By Colin Burrowes
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) have provided notice that Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) will be included in the next round of provincial strike action planned for Friday, Jan. 24.
ETFO teachers will be participating in a one-day, full withdrawal of services, which will significantly impact the operation of our elementary schools.
In order to ensure the safety and well-being of students, BWDSB have determined that, unless a provincial collective agreement is reached by that time, schools will be closed to elementary students on Friday. Secondary school exams, which are scheduled to begin on this date, will not be impacted by the ETFO strike.
Third-party child care centres will remain open, however, parents/guardians should be prepared for the possibility of crossing picket lines. Community education programs will continue to run on Friday evening.
In the event of a provincial agreement being reached with ETFO prior to Jan. 24, all BWDSB elementary schools will be open to students as usual.
Parents are encouraged to monitor the BWDSB Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as the labour web page at www.bwdsb.on.ca/parents/Labour_Updates.
“For 29 days, Minister Lecce has refused to return to contract talks with ETFO even though we tabled revised proposals in our last session on Dec. 19,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “We can only assume that the Ford government does not want to discuss key issues for students, student learning and educators in public elementary education. They only want to talk about cuts to public education.”
In November, 98% of ETFO members gave their union a strong mandate for central strike action should it be needed during ETFO’s central bargaining negotiations. ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public-school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.