Hamilton’s elementary school teachers were picketing Monday, taking shifts between classes. Members of the elementary teachers’ union of Ontario’s public school board went on strike on Dec. 10 to protest Bill 115, which would allow the province to impose a contract on teachers in the event that discussions don’t reach a resolution.
The walkout is scheduled on different days for different cities. On Monday, Hamilton, Sudbury and Moosonee public schools were participating; on Tuesday, Toronto and Niagara will be participating; on Wednesday, cities such as Ottawa will see teachers walking out.
In Westdale, Dalewood and George R. Allen elementary schools were participating in the picketing.
Bill 115 will effectively reduce teachers’ sick days from 20 to 10, have teachers take a mandatory three unpaid PA days, cut teachers benefits, block strikes, freeze wages and prevent teachers from banking sick days.
Other methods the teachers’ union has used to protest Bill 115 include “McGuinty Mondays,” in which teachers are not to arrive more than 30 minutes before class and leave no later than 30 min after class, as well as the cancellation of all extracurricular activities, field trips and school play days and stopping all after-school, teacher-run student help programs.
The cancellation of extracurriculars in particular has caused an outcry in the high school student population. Toronto saw a multiple-school student walkout last week. With students protesting to get their extracurriculars back, some Hamilton schools have also held student walkouts, such as Westdale Secondary School, which saw close to a third of its students leave their classes to protest last week.