Stripping of collective bargaining rights for teachers a dangerous precedent for Ontario workers
TORONTO, Aug. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - Legislation that would take away the collective bargaining rights of educators is unnecessary and will set a dangerous precedent for eroding the rights of all public service workers, according to Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
"This legislation goes far beyond any wage restraint or back-to-work legislation ever enacted in Ontario.
It has potentially negative implications on sectors beyond education that also engage in lawful bargaining," said President Hammond.
"There is no real reason for this legislation," said Hammond. "For its own political gain, the government has manufactured a crisis to justify its actions. The Minister has tried to manipulate the public by claiming this legislation is necessary to save the school year. That is simply not the case. The school year doesn't need saving. Each of us here has said, and school boards have confirmed, that this school year will begin as school years always have. Despite these assurances from both the unions and the school boards, the Minister insists on misleading parents."
"The content of this legislation is alarming," said Hammond. "It bans lawful collective bargaining activities in the education sector for two -- and possibly three - years. It seeks to put the actions of this government beyond the review of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, outside the reach of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and even above the courts."
"One thing everyone should understand is that whatever the real target is, you can't take hundreds of millions of dollars out of education and pretend it will have no impact on schools," warned Hammond."
"It's not too late for this government to set aside this destructive legislation, live up to its own words and actually put students first," concluded Hammond.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.
SOURCE: Elementary Teachers' Federation of OntarioFor further information:
Lisa Mastrobuono, ETFO Collective Bargaining Communications: Cell: 416-200-3674