Hamilton teacher union head readies for class-size fight

News Aug 14, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton public school teacher Sam Hammond says his sixth term as president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will be his last, but one he couldn’t pass up.

His election by acclamation on Aug. 12 at his 83,000-member union’s annual general meeting in Toronto comes as preliminary provincial talks continue on renewal of contracts set to expire at the end of this month.

“One of the reasons I put my name forward again for another two-year term is because of what our members and all education unions and public service workers are facing in this province now with the current government,” said Hammond, 60.

“I want to be a part of that to stand up for publicly-funded public education, our members and students.”

ETFO’s longest-serving president said he can’t discuss bargaining details other than to say that talks “are respectful and going well,” and are currently focused on determining issues to be covered at the central negotiating table.

A flyer posted on his union’s website sets several goals, including class size caps in all grades, additional special education supports and “real salary increases and increases to all compensation, including benefits.”

The previous Liberal government extended the current contract by two years in 2017, providing annual wage increases of 1.5 per cent and another one-time 0.5 per cent to be used for personal professional development.

Hammond said ETFO wants to maintain existing class size caps in kindergarten to Grade 3 and address the province’s plan to increase average class sizes in grades 4 to 8 by nearly one student, to 24.5 students.

The Hamilton public board’s budget for the coming year cut 17.4 elementary teaching positions in anticipation of the change, which still must be negotiated.

“They’re the largest class sizes in the whole system,” Hammond said of grades 4 to 8.

“The government and others have said, no, it’s just one (extra student). Well, that one makes a huge difference when boards are on the ground implanting that and balancing class sizes from the smallest number to the largest number.”

While all school board union contracts expire on Aug. 31, Hammond said the start of classes in September won’t be disrupted by negotiations.

But he said the Ford government has created “a great deal of chaos and uncertainty” in the education system beyond funding cuts, including by keeping mum on expected changes to the sex-ed curriculum.

“I have no idea when they’ll release it,” he said. “If there’s an announcement in the next couple of weeks that there’s a new curriculum, the timing is terrible in terms of preparing for and getting training on (it) and all those sorts of things.”

Hamilton teacher union head readies for class-size fight

Sam Hammond elected to sixth 2-year term as ETFO president

News Aug 14, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton public school teacher Sam Hammond says his sixth term as president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will be his last, but one he couldn’t pass up.

His election by acclamation on Aug. 12 at his 83,000-member union’s annual general meeting in Toronto comes as preliminary provincial talks continue on renewal of contracts set to expire at the end of this month.

“One of the reasons I put my name forward again for another two-year term is because of what our members and all education unions and public service workers are facing in this province now with the current government,” said Hammond, 60.

“I want to be a part of that to stand up for publicly-funded public education, our members and students.”

ETFO’s longest-serving president said he can’t discuss bargaining details other than to say that talks “are respectful and going well,” and are currently focused on determining issues to be covered at the central negotiating table.

A flyer posted on his union’s website sets several goals, including class size caps in all grades, additional special education supports and “real salary increases and increases to all compensation, including benefits.”

The previous Liberal government extended the current contract by two years in 2017, providing annual wage increases of 1.5 per cent and another one-time 0.5 per cent to be used for personal professional development.

Hammond said ETFO wants to maintain existing class size caps in kindergarten to Grade 3 and address the province’s plan to increase average class sizes in grades 4 to 8 by nearly one student, to 24.5 students.

The Hamilton public board’s budget for the coming year cut 17.4 elementary teaching positions in anticipation of the change, which still must be negotiated.

“They’re the largest class sizes in the whole system,” Hammond said of grades 4 to 8.

“The government and others have said, no, it’s just one (extra student). Well, that one makes a huge difference when boards are on the ground implanting that and balancing class sizes from the smallest number to the largest number.”

While all school board union contracts expire on Aug. 31, Hammond said the start of classes in September won’t be disrupted by negotiations.

But he said the Ford government has created “a great deal of chaos and uncertainty” in the education system beyond funding cuts, including by keeping mum on expected changes to the sex-ed curriculum.

“I have no idea when they’ll release it,” he said. “If there’s an announcement in the next couple of weeks that there’s a new curriculum, the timing is terrible in terms of preparing for and getting training on (it) and all those sorts of things.”

Hamilton teacher union head readies for class-size fight

Sam Hammond elected to sixth 2-year term as ETFO president

News Aug 14, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton public school teacher Sam Hammond says his sixth term as president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will be his last, but one he couldn’t pass up.

His election by acclamation on Aug. 12 at his 83,000-member union’s annual general meeting in Toronto comes as preliminary provincial talks continue on renewal of contracts set to expire at the end of this month.

“One of the reasons I put my name forward again for another two-year term is because of what our members and all education unions and public service workers are facing in this province now with the current government,” said Hammond, 60.

“I want to be a part of that to stand up for publicly-funded public education, our members and students.”

ETFO’s longest-serving president said he can’t discuss bargaining details other than to say that talks “are respectful and going well,” and are currently focused on determining issues to be covered at the central negotiating table.

A flyer posted on his union’s website sets several goals, including class size caps in all grades, additional special education supports and “real salary increases and increases to all compensation, including benefits.”

The previous Liberal government extended the current contract by two years in 2017, providing annual wage increases of 1.5 per cent and another one-time 0.5 per cent to be used for personal professional development.

Hammond said ETFO wants to maintain existing class size caps in kindergarten to Grade 3 and address the province’s plan to increase average class sizes in grades 4 to 8 by nearly one student, to 24.5 students.

The Hamilton public board’s budget for the coming year cut 17.4 elementary teaching positions in anticipation of the change, which still must be negotiated.

“They’re the largest class sizes in the whole system,” Hammond said of grades 4 to 8.

“The government and others have said, no, it’s just one (extra student). Well, that one makes a huge difference when boards are on the ground implanting that and balancing class sizes from the smallest number to the largest number.”

While all school board union contracts expire on Aug. 31, Hammond said the start of classes in September won’t be disrupted by negotiations.

But he said the Ford government has created “a great deal of chaos and uncertainty” in the education system beyond funding cuts, including by keeping mum on expected changes to the sex-ed curriculum.

“I have no idea when they’ll release it,” he said. “If there’s an announcement in the next couple of weeks that there’s a new curriculum, the timing is terrible in terms of preparing for and getting training on (it) and all those sorts of things.”