Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Education Minister Raps Elementary-Teacher Union for Bolting from Talks Forum: Minister Raps 'Isolated' Elementary Teachers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Education Minister Raps Elementary-Teacher Union for Bolting from Talks Forum: Minister Raps 'Isolated' Elementary Teachers

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Ontario's Liberal government is putting pressure on elementary school teachers to take part in a forum aimed at guiding collective bargaining.

Education Minister Laurel Broten accused the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario on Monday of walking away from a discussion table that has proven productive in the past.

"We've repeatedly invited ETFO back, but they have repeatedly refused," Broten said. "They have chosen to withdraw and to be isolated outside the process."

With teacher contracts set to expire in August, the provincial discussion table allows teacher and staff unions and trustee associations to discuss issues, and come up with a framework for local collective bargaining.

The framework achieved at the last two discussion tables in 2005 and 2008 guided productive collective bargaining that included wage and other gains, Broten said.

Those gains, she said, could be in jeopardy now that the federation's delegation, led by president Sam Hammond, bolted after just one hour of a preliminary briefing.

"It's very unfortunate that the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario has refused to participate," Broten said in calling on teachers and parents to press the union leadership to return to the forum.

The minority Liberal government, which is grappling with a deficit, has yet to pass a budget that, among other things, is counting on wage and grid freezes for teachers. …

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