Politics
Ontario PC leader slams teacher's union for 'thug tactics'

Tim Hudak, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

Credits: Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency

ANTONELLA ARTUSO | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO -- A warning from a union representing elementary school teachers that its members could be fined up to $500 a day for refusing to participate in strike actions is an "insult" to the profession of teaching, PC Leader Tim Hudak says.

A Nov. 27 bulletin from the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) says teachers could also be named in a federation publication or refused non-mandated union services for failing to take part in job actions.

"I think those types of thug tactics from the teacher union bosses are a tremendous disservice to the profession," Hudak said Tuesday.

ETFO president Sam Hammond said the measures were voted on by the federation members and have been in place for about a decade.

"My members decide what we do internally in our union," Hammond said. "The fine that you're speaking of is one of several sanctions that we can implement in the event that someone doesn't adhere to the direction that collectively our membership across the province has voted in favour of. But it is only one of probably 10 options that we have."

In the interest of transparency, the federation must make it clear to members what could happen if they don't support strike actions endorsed by the majority, he said.

About eight ETFO locals are currently in a work-to-rule campaign, which is expected to spread throughout the province over the next two weeks.

As early as Monday, ETFO locals will begin one-day rotating strikes with 72-hour notice to parents.

The federation is also polling its members to see if they will support a one-day political protest where teachers and staff would walk off the job if the provincial government imposes a collective agreement or bans strikes, Hammond said.

"All of this is a result of Bill 115," Hammond said, calling it a "draconian" attack on constitutional collective bargaining rights that unfairly imposes a deal the government reached with Catholic school teachers on ETFO members.

NDP education critic Peter Tabuns said Hudak is one of the parties to blame for the turmoil because he and his party supported Bill 115.

"Don't be surprised if you start a conflict that there are problems, difficulties, upsets all along the way," Tabuns said.

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