Politics
Ontario union to take actions against teachers who don't support job action

Sam Hammond, ETFO president.

Credits: Dave Thomas Toronto Sun/QMI Agenc

ANTONELLA ARTUSO | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - The union representing more than 76,000 elementary school teachers is threatening retaliatory actions against any of its members who ignore calls for job action, Tory Education critic Lisa MacLeod says.

Public elementary teachers who refuse to participate in strike action ordered by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will face fines of up to $500 per day and be "named and shamed," she said.

ETFO has prepared a "provincial takeover bulletin" for members that outlines the possible punishments for those who break the united front.

The document was sent to MacLeod by a teacher who was opposed to what it contains, she said.

"ETFO wants to go to war; it wants to wage war against the government at any cost," MacLeod said Monday. "They have to understand there's no money."

MacLeod said she has heard from teachers who don't support their union's actions but are concerned about speaking out publicly.

The bulletin said ETFO could fine members deemed to be "in non-support during a job action" up to $500 a day.

"Members found to be in violation shall be subject to a range of sanctions that may include but is not limited to, publication of name in a federation publication, suspension of the right to hold office in the federation and suspension of federation services except those required by law," the bulletin warns.

The union executive decides the punishment.

"It's unbelievable to me that in this day and age that this union could have so much power over its members that it can put the fear of God into them on whether or not they can help a child at a school," MacLeod said.

The strike protocol describes what a work-to-rule campaign will look like -- no staff or ministry meetings, professional development, administrative duties, or standardized student testing.

Under work-to-rule, teachers are to continue teaching and providing extra help for students, take attendance and maintain contact with parents during the instructional day.

In the event of a full strike, the union has said it will give parents 72 hours notice before teachers and school staff walk off the job.

ETFO president Sam Hammond, the official spokesman for the federation, could not be reached for comment.

The union is opposed to Bill 115, a provincial law that gives the government the power to impose collective agreements and ban strikes if teachers don't bargain contracts that freeze salaries and scale back sick-day benefits.

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