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ETFO eNewsletter - Bargaining Edition
NUMBER 11 - AUGUST 15, 2012
Majority of Ontarians opposed to legislating teachers' wages, benefits

Almost eight in ten members of the public believe Ontario's government should negotiate an agreement with teachers rather than use legislation to impose wages and benefits on them, according to an independent telephone poll conducted for ETFO.


When asked if the government should negotiate provincially to arrive at mutually agreeable wages and benefits, 77% of Ontarians agreed. Only 19% believed that legislation should be imposed on teachers without negotiations.


Survey respondents were also asked whom they trust to promote the interests of Ontario students and schools. Teachers, teacher organizations, and school boards received a much higher vote of confidence than did the education minister and premier. Members of the public expressed a great deal of trust in teachers (41%), teacher organizations (18%), and school boards (20%). Far fewer express a great deal of trust in the province's Minister of Education (13%), and Premier (10%).

Andrea Horwath at Annual Meeting 2012
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath referenced the ETFO poll in her speech at Annual Meeting 2012.
View the speech

Only 8% of those surveyed said they have a great deal of confidence when asked about the Minister of Education's ability to manage contract negotiations with teachers.


"From the beginning, ETFO has continued to say that we want to engage in true negotiations with the Minister of Education. It would appear Ontarians agree with that approach," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "Since February, the government has presented teachers with a 'take it or leave it' offer with no room for meaningful negotiation. Now they've threatened to legislate an agreement based on their terms, and the public isn't buying it."


The poll of 1,000 Ontarians was conducted from August 3-9, 2012. The survey is considered accurate within a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


President Hammond Addresses Annual Meeting Delegates:
August 13, 2012
President Sam Hammond delivers his Opening Address
President Hammond delivers his Opening Address at Annual Meeting 2012

In his address to over 700 delegates at the ETFO Annual Meeting Monday afternoon, President Hammond clarified several misleading statements made by the Minister of Education at her press conference that morning.


Excerpts from President Hammond's address:


  • "Speaking in half-truths, the Minister says she is looking to teachers to accept a pay freeze; let's take a pause together, she says. That is, of course, blatantly untrue. She is asking for much more."

  • "To try yet again to convince younger teachers...that the OECTA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will somehow be good for them, the Minister held a press conference this morning. She spoke about how the 50-day limit on occasional teaching for retired teachers provides jobs for young teachers; of course she did not say that this had already been agreed on between Ontario Teachers' Federation and the government long before she was minister."

  • "[The Minister] spoke about how the 32% increase in retirements this year will provide work for young teachers; of course she did not say those experienced teachers fled the profession to escape the government's draconian attack on their collective agreements."

  • "[The Minister] said she would have a new regulation to ensure fair hiring practices for occasional teachers to get full time jobs; of course she didn't say that the vast majority of new hires come from the occasional teacher list already."

  • "This Minister is telling Ontarians that they are being rescued from educators who want to begin the start of the school year with a strike. That is an absolute fabrication....We are not in a legal strike position and the Minister knows that.   Why she is pretending that is not the case is both unethical and shocking.   That accusation is simply not worthy of, nor is it responsible, coming from a minister of the Crown."

  • "And just for the record, Minister - you have stated many times that half of the teachers in Ontario are covered by the MOU agreements. Get the facts right. OECTA and AEFO represent 45,217 teachers. ETFO and OSSTF represent 93, 212 teachers. You still have over 93,000 teachers, and tens of thousands of support staff, whose unions have not accepted the MOU. It seems that this Minister won't let the facts get in the way of a good sound bite."

  • "Yes, the Minister has signed MOUs with some organizations, but not one collective agreement has been signed; not one."


To view a video of President Hammond's address, visit the Annual Meeting website: laptop/desktop videos | iPad/mobile videos.

Copyright 2012 - The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
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