The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will release the results of its province-wide strike votes on Friday, amid rising labour tensions between teachers’ unions and the province.
ETFO, which represents 83,000 public elementary teachers, occasional teachers and educational professionals, conducted the votes during the months of September and October.
Over the past two months, ETFO has also been holding mass meetings with its members to discuss central bargaining issues. In mid-October, the union filed for conciliation after negotiations at its central bargaining tables had stalled.
“Members were asked to demonstrate their support for ETFO bargaining priorities,” the union said in a news release on Thursday.
The results of the strike votes will be released at 10:30 a.m.during a news conference at the union’s provincial office at Isabella Street, the union says.
ETFO and other major education unions have been critical of the government’s overall direction since it took power in June of 2018, including recent moves to increase class sizes for Grade 4 and higher, mandate e-learning courses and reduce per-student funding to boards.
Contracts with a number of education sector unions expired Aug. 31 and negotiations are currently at various stages.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce has previously called on all parties to reach a deal as soon as possible “to provide predictability and confidence to parents, students and educators alike.”
ETFO said more support for students with special needs, reducing class size at the elementary level, supports to address the growing problem of classroom violence, and job security, were among its bargaining priorities.
Protection of Ontario’s internationally recognized Kindergarten program, and the preservation of fair and transparent hiring practices will also figure prominently on the union’s agenda for the negotiations with the province and school boards.