By Evan Presement
Canadian Union of Public Employees and Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario workers found themselves with a lighter workload beginning Tuesday, as both parties entered Phase 2 of their work to rule campaign against the provincial government.
Custodians will stop cleaning the halls, and teachers will no longer be required to cover a class for another colleague if they’re sick.However, if a teacher is directed by an administrator to cover a class, they will but ‘under protest’, ETFO president Sam Hammond said in a statement Saturday.
As for the custodians, they’re not the only provincial workers with reduced responsibilities because of the work to rule campaign.
IT staff at schools, librarians, secretaries, educational assistants and early child educators also fall under the CUPE umbrella and will be part of the campaign.
In all, 55,000 provincial workers across Ontario began the second phase of the job action.
The four key sticking points for ETFO in the provincial talks including wages, class size, preparation time and hiring practices, CBC News reported.
In an interview with Humber News reporter Marino Greco, CUPE communications worker Mary Unan said that student safety will never be jeopardized.
“At all stages of this job action, there has been a primary concern that student safety would never be compromised,” Unan said. “The students’ security and safety will always be the priority for education workers, as I’m sure it is for all staff in schools.”
As for the job action itself, Unan said all it means is that the workers won’t go the extra mile, and cited working through lunches and breaks as parts of their daily routines which will now stop.
“They want to create an awareness of the work that they do, the importance of the work that they do,” she said.
Even though the teachers and workers are trying to improve their situation, they aren’t forgetting about the children, said Unan.
“We want to be part of all aspects of students’ time at school,” she said, noting that being present at parent-teacher meetings is something CUPE workers want. “We want to be part of student learning and student success.”