Public elementary school teachers prepare for job action

The only teachers’ union that hasn’t reached a deal with the province is now ramping up job action. Lisa Hepfner reports on what is happening in public elementary schools in Ontario, starting Monday. Public elementary teachers are already working to rule, they have been since last spring. But now, weeks into the new school year, we’ve learned that job action will increase on Monday. The province walked away from the table last weekend and the teachers union said it was shocked, it thought they were making slow progress. The government said all the other unions agreed to a deal, why can’t elementary teachers? A week into the impasse, the union is telling teachers as of Monday, no updating classroom websites, no preparing fall report cards, no parent teacher interviews unless there’s an issue. And on what the union is calling “Wynne Wednesdays” teachers will wear union colours and pins. The union says if nothing changes by October, less than two weeks away, it will start one day-long strikes that rotate between school boards. We talked to parents about this news outside one elementary school on Hamilton mountain.“I wish the government would have solved the issues, They have to listen to the teachers. The teachers have lots of value they provide to our kids. Our kids are our future.”“I want to know how my son is doing. They’re not telling me anything now. It’s hard for parents to find childcare if they go on strike.”“I feel for them. They do have a hard job. They have way too many kids in their class. My son’s kindergarten class has 27 kids, which is a lot of five year olds for two teachers.” “I don’t think it’s fair for the students necessarily, this early in the school year.”“It’s not fair to the kids. And it seems like we’re dealing with this every year. I’m fed up. Lets just make a decision and go with it, and let our kids have an education.”Education Minister Liz Sandals released a statement today saying, in part, that she’s disappointed in the job action. She says the other teachers unions accepted a deal which we know included higher pay, an extra professional development day, and keeps the same class size language. She said the province will talk if the union wants to work within the framework it laid out. Elementary Teachers Federation says they’re not saying anything before Monday, not until they’ve had time to speak to their 78 thousand members. The information about the job action comes from a letter the union sent to teachers, it was leaked to the media.