Majority of elementary teachers send education minister a message: One-day political protest will follow for invoking Bill 115

TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - A solid majority of public elementary teachers across Ontario have voted in favour of a one-day political protest in the event that the Minister of Education uses draconian provisions of Bill 115 to shut down legal strikes or impose a collective agreement.

"ETFO teachers, occasional teachers, education support personnel, professional support personnel, and designated early childhood educators are saying they will lead the protest against Bill 115 if the education minister denies them their fundamental rights," said Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

Ninety-two percent (92%) of over 46,000 members who cast a ballot voted in favour of a one-day political protest. Voting was conducted online from December 2-4.

"This vote affirms once again that it is our members who determine their actions through democratic processes, contrary to Minister Broten's derogatory comments about union leaders this week," added Hammond. "It is unfortunate that her government crafted a law that allows no judicial appeal in the provincial courts - a tactic rarely if ever used in democracies. Our members have been left with little recourse but to choose a political protest."

"Bill 115 is an affront to the fundamental rights not only of educators but of all Ontarians. By this vote, our members are saying they are prepared to stand up for democracy."

The law gives the education minister unprecedented powers to end a legal strike, approve all collective agreements, or impose a collective agreement. It also imposes strict, and impossible, parameters to achieve fair collective agreements at the local level.

Earlier this fall, ETFO members voted to approve strike action by majorities of 92% to 100% if local agreements could not be reached. As a result, many ETFO members are currently engaged in work-to-rule strikes.  Details of one-day strikes to start in school boards next week will be announced shortly.

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

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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