Greater Essex Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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June 13, 2013
ETFO Achieves Memorandum of Understanding with Government

ETFO has achieved a Memorandum of Understanding with the provincial government. Next week, ETFO members will be able to participate in an online vote to decide whether the Memorandum of Understanding should be accepted. A series of one-hour telephone town hall meetings about the Memorandum of Understanding will be held early next week, including one on June 19 at 8pm here in Greater Essex. These meetings will also provide members with the opportunity to ask questions about the Memorandum of Understanding. Local members can also attend an after school information meeting on June 19. Details of that meeting are on the Special Events page in the Members Area.

Working within current economic restraints, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached between the Ontario government and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is respectful of the province’s public elementary teachers, and education professionals who are members of the Federation.

“This is an agreement that supports teachers and student learning and it was bargained in an atmosphere of mutual respect,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “The MOU meets the government parameters set out for this round of bargaining including a salary freeze, and reflects a shared desire to improve environments for both teaching and student learning.”

The MOU, which must be ratified by ETFO members by June 23rd, rights a longstanding injustice in which ETFO members have been paid two percent less than every other teacher in the province since 2008. That salary penalty will be lifted once the current agreement ends in August 2014.

“Nothing could be more inequitable than having our members paid less than teachers in the same profession providing the same quality education for students,” said Hammond. The proposed agreement puts in place measures to improve student learning. A study on teacher workloads will review issues related to educational initiatives and student assessments that focus on student achievement. The MOU also recognizes that teacher and student safety is paramount. A task force of representatives from ETFO, school boards, and the ministries of Labour and Education will provide recommendations about workplace health and safety issues in schools by December 2013.

“Safe workplaces mean safe learning environments for students. Both these initiatives are very good news for students and parents,” added Hammond.

“We said from the beginning that we would engage in meaningful discussions with a government team that is knowledgeable about education. We wanted to be able to put all options on the table and work together to reach an agreement that meets each party’s needs. Premier Wynne and Education Minister Sandals created those conditions resulting in the current MOU.”