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Elementary teachers to ramp up action

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TORONTO—As one Ontario teachers’ union reached a tentative contract agreement early yesterday, another was ramping up its work-to-rule plans for the start of classes Sept. 8.

Details of the deal between the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and the Public School Boards’ Association are being kept secret for now, but will be given to local union leaders later this week.

Teachers will get details on the agreement and the ratification process at membership meetings that will be held after Labour Day.

The OSSTF agreement came after its talks with school boards resumed this week following a three-month break—and just hours ahead of a move by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation to announce Phase 2 of its work-to-rule campaign.

Elementary teachers will not participate in any field trips, fundraising activities, training sessions, professional development sessions, or respond to any electronic communications from the principal or vice-principal outside the school day, except where student safety is involved, said ETFO president Sam Hammond.

“We will not at this time ask our members to stop their voluntary extracurricular activities,” he added.

ETFO isn’t scheduled to resume negotiations until Sept. 1.

“I want to be very clear. If we cannot get a deal at that table and get it sooner rather than later, as I said Monday, [school boards] and Liberal government: you are in for the fight of your lives,” warned Hammond.

The school boards, which negotiate on behalf of the province, also must reach agreements with unions representing Catholic and Francophone teachers.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association was scheduled to return to bargaining yesterday—the same day its members were to begin job action at a high school in Moosonee, which starts classes earlier than most schools.

Talks are also scheduled this month with the union representing Francophone teachers.

None of the teachers’ unions is threatening a full scale strike at this point.

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