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No extra work for teachers on first-ever 'Wynne Wednesday'

Elementary school teachers across the province are escalating their work-to-rule campaign on the first-ever Wynne Wednesday.

Members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) union are protesting against Premier Kathleen Wynne, arguing Queen’s Park is refusing to negotiate.

The teachers have been working without a contract since last year.

On Wednesday, teachers will not work outside the classroom. That includes participating in extracurricular activities. They will also participate in pickets, rallies, and letter-writing campaigns; and wear ETFO T-shirts, buttons, and hats.

One Toronto school has already cancelled its cross-country program because of Wynne Wednesdays.

Teachers will scale back their job action on Thursday but are still not participating in field trips, fundraising activities, meeting or training sessions, or professional development sessions. They are also not responding to any electronic communications from the principal or vice-principal outside the school day except where student safety is involved.

The ETFO, which represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals, has been in a legal strike position since May 10 and have been without a collective bargaining agreement for the past year.

The union started a work-to-rule campaign back in May, citing wages, class sizes and teacher preparation time as major sticking points in their negotiations.

Last week, education minister Liz Sandals said talks broke down after ETFO rejected an offer that was on par with the one that the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) agreed to.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) has also reached an agreement, and ratified their agreement with Queen’s Park on Thursday.

Both OECTA and OSSTF received raises of 1.5 per cent plus another one-per-cent bonus.

The province has also reached an agreement with the Francophone teachers’ union.