English Catholic teachers hit the picket line in a frigid cold wind yesterday morning.
"The mood is good. It's a little chilly, but we're keeping warm. Our spirits are up and we're going to keep standing up here doing what we have to do for our students," said union local leader Leanne Davidson, as she joined the picket in front of MPP Greg Rickford's office.
Davison said members remain optimistic, even after talks broke off with the province earlier this week.
"Well, my hope is that the government comes back to the table and continues bargaining and bargains with seriousness about getting a deal, so that our kids' public education is protected and they can get back into their classrooms, and we can get back into our classrooms," Davidson added.
In response, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said his government has put forward reasonable proposals, and he is deeply disappointed in the escalation by unions.
“Our government has put forward reasonable proposals at the negotiating table, including a commitment to maintain full-day kindergarten, and it is deeply disappointing parents are still seeing repeated escalation at the expense of our students to advance higher compensation, including more generous benefit plans.We firmly believe students should be in class, and we continue to stand ready to negotiate and reach a deal Ontario students deserve,” he said in a prepared statement.
The province is also offering compensation for families, who are having to pay extra, due to the one-day strikes.
The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will be holding rotating strikes today, which will close KPDSB elementary schools and Grade 7 and Grade 8 programs in secondary schools.
The union will also hold a province-wide walk out tomorrow, again closing KPDSB elementary schools and Grade 7 and Grade 8 programs in secondary schools.
Elementary teachers and the province returned to the table for talks on Wednesday, January 29 following a 6 week hiatus.