Public elementary teachers to stage one-day protest this Friday

Political protest against Bill 115 supported overwhelmingly by majority of ETFO members

TORONTO, Jan. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Based on a solid majority vote taken in December, ETFO teachers, designated early childhood educators (DECEs), professional support personnel (PSP), and education support personnel (ESP) across Ontario will stage a one-day political protest this Friday aimed at the government and education minister for invoking Bill 115.

"The minister made a deliberate and provocative choice to wipe out the democratic rights of tens of thousands of educators rather than work towards a respectful solution," said Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO). "She could have taken our olive branch and waited for a new leader to try and find solutions, but she chose not to."

"Our members are standing up to say that democratic values must trump party politics in this province. What happened to educators must not happen to any other Ontarian. The stain of Bill 115, enacted four months ago this Friday, serves as a permanent reminder of that."

Ninety-two percent (92%) of over 46,000 members who cast a ballot in December voted in favour of a one-day political protest should the minister impose contracts using Bill 115. She did so on January 3rd.

"This protest is aimed squarely at the government and education minister, not those school boards who pursued legal collective bargaining with our locals. It is shameful that the minister tied their hands with the limiting parameters of Bill 115. The government can prorogue the legislature but it can't prorogue democracy."

"It is disingenuous for Minister Broten to say that the government has not been able to communicate with the rank and file members of our Federation," added Hammond. "Our members have heard her, and have responded - not just with the one-day protest vote. They spoke with huge majorities in two other votes to protest Bill 115 when it was enacted last fall."

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:

Valerie Dugale, ETFO Media Relations- Cell: 416-948-0195, vdugale@etfo.org