Public elementary schools to close Jan. 28 due to ETFO strike

GUELPH – Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) elementary schools will be closed on Jan. 28 due to ongoing strike action.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has conducted rotating strikes throughout the province, starting on Jan. 20.

On Jan. 23 the union announced ETFO members within the UGDSB would strike on Jan. 28 if a contract  agreement is not reached with the province.

ETFO represents elementary teachers and occasional teachers in the UGDSB. The board website specified that secondary schools will remain open and operate as usual on Jan. 28.

“Parents/guardians of elementary students are strongly encouraged to begin making alternate arrangements for your children prior to the one-day strike,” the board website said.

“ETFO is very disappointed that Ford’s education minister (Stephen) Lecce has not come back to the bargaining table to negotiate key issues affecting students, student learning and educators,” said ETFO president Sam Hammond.

“It is now 35 days since ETFO’s last bargaining session on [Dec. 19].”

ETFO officials say its members are striking because of a lack of supports for children with special needs, large class sizes and violent incidents in the classroom.

Lecce has repeatedly stated teachers’ unions are hurting students through their demands for compensation above what the government has agreed to for other public sector workers.

This will be the third school day public elementary students in Wellington County have missed due to educator union strikes.

Other school boards involved in the Jan. 28 strike include: Kawartha Pine Ridge, Hastings-Prince Edward, Moosonee and Moose Factory Island.