if teacher’s rights come under attack during the bargaining process. His counterpart at the Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers’ Federation, Paul Elliott, says his members are also eager to get back to work, but, a cloud is hanging over them because only eight school boards have implemented the new agreement with the province. Elliot adds that morale will fall further if the agreement isn’t implemented right across Ontario.
The unions agreed to deals earlier this year after months of labour disruptions including teachers stopping participating in extracurricular activities to protest the imposition of the contracts and a two-year wage freeze. New contract talks are scheduled for next year because the existing deals, which are applied retroactively, expire next August.