ETFO members voting en mass on a one-day protest if Bill 115 provisions imposed.

TORONTO, Dec. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Over 45,000 members of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario have already voted on-line on whether to hold a full-day political protest should the Minister of Education impose a collective agreement or end a legal strike using Bill 115 provisions.

Member participation in the vote has been so overwhelming that ETFO has extended the vote by 24 hours to Tuesday December 4th at midnight. By Monday evening, there were no signs of the vote slowing down.

"Through this transparent democratic process, ETFO's 76,000 members will determine how they will respond if the education minister tramples their rights by imposing a collective agreement or ending a legal strike," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "Teachers and education professionals are united in their stand that this government has severely overstepped democratic bounds with Bill 115."

"I am accountable to my members, and they are speaking loudly and clearly," said Hammond. "Why would educators, or any workers in Ontario for that matter, allow this government to willfully suspend employees' fundamental rights  by using legislation that puts itself above the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Ontario Labour Relations Act, and the courts."

Bill 115, passed by the Liberal government with support from the Progressive Conservatives, was made law on September 11, 2012. It gives the minister of education unprecedented powers to end legal strike action, approve all collective agreements, or impose a collective agreement. The law, crafted in part to win by-elections in September, allows no judicial appeal in provincial courts - a tactic rarely if ever used in democracies.

In local votes held earlier this fall, ETFO members overwhelmingly approved strike action. Later this week, ETFO will announce details on commencing one-day strikes in boards across the province. Parents will be given 72 hours' notice of these strikes.

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 Ontario

For further information:

Izida Zorde, ETFO Media Relations- Cell: 416-948-2554, izorde@etfo.org