Nine school boards across Ontario were hit with a strike on Wednