June 5, 2019
Toronto – In an extraordinary attack on collective bargaining and workers, legislation proposed today by the Conservative government blatantly violates the democratic rights of public sector workers, including educators, to negotiate freely.
"The Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act is an abusive use of power that interferes with collective agreements and further devalues public sector workers," said Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO). "Just two days after ETFO filed notice to bargain, even before our first meeting, this Government is bullying our members to dictate an outcome it hopes to achieve."
The proposed Bill seeks to handcuff all public sector workers and trample on the ability of unions to negotiate improvements by imposing a one per cent limit on compensation for the next three years.
ETFO believes that this legislation is a direct affront to bargaining and the teaching profession. It is a particularly egregious attack on occasional teachers, designated early childhood educators, education support personnel and professional support personnel who are among the lowest paid educators in the system. The union called upon the government to "negotiate not legislate."
Hammond said, "Parents, families and students understand that educators in Ontario are vital to providing a high-quality public education for every student. This is especially true in this climate of deep cuts to education, increasing class sizes, removing thousands of teaching positions and reducing front-line supports for students with special needs."
ETFO said that Ontario has a revenue problem not a spending problem. "It is unreasonable to force workers to pay for this government's poor choices like corporate tax cuts and accessible beer," added Hammond.
ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at www.BuildingBetterSchools.ca.