Local public elementary teachers hit the picket line

 

By Ron Giofu

Public elementary teachers hit the picket line in Windsor-Essex County Tuesday in opposition to the province’s Bill 115 with one of the picket locations being in Amherstburg.

Teachers from at least three local schools gathered in front of Malden Central Public School Tuesday morning with more expected that afternoon. Educators carrying signs that read “If you work in Ontario, this is your fight” and “Teachers on legal strike” walked along County Road 20 in front of the school as passing motorists honked their horns in support of the teachers.

Adelina Cecchin, president of the Greater Essex Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), estimated roughly 2,000 educators in this area were on strike Tuesday for the one-day job action.

“We’ve been seeing strong feedback from the public and parents,” said Cecchin.

Teachers are appreciative of the support, she said, as it shows parents and the public approve of the work being done in the classroom to educate students.

There was also a “very positive feeling and energy” on the picket line from teachers, she added.

Teachers from several local elementary schools walk along County Road 20 in front of Malden Central Public School Tuesday morning. Public school teachers held a one-day strike to voice opposition to the Ontario government’s Bill 115.

Bill 115 bypasses local bargaining and Cecchin said teachers want to get back to the table and negotiate a deal. She added teachers have a right to the process and have a voice as stipulated in the Ontario Labour Relations Act.

“At this point, the minister (Laurel Broten) hasn’t shown any meaningful movement around our strike action,” said Cecchin.

Cecchin indicated the seven Liberal leadership candidates have suggested a different approach and a willingness to look for solutions with teachers and their unions.

“This is achievable but we need to get back to the table and have meaningful discussions,” said Cecchin.

Malden Central Public School was one of four schools where picket lines were set up and one of eight locations overall. Area MPP offices and the Greater Essex County District School Board office were also the site of picket lines by public elementary school teachers. Windsor-Essex County public elementary teachers joined thousands from across the province in striking against Bill 115 in what some have dubbed “Super Tuesday.”

At 10 a.m., teachers paused from picketing to observe a moment of silence in honour of the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday morning.

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