Downtown Toronto packed with picketing teachers as schools hold province-wide strike
English public elementary schools across the province are closed today as the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) holds a province-wide strike, and many teachers have been marching outside the Ministry of Education offices on Front Street.
Over 1,000 striking teachers picketed the Ministry of Education in downtown Toronto today, holding signs with sayings such as "Elementary education needs funding not cuts," "Education cuts hurt kids," and "Standing up for quality education."
The ETFO is holding a province-wide strike today. Many teachers have gathered and been marching outside the Ministry of Education offices on Front Street #Toronto #Ontario #TeacherStrike #ETFO pic.twitter.com/RVg9vL8esb— blogTO (@blogTO) February 6, 2020
According to CityNews camerman Tony Fera, teachers walked in a loop around the Front Street offices and police said it appeared to be well-organized.
"THOUSANDS of #ETT members at the Ministry of Education at 315 Front Street taking strike action today for the future of our shared, world-class public education system," reads a tweet from the Elementary Teachers of Ontario Twitter account.
THOUSANDS of #ETT members at the Ministry of Education at 315 Front Street taking strike action today for the future of our shared, world-class public education system. #istrikebecause #ETTStrong #ETFOStrong #ETFOStrike #CutsHurtKids pic.twitter.com/ZlzRjFqj4c— Elementary Teachers of Toronto (@ElemTeachersTO) February 6, 2020
A total of 83,000 ETFO members are on strike today across the province, and close to one million kids are out of school.
Mediated discussions between the union, school board associations and the Ford government — which had resumed on January 29 — broke down late Friday at which point ETFO said it would ramp up its rotating strikes.
Today is the union's first province-wide strike, and another is planned for February 11.
All three of the province's major teachers’ unions have been without contracts since August 31 and they've each been engaged in some form of job action.
And though Ford recently said he believes most educators don't really want to strike and that union bosses are pressuring teachers into it, an overwhelming majority of teachers in all three unions voted for strike action to protest the government's cuts to education.
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