This week, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued back to back statements in response to escalations by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF). Over the past several weeks, unions have organized a number of job-actions including rotating one day strikes across a number of boards throughout the province.
In response to the mediator’s decision to adjourn talks with OECTA, Minister Lecce issued this statement:
“Union-led escalation to a partial withdrawal of services, including targeting EQAO testing and report cards, hurts our children the most.
Parents are justifiably frustrated that teacher unions escalate every few years. That is why we are calling on the union to cease from escalating, and focus on reaching a deal that provides stability for our students.”
Shortly after, Minister Lecce issued the following statement in response to the heightened and continued escalations by the ETFO:
“Families face union escalation far too often. It’s time for union leaders to end the games and the cyclical experience of escalation that hurts Ontario students.
Union leaders promised that their escalation would not impact students and their learning. Regrettably, they have again broken that promise, however we will uphold our commitment to parents, to stay at the bargaining table and work as hard as it takes to reach a deal, that keeps students in class.
We have delivered a ratified deal, and most recently a tentative deal, with education unions to date, and we are working to deliver further agreements that achieve our priority of keeping students in class.”
The latest statement was directed at OSSTF after the union announced yet another one day strike:
“For the fifth time, OSSTF union leaders have directed their members to not show up to class. These union leaders will forcefully advocate for the interests of their members – from higher wages to enhanced entitlements – however, they ought not oppose the academic aspirations of our students.
Students should be in class. It is most concerning that teacher unions’ leaders disagree and continue to impede learning for the next generation. Our government is focused on landing deals that keep students in class so that we end the frustrating experience families face due to predictable union escalation.
This continued strike action is unfair to students and their families.”