PARRY SOUND, ON- Elementary school teachers in the Near North School District are ready to strike, if they have to.
That’s according to the head of the Near North’s Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) branch, Rob Hammond.
The leadership of ETFO recently announced that a countdown has begun as their members are willing to strike against Doug Ford’s government.
As of last Friday, 98 per cent of the union’s members had voted to take action and strike.
ETFO president Sam Hammond has publicly said that the government is failing to negotiate fairly and if this continues, unions members will strike.
According to Rob, the unions have requested a no-board report which starts the 17-day countdown to a possible strike.
Rob also said that the 98 per cent vote is exactly what they expected. “I don’t think anyone is happy with having to take a strike,” said Hammond.
He believed the vote gives a strong message to the government that they are concerned about class sizes, kindergarten models, and fair hiring practices.
As for the possibility of a strike, Rob said that they and their members are prepared if necessary but it doesn’t mean that they will walk off the job.
“It means we can take other types of strike actions without going on a picket line,” he said.
The ETFO represents some 83,000 public elementary teachers, occasional teachers and educational professionals. The union has been critical of the province’s direction on education, which has included increased class sizes, online courses, and reduced funding to schoolboards.