CHAOS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION

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A province in turmoil

A year of tough bargaining: ETFO and the new school boards must amalgamate existing collective agreements. As many as six agreements would be combined into one. Many teacher benefits are removed from the Education Act and have to be renegotiated.

School boards, hamstrung by the new funding formula, try to cut teacher wages and benefits and renegotiate staffing provisions. In more than 20 sets of negotiations, ETFO’s provincial office steps in to help locals reach agreements. Even so, there are two strikes (by Simcoe and Waterloo teachers) and the York Region District School Board becomes the first board to lock out ETFO members.

During a provincial election in June, ETFO works with teacher federations, other unions and community groups to fight for high-quality public education and against the government. While the government is re-elected, the Tories lose 17 seats, including that of Education Minister David Johnson.