Transcript: Elementary Teachers at the Bargaining Table | Nov 22, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and spotted brown tie.

A caption on screen reads "Elementary teachers at the bargaining table. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS
FOR ONTARIO TEACHERS EXPIRED AT
THE START OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.
BARGAINING BETWEEN THE UNIONS
REPRESENTING THOSE TEACHERS AND
THE GOVERNMENT IS ONGOING, BUT
TO DATE, WITHOUT ANY SIGNS OF A
BREAKTHROUGH.
THAT'S PROMPTED ETFO, THAT'S THE
ELEMENTARY TEACHERS' FEDERATION
OF ONTARIO, TO GIVE NOTICE THAT
ITS MEMBERS WILL BEGIN A
WORK-TO-RULE JOB ACTION ON
TUESDAY.
WITH US NOW FOR MORE ON WHERE
THINGS STAND, WE WELCOME SAM
HAMMOND. HE IS PRESIDENT OF THE
ELEMENTARY TEACHERS' FEDERATION
OF ONTARIO.

Sam is in his fifties, with short gray hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, spotted black tie, and a red and blue pin that reads "Cuts hurt kids."

Steve continues NICE TO HAVE YOU BACK IN THAT CHAIR.

Sam says THANKS.
IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

Steve says OKAY, AS WE SUGGEST,
TUESDAY IS A BIG DAY FOR YOU
GUYS.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE DOING?

The caption changes to "Sam Hammond, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario."
Then, it changes again to "Working to rule."

Sam says IT IS.
WELL ON TUESDAY AFTER MONTHS OF
TRYING TO NEGOTIATE A DEAL,
WE'LL BE IMPLEMENTING PHASE ONE,
AS WE CALL IT, WORK TO RULE,
WHERE OUR MEMBERS WILL BE
REMOVING ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES
ASSOCIATED WITH MINISTRY OF
EDUCATION ACTIVITIES AND SCHOOL
BOARDS.
AND WE'RE DOING THAT AFTER A
HISTORIC 98 percent STRIKE VOTE FROM
OUR MEMBERS ACROSS THIS
PROVINCE, BOTH FOR OUR TEACHERS,
OCCASIONAL TEACHERS AND EARLY
CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS AND
EDUCATIONAL PROFESSIONALS.

Steve says THAT WORK TO RULE,
WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY LOOK
LIKE ON THE GROUND, THE
ADMINISTRATIVE STUFF YOU JUST
REFERRED TO?

The caption changes to "Sam Hammond, @etfopresident."

Sam says YEAH, SO IT IS
ADMINISTRATIVE.
WE'VE BEEN VERY CAREFUL NOT TO
NEGATIVELY AFFECT OR INTERFERE
WITH THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
AND CLASSROOMS OR STUDENT
LEARNING.
OUR MEMBERS, FOR EXAMPLE, WILL
NOT BE TAKING PART IN ANY
ACTIVITIES RELATED TO EQAO.
THEY'LL NOT BE TAKING PART IN
ANY OF THE PREP WORK FOR THE
MATH PROFICIENCY TEST FOR
FACULTY OF ED STUDENTS.
THEY WON'T BE ATTENDING
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OUTSIDE
OF THE SCHOOL DAY, EXCEPT IN
HAMILTON WHERE THERE IS A
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAY
DEDICATED TO BULLYING THAT WE
HAVE SAID OUR MEMBERS NEED TO BE
THERE BECAUSE IT'S AN IMPORTANT
KEY ISSUE THAT THEY SHOULD BE A
PART OF.

Steve says SO THEY WILL DO THAT
ONE.

Sam says ABSOLUTELY.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says SO AS TO COACHING
AFTER SCHOOL, AS TO... YOU KNOW,
BEING THE PRODUCER OF A PLAY AT
SCHOOL OR A MUSICAL OR SOMETHING
LIKE THAT, THAT IS NOT AFFECTED
AS OF YET?

Sam says THAT WILL CONTINUE.

Steve says OKAY.
WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK THESE
MEASURES YOU JUST MENTIONED, THE
EQAO, THE METHOD, THE PD DAYS,
WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK THAT
WILL HAVE ON THE STUDENTS?

Sam says NONE.
ABSOLUTELY NONE.
WE'VE BEEN VERY CAREFUL FROM
STAYING AWAY FROM AFFECTING
STUDENT LEARNING CONDITIONS OR
THEIR ENVIRONMENT, AND I'LL BE
HONEST, ONE OF THE REASONS WE'VE
DONE THAT IS... WELL, TWO
REASONS.
FIRST STUDENTS BUT ALSO BECAUSE
WE'VE HAD SUPPORT, YOU KNOW,
HISTORIC SUPPORT, QUITE FRANKLY,
FROM PARENTS IN THIS PROVINCE,
AND WE'RE LISTENING TO WHAT
THEY'RE SAYING AND TRYING TO
WORK WITH THEM TO GET THROUGH
THIS DIFFICULT PERIOD.

Steve says WHAT ABOUT REPORT
CARDS?
ANY CHANGE IN THE KIND OF
COMMENTS TEACHERS WILL LEAVE ON
REPORT CARDS?

Sam says YEAH, SO OUR MEMBERS WILL
JUST PUT IN THEIR MARKS,
KINDERGARTEN REPORT CARDS, FOR
EXAMPLE, INSTEAD OF TWO
PARAGRAPHS THEY WILL JUST BE
PUTTING IN ONE KEY STATEMENT FOR
EACH OF THOSE, BUT THAT WILL NOT
AFFECT STUDENTS.
THAT'S JUST REPORTING TO
PARENTS. AND THERE'S A LOT OF
COMMUNICATION THAT GOES ON
OUTSIDE OF REPORT CARDS DAY IN
AND DAY OUT WITH OUR... BETWEEN
OUR MEMBERS AND PARENTS.

Steve says DOESN'T AFFECT THE
STUDENTS, BUT IT DOES AFFECT THE
PARENTS' UNDERSTANDING OR THE
DEPTH OF UNDERSTANDING OF HOW
WELL OR BADLY THEIR CHILD IS
DOING, DOES IT NOT?

Sam says WELL, WHAT MIGHT BE WRITTEN
DOWN TRADITIONALLY, YES, OR IN
OTHER REPORT CARDS.
BUT THE ONGOING COMMUNICATION
BETWEEN OUR MEMBERS AND PARENTS
WILL CONTINUE.
SO ALL OF THOSE GAPS WILL BE
FILLED BY THAT COMMUNICATION ON
A DAILY BASIS, QUITE FRANKLY.

Steve says OKAY.
THE EDUCATION MINISTER STEVEN
LECCE HAS SAID THAT HE BELIEVES
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HIS
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND YOUR
TEACHER UNION AND THE SECONDARY
TEACHERS AND THE CATHOLIC
TEACHERS, HE SAYS THE ISSUES ARE
LIMITED.
IS HE RIGHT ABOUT THAT?

Sam says NO.
WE ARE QUITE FAR APART AT THE
TABLE, ALL FOUR FOR THE FIRST
TIME I CAN REMEMBER ALL FOUR
TEACHER AFFILIATES AND THEIR
MEMBERS ARE SAYING THE SAME
THING.

Steve says WHO DID I FORGET?
ELEMENTARY, SECONDARY, CATHOLIC
AND?

Sam says FRANCOPHONE.

Steve says FRENCH, THAT'S RIGHT.
NOT YOU SORRY, ME SORRY.
I FORGOT.

Sam says WE'RE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE IN
SAYING THAT WE ARE SO FAR APART
ON NUMEROUS ISSUES, JUST NOT
ONE, AS THE MINISTER HAS
SUGGESTED, BUT A NUMBER OF KEY
ISSUES THAT ARE ON THE TABLE.

Steve says GIVE ME ONE.

Sam says ONE ISSUE IS FUNDING FOR...
ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR STUDENTS
WITH SPECIAL NEEDS OR UNIQUE
LEARNING CHALLENGES.
WE HAD, FOR EXAMPLE, IN OUR
EXTENSION AGREEMENT A TOTAL OF
90 MILLION DOLLARS FOR TWO FUNDS THAT
INCREASED THE NUMBER OF SPECIAL
EDUCATION TEACHERS AND SUPPORTS
FOR AT-RISK STUDENTS AND
INDIGENOUS SUPPORTS AND
ENGLISH-LANGUAGE LEARNERS.
THIS GOVERNMENT REFUSED TO RENEW
THAT IN THIS CONTRACT, AND WE
ARE ADAMANT THAT THAT NEEDS TO
BE A PART MOVING FORWARD FOR
THOSE STUDENTS WHO NEED THOSE
SUPPORTS.

Steve says 90 MILLION DOLLARS DOESN'T
SOUND LIKE A LOT OF MONEY THAT
SHOULD PREVENT TWO SIDES FROM
COMING TO AN AGREEMENT IN A 30
BILLION DOLLAR MINISTRY.
SO CLEARLY THERE'S MORE GOING ON
HERE THAN THAT, RIGHT?

Sam says YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says OKAY, SO WHAT ELSE?

Sam says WELL, CAN I JUST SAY THAT,
YOU KNOW, 90 MILLION DOLLARS, AND YOU
LOOK AT RECENTLY WHAT'S COME OUT
THAT THEY HAVE SPENT 230, 231
MILLION DOLLARS TO SCRAP GREEN ENERGY
PROJECTS ACROSS THIS PROVINCE,
OR THEY'VE PAID 100 MILLION DOLLARS TO
BREAK HYDRO CONTRACTS, AND WE'RE
STRUGGLING AND FIGHTING AT THE
TABLE TO GET 90 MILLION DOLLARS OF
COMMITMENT TO THAT ON AN ONGOING
BASIS FOR STUDENTS.

Steve says WELL, I MEAN, IN
FAIRNESS, YOU ALSO ARE OFFENDED
BY THE FACT THAT THEY PASSED A
LAW SAYING THAT ALL CONTRACT
NEGOTIATIONS WITH PUBLIC SECTOR
UNIONS HAVE TO BE CAPPED AT 1 percent
MAXIMUM.
YOU DON'T LIKE THAT EITHER,
RIGHT?

Sam says NO.
ABSOLUTELY NOT.
IT TRAMPLES OUR COLLECTIVE
BARGAINING RIGHTS THAT ARE
PROTECTED UNDER THE CHARTER.
FRANKLY, WE WENT THROUGH THIS
WITH THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT AND
BILL 115 AND WE LAUNCHED A COURT
CHALLENGE TO THAT, AND WERE
SUCCESSFUL IN ALL OF THE
VIOLATIONS OF THAT CHARTER WERE
CONFIRMED, AND HERE WE GO AGAIN.
AND IT IS OFFENSIVE WHEN THE
RATE OF INFLATION IS RUNNING
ABOUT 2 percent AND OUR MEMBERS ARE
ALREADY BEHIND WHEN IT COMES TO
SALARY AND THEY'RE SAYING WE'RE
GOING TO CAP IT AT 1 percent ACROSS THE BOARD.

Steve says I GUESS JUST TO REMIND
PEOPLE, THAT WAS DURING THE
DALTON MCGUINTY YEARS WHEN BILL
115 WAS LATER FOUND TO BE
UNCONSTITUTIONAL, BUT IN THE
MEANTIME IT WENT THROUGH.
IT HAD ITS IMPACT, AND BY THE
TIME THE COURTS RULED IT WAS
UNCONSTITUTIONAL, YOU KNOW, HE
WAS OUT AND IT WAS WELL DOWN THE
ROAD.

Sam says YES.

Steve says SO THEY COULD DO THE
SAME THING HERE, BY THE TIME YOU
FIND OUT THIS IS
UNCONSTITUTIONAL, THE IMPACT
WILL ALREADY HAVE BEEN FELT.

Sam says YES.

Steve says THERE'S NOT MUCH YOU
CAN DO ABOUT THAT, IS THERE?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Sam says WE'LL FILE A CHALLENGE, BUT
YOU'RE RIGHT, DALTON MCGUINTY,
HIS GOVERNMENT IS GONE.
OUR MEMBERS ARE STILL HERE IN
CLASSROOMS ACROSS THE PROVINCE
PAYING THE PRICE FOR THAT.

Steve says NOW I DON'T WANT TO
GET TOO STUCK IN THE MUD IN THE
DETAILS ON THIS.
HOWEVER, THE TORONTO SUN WAS
REPORTING... I KNOW YOU DON'T
LOVE THE SUN, BUT SOMETIMES
THEY'RE RIGHT.
THEY REPORTED THAT A SOURCE IN
THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION SAID
THAT THE AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY,
BECAUSE I KNOW WHEN YOU GET
ASKED WHAT THE THE AVERAGE
TEACHER'S SALARY, YOU SAY IT'S
COMPLICATED AND THERE'S GRIDS
AND ET CETERA, ET CETERA, BUT
THE AVERAGE SALARY OF AN
ELEMENTARY TEACHER IN THE
PROVINCE IS JUST OVER 89,000 A
YEAR, NOT INCLUDING BENEFITS.
DOES THAT SOUND ABOUT RIGHT TO
YOU?

Sam says 86,000 IS ABOUT THE AVERAGE.

Steve says 86 IS ABOUT THE
AVERAGE, OKAY.

Sam says BUT THAT'S JUST FOR OUR
TEACHER MEMBERS.
THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE OUR EARLY
CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS WHO ARE PAID
MID 30S.

Steve says MUCH LESS.

Sam says OUR OCCASIONAL TEACHERS WHO
ARE LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY
LINE IN MOST CASES, SO THERE ARE
DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF THIS IN
TERMS OF SALARY.

Steve says I TAKE YOUR POINT, BUT
THIS IS ALL ABOUT THE BATTLE FOR
PUBLIC OPINION AT A CERTAIN
POINT, AND IF YOU'RE TRYING TO
GET THE PUBLIC ON YOUR SIDE, ARE
YOU CONCERNED THAT TRYING TO GO
TO BAT FOR MORE THAN 1 percent SALARY
INCREASES FOR SOME OF YOUR
MEMBERS WHO ARE ALREADY MAKING
CLOSE TO 90,000 A YEAR ON
AVERAGE AND SURELY SOME ARE
MAKING SIX FIGURES, WHEN THAT'S
15,000 ABOVE THE PROVINCE'S
MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME, HOW
PROBLEMATIC IS THAT?

Sam says WELL, EVERYONE IN ONTARIO HAS
TO DEAL WITH THE RATE OF
INFLATION, COST OF LIVING YEAR
IN AND YEAR OUT.
OUR MEMBERS ARE INCLUDED IN
THAT.
I MAKE NO APOLOGIES FOR
SUGGESTING, ASKING FOR A COST OF
LIVING RATE OF INFLATION
INCREASE FOR OUR MEMBERS,
PARTICULARLY WHEN THIS
GOVERNMENT IS GIVING
PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANTS AND
DEPUTY MINISTERS A 14 percent SALARY
INCREASE, AND DOING IT
RETROACTIVE TO THE DAY THEY WERE
ELECTED.

Steve says YOU POINTED THAT OUT
TO THE... WHEN YOU POINTED
THAT OUT TO THEM, WHAT DID THEY
SAY ABOUT THAT?

Sam says THEY DON'T TALK TO YOU.
WE DON'T TALK.

Steve says THEY DON'T TALK TO
YOU?
THE MINISTER MAY NOT TALK TO
YOU, BUT SURELY HIS OFFICIALS
TALK TO YOU?

Sam says THEIR REPRESENTATIVES AT
BARGAINING TABLE, ABSOLUTELY.
WE'VE HAD NO RESPONSE TO THAT AT
THE BARGAINING TABLE.

Steve says I SEE.
YOU POINTED OUT YOU ARE GOING TO
CHALLENGE THIS IN COURT, THE 1 percent
INCREASE.

Sam says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says THAT IS GUARANTEED
GOING FORWARD.
YOU KNOW, I DO REMEMBER WHEN THE
LIBERALS WERE IN POWER, THEY
INSISTED ON QUOTE UNQUOTE NET
ZERO SALARY INCREASES, WHICH
MEANT THAT IF YOU WANTED TO PAY
YOUR MEMBERS 1 OR 2 percent MORE, YOU
KNOW, YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE TO
GIVE UP SOMETHING SO THAT AT THE
END OF THE DAY IT ALL WORKED OUT
TO A 0 percent ADDITIONAL COST.
IF YOU LOOK AT IT THAT WAY, CAN
YOU SAY THE CONSERVATIVES ARE
ACTUALLY BEING A LITTLE MORE
GENEROUS BECAUSE AT LEAST
THEY'RE OFFERING YOU ONE.

Sam says NO.
I WOULD NOT AGREE THAT THEY ARE
BEING MORE GENEROUS.

Steve says WELL, ONE IS MORE
GENEROUS THAN ZERO, ISN'T IT?

The caption changes to "Union versus government."

Sam says WELL, YOU KNOW, I THINK WHAT
WE NEED TO DO IS GO BACK, STEVE,
TO WHAT THE PREMIER HAS BEEN
SAYING... WAS SAYING FOR MONTHS
AND MONTHS AND MONTHS ON END.
WE HAVE TO HOLD SPENDING BECAUSE
WE HAVE A 15 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT.
THEN IT'S AN 11 BILLION DOLLAR
DEFICIT.
AND THEN WE FIND OUT IT'S A
7.4 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT.
SO RATHER THAN HAVING THOSE
ARGUMENTS ABOUT CUTTING COSTS,
LET'S HAVE... LET'S FIRST
DETERMINE WHAT THE DEFICIT IS
AND WORK TOGETHER, AND WE'VE
SAID FROM THE BEGINNING THAT A
LOT OF THIS... THE COSTING FOR
EDUCATION REVOLVES AROUND THE
FUNDING FORMULA.
FOR OVER A DECADE WE'VE BEEN
SAYING LET'S HAVE AN INDEPENDENT
FORENSIC AUDIT OF THAT AND SEE
WHERE IF THERE ARE SAVINGS
WITHIN THAT FUNDING FORMULA, BUT
WHAT NEEDS TO BE FUNDED IN A
MORE ADEQUATE WAY ON A
GO-FORWARD BASIS.

Steve says YOU'VE ASKED FOR THAT.
AND WHAT'S BEEN THE RESPONSE TO
THAT?

Sam says THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT AND
THIS GOVERNMENT IS CERTAINLY NOT
PAYING ATTENTION TO IT.

Steve says HMM.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Sam says BUT THEY SHOULD BECAUSE, YOU
KNOW, IF WE GO BACK TO MIKE
HARRIS TAKING... IN TODAY'S
DOLLARS, ABOUT 2 BILLION DOLLARS OUT OF
EDUCATION, PARTICULARLY AROUND
THE FUNDING FOR SPECIAL
EDUCATION, EVEN BEFORE WE START
WITH THIS GOVERNMENT, THE SYSTEM
IS ALREADY IN NEED OF DESPERATE
SUPPORTS AND ADDITIONAL SUPPORTS
AND NOW THEY'RE CUTTING AND JUST
ADDING TO THAT.

Steve says EARLIER THIS WEEK THE
MINISTER OF EDUCATION HAD
SEVERAL PRESS CONFERENCES THIS
WEEK, AND WE WANT TO SHOW YOU A
LITTLE BITE FROM ONE OF THE ONES
HE HAD.
SHELDON, SHALL WE ROLL THIS
CLIP, PLEASE?
HERE'S STEVEN LECCE.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "November 19, 2019."

The clip belongs to a show called "C.P. 24 Breakfast" and includes a caption that reads "High school teachers vote 95.5 percent in favour of a strike."

In the clip, Education Minister Stephen Lecce gives an interview.

He says THE NEW DEMOCRATS OF BOB RAE,
THE PCS OF MIKE HARRIS AND THE
LIBERALS OF DALTON MCGUINTY AND
NOW FULL CIRCLE DOUG FORD, THE
ONE COMMONALITY, IT'S NOT OUR
PARTY OR VALUES, IT'S IN EACH
AND EVERY EXAMPLE UNIONS HAVE
ESCALATED AND I THINK PARENTS
ARE FED UP.

The clip ends.

Steve says IS HE RIGHT THAT
REGARDLESS OF WHAT STRIPE IS IN
OFFICE AT QUEEN'S PARK YOU GUYS
TEND TO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH
WHOEVER'S THERE.

Sam says WELL, IT'S NOT A PROBLEM WITH A GOVERNMENT OR GOVERNMENTS
GOING BACK TO THE LATE '90S WITH
MIKE HARRIS, OR EVEN EARLIER
WITH BOB RAE, AND I'VE SAID, YOU
KNOW, IF YOU LOOK AT BOB RAE AND
HIS SOCIAL CONTRACT, AN ATTACK
ON PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS IN THIS
PROVINCE, UNIONS AND THEIR
MEMBERS.

Steve says AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.

Sam says AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING,
ABSOLUTELY.
THEN IF YOU LOOK AT MIKE HARRIS,
2 BILLION DOLLARS OUT OF EDUCATION,
MOVE FORWARD TO DALTON MCGUINTY
AND THE LIBERALS AND BILL 115,
AND NOW THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY
UNDER DOUG FORD IN TERMS OF WHAT
THEY'RE DOING AND THE MASSIVE
CUTS THAT THEY'RE MAKING, NOT
JUST TO EDUCATION BUT TO HEALTH
CARE AND AUTISM FUNDING,
ET CETERA.
IN EVERY ONE OF THOSE CASES,
WE'VE NOT HESITATED TO STAND UP
TO DEFEND PUBLICLY FUNDED PUBLIC
EDUCATION OR STUDENTS IN THIS
PROVINCE, OR ALONG WITH OUR
ALLIES PUBLIC HEALTH CARE.

Steve says AGAIN I TAKE YOUR
POINT, BUT OF COURSE THAT'S NOT
THE ONLY THING YOU'RE STANDING
UP FOR.
YES YOU'RE STANDING UP FOR
PUBLIC EDUCATION, BUT YOU'RE
STANDING UP FOR YOUR MEMBERS.

Sam says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says THAT'S YOUR JOB.
YOUR JOB IS TO GET THEM PAID AS
MUCH AS POSSIBLE, TO GET THEIR
BENEFITS AS BIG AS POSSIBLE.
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO DENY THAT,
RIGHT?
THAT'S PART OF YOUR AGENDA HERE
AS WELL.

Sam says IT ABSOLUTELY IS AND I MAKE
NO APOLOGY FOR THAT, BUT AT THE
SAME TIME OUR PRIORITIES, THAT'S
FIRST AND FOREMOST FOR ME, BUT
AT THE SAME TIME WHAT WE'RE
DOING IS DEFENDING, QUITE
FRANKLY, PUBLICLY FUNDED
EDUCATION IN THE PROVINCE AND
STUDENTS IN THIS PROVINCE.

Steve says THE MINISTER WOULD
SAY, WERE HE HERE, HE WOULD SAY
WE BLEW IT ON AUTISM BUT WE'VE
GOT A NEW MINISTER IN PLACE AND
A NEW POLICY IN PLACE AND PUT
HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MORE INTO IT.
HE WOULD SAY WE STARTED OUT WITH
AN AVERAGE CLASS SIZE ACROSS THE
BOARDS AT 28.
HE BROUGHT IT DOWN TO 25 BECAUSE
WE LISTENED.
HE WOULD SAY WE WANTED FOUR
COURSES ON-LINE AND WE BROUGHT
IT DOWN TO TWO NOW BECAUSE WE'VE
GONE OUT, CONSULTED AND
LISTENED.
HE WOULD SAY THAT THEY HAVE
COMPROMISED ON THREE REALLY BIG
ISSUES THAT ARE OF INTEREST TO
YOU AND YOUR MEMBERS, AND IT'S
TIME FOR YOU TO COMPROMISE.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?

Sam says WELL, OUR MEMBERS, TEACHERS,
OCCASIONAL TEACHERS, EARLY
CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS, EDUCATIONAL
SUPPORT, PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT
PERSONNEL HAVE ALREADY HELPED
THIS GOVERNMENT... SUCCESSIVE
GOVERNMENTS IN A NUMBER OF
DIFFERENT WAYS.
DALTON MCGUINTY, TAKE A PAUSE.
WE HAVE WORKED WITH THEM AND WE
HAVE PAID A PRICE IN MANY CASES,
OUR MEMBERS ACROSS THIS
PROVINCE, AND NOW THEY'RE BEING
ASKED TO DO IT AGAIN.
AND AT THE SAME TIME THEY'RE
ASKING US TO DO IT AGAIN THEY'RE
GIVING... YOU KNOW, OVER A
BILLION DOLLARS IN CORPORATE TAX
CUTS.
THEY'RE PREPARED TO BREAK A
CONTRACT WITH BEER STORES THAT
COULD COST UP TO A BILLION DOLLARS
DOLLARS.
THEY ARE PREPARED TO CONTINUE TO
FIGHT THE CARBON TAX WITH 3
BILLION DOLLARS IN REVENUE NOT COMING IN
AND PUTTING ASIDE ANOTHER 30
MILLION DOLLARS TO FIGHT THAT CHALLENGE.
SO WE HAVE DONE OUR PART, QUITE
FRANKLY.
WE ARE AT THE TABLE.
WE ARE TRYING TO DO WHATEVER WE
CAN TO GET AN AGREEMENT THAT IS
FAIR AND REASONABLE, AND THAT'S
WHERE THAT SHOULD HAPPEN.

The caption changes to "Ready to strike."

Steve says OKAY, LET'S REMIND
EVERYBODY IN OUR REMAINING
MOMENTS HERE, YOUR MEMBERS VOTED
98 percent TO AUTHORIZE YOU TO CALL THE
STRIKE IF THE CONTRACT TALKS
COMPLETELY BREAK DOWN.
YOU'VE MENTIONED ON THIS PROGRAM
HERE YOU'RE ABOUT TO GO TO PHASE
ONE ON TUESDAY.
PHASE ONE YOU SAY WILL NOT HURT
THE KIDS.
BUT IT WILL... YOUR MEMBERS WILL
DECLINE TO DO SERVICES THAT THEY
OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE DONE.
I GUESS PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW HOW
CLOSE DO YOU THINK THIS THING IS
TO AN ACTUAL FULL-BLOWN STRIKE?

Sam says I DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER FOR
THAT, STEVE.
SINCERELY, WE'RE TRYING TO GET A
DEAL AT THEIR TABLE.
WE WERE BARGAINING, TODAY I'M
TAKING A BREAK SO THAT I COULD
BE HERE, BUT I DON'T KNOW, AND I
HAVE SAID TIME AND TIME AGAIN,
IT IS DEPENDENT ON THIS
GOVERNMENT COMING BACK TO THE
TABLE AND BEING SERIOUS.
LET ME GIVE YOU ONE EXAMPLE.
FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN, OR
KINDERGARTEN IN THIS PROVINCE
WITH A TEACHER AND AN EARLY
CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR IN THAT
PROGRAM.
FIRST THING WE PUT ON THE TABLE,
LATE AUGUST, PROVIDE US WITH A
COMMITMENT TO THAT WORLD-CLASS
PROGRAM IN THIS PROVINCE.
WE'RE STILL WAITING.

Steve says HMM.

Sam says THE MINISTER HAS SAID IN THE
ESTIMATES COMMITTEE AND ON METRO
MORNING THAT HE'S... IT'S A
GREAT PROGRAM, THAT THE MODEL IS
WORKING, THAT THERE WOULD BE NO
CHANGES TO IT.
THEN JUST COME TO THE TABLE AND
MAKE THAT COMMITMENT AT THE
TABLE RATHER THAN IN THE MEDIA.
AND WE COULD GET TO A DEAL, AND
I HOPE THAT THAT'S SOONER RATHER
THAN LATER.

Steve says DO YOU SEE THE OTHER
SIDE AS HAVING COMPROMISED ON
ANYTHING OF SIGNIFICANCE TO YOU?

Sam says NO.

Steve says NOTHING?

Sam says NO.
AT THIS POINT, NO.

Steve says SO THE ON-LINE STUFF
IS NOT IMPRESSIVE TO YOU?

Sam says WELL, THE ON-LINE STUFF
AFFECTS SECONDARY.

Steve says AND THE CLASS SIZE
ALSO.

Sam says CLASS SIZE AFFECTS US AS WELL
AS OUR COLLEAGUES IN SECONDARY.
THEY'RE LOOKING AT NOW A LOSS OF
ABOUT 6,000 TEACHERS.
OURS IS ABOUT A THOUSAND.

Steve says HOW... YOU MENTIONED
EARLIER THAT ALL FOUR TEACHER
UNIONS ARE SORT OF IN THE SAME
POSITION WITH THE GOVERNMENT AT
THE MOMENT.
HOW MUCH DISCUSSION IS THERE
AMONG THE HEADS OF THE UNIONS
JUST TO FIND OUT, WELL, I WONDER
HOW THE SECONDARY TEACHERS ARE
GOING ON THAT AND I WONDER HOW
THE FRANCOPHONE TEACHERS ARE
DOING ON THAT AND IF THEY ARE
GETTING THIS, WE WANT THAT.
HOW MUCH CONSULTATION IS THERE
AMONG YOU GUYS?

Sam says ALMOST ON A DAILY BASIS WE
HAVE THOSE CONVERSATIONS.
YOU KNOW, WHERE WE CAN SHARE
STUFF THAT WE DON'T THINK IS
CONFIDENTIAL AT THE TABLE, BUT
WE HAVE THOSE CONVERSATIONS ON A
REGULAR BASIS.

Steve says IS THAT...

Sam says AND YOU TALK ABOUT, YOU KNOW,
FOUR TEACHER AFFILIATES, FIRST
TIME IN HISTORY AT THE SAME
TIME.
WE'VE ALL TAKEN STRIKE VOTES,
THREE OF THEM, ANYWAYS, '95,
'97, 98 percent AND OUR COLLEAGUES ARE
HEADED DOWN THAT ROAD MIDDLE OF
DECEMBER.

Steve says YOU GOT BIG MANDATES,
THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT, AND
I GUESS WE SHOULD PUT ON THE
RECORD YOU FOLKS HAVE BEEN IN A
LEGAL STRIKE POSITION, I GUESS,
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF
SEPTEMBER, RIGHT?
YOU'VE HAD NO CONTRACT.
YOU'RE WORKING WITHOUT A
CONTRACT RIGHT NOW.

Sam says YEAH, WE DON'T HAVE A
CONTRACT, BUT WE'VE ONLY BEEN IN
A LEGAL STRIKE POSITION FOR THE
LAST 17 DAYS BECAUSE OF THE
PROCESS.

Steve says OH, RIGHT, OKAY, OKAY.
HOW TICKED OFF DO YOU THINK
TEACHERS ACROSS THE PROVINCE ARE
RIGHT NOW WITH THE FACT THAT
HERE YOU ARE, SEPTEMBER,
OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, ALMOST THREE
FULL MONTHS INTO THE SCHOOL YEAR
AND STILL WORKING WITHOUT AN
AGREEMENT?

Sam says THEY ARE EXTREMELY
FRUSTRATED.
THEY CONTINUE TO DO WHAT THEY DO
AS PROFESSIONALS DAY IN AND DAY
OUT IN CLASSROOMS AND WORK
SITES, BUT I TRAVEL AROUND THIS
PROVINCE TO OUR STRIKE VOTE
MEETINGS, A THOUSAND, 2,000,
6,000 MEMBERS THERE, AND IT WAS
VERY CLEAR FROM ALL OF THOSE
MEETINGS, AND THE RESULTS OF
THOSE STRIKE VOTE MEETINGS, THAT
THEY ARE EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED
AND THEY ARE TAKING A STAND,
QUITE FRANKLY, FOR ISSUES THAT
ARE IMPORTANT TO THEM.
THEY ARE ON THE FRONT LINES.
THEY FEEL THIS MUCH MORE THAN I
DO AS A UNION PRESIDENT DAY IN
AND DAY OUT, THE LACK OF
SUPPORTS, THE LACK OF
EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANTS,
ET CETERA, AND THEY WANT TO SEE
SOMETHING DONE ABOUT THAT, AS DO
WE.

Steve says I'M GOING TO ASK A
QUESTION THAT'S GOING TO GET
EVERY TEACHER MAD AT ME, BUT I
KNOW PARENTS ARE THINKING IT, SO
I'M GOING TO ASK IT.
HOW CAN WE BE SURE THAT ANGER
AND FRUSTRATION THAT TEACHERS
ARE FEELING IS NOT BEING METED
OUT IN STUDENTS IN THEIR CLASS.

Sam says BECAUSE THEY ARE
PROFESSIONALS.
THEY ARE PROFESSIONALS ACROSS
THE BOARD, WHETHER IT'S
TEACHERS, OUR OCCASIONAL
TEACHERS, OUR EARLY CHILDHOOD
EDUCATORS, OUR EDUCATIONAL
PROFESSIONALS.
THEY GO TO WORK EVERY DAY TO DO
WHAT THEY DO WELL.
THEY'RE THE HEART AND SOUL OF
PUBLICLY FUNDED EDUCATION, AND
THEY'RE NOT BRINGING THIS INTO
THE CLASSROOM, QUITE FRANKLY.

Steve says OKAY.
ONE LAST QUESTION, SAM, AND THAT
IS YOU MENTIONED PHASE ONE, WORK
TO RULE STARTS TUESDAY.
SOMEWHERE DOWN THE ROAD YOU MAY
BE ON STRIKE, MAYBE.
IS THERE PHASE TWO OF WORK TO
RULE STILL TO COME?

Sam says SO WE PLAN AHEAD, BUT WE
HAVEN'T IN DETAIL SAID, YOU
KNOW, HERE'S WHAT A PHASE TWO
WOULD LOOK LIKE, HERE'S THE DATE
WE'RE GOING TO START IT, HERE IS
HOW LONG IT WOULD LAST BECAUSE
WE'RE FOCUSED... QUITE FRANKLY,
WE'RE FOCUSED THIS WEEK AND NEXT
WEEK AND THEREAFTER ON GETTING A
DEAL.
BUT CERTAINLY IF WE CAN'T REACH
A DEAL, AND WE HOPE WE CAN, THEN
WE'LL HAVE TO START LOOKING AT
WHERE THIS GOES DOWN THE ROAD.
THE GOVERNMENT CAN STOP THIS.
THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO WORK
WITH US AND FOCUS AT THE TABLE
TO GET A DEAL.

The caption changes to "Producer: Cara Stern, @carastern."

Steve says THAT'S SAM HAMMOND,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE ELEMENTARY
TEACHERS FEDERATION OF ONTARIO.
WE'RE GRATEFUL THAT YOU TOOK
SOME TIME AWAY FROM THE
BARGAINING SESSIONS TO INFORM
OUR VIEWERS AND LISTENERS HERE
ON TVO TONIGHT. THANKS SO MUCH.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Sam says ABSOLUTE PLEASURE.

Watch: Elementary Teachers at the Bargaining Table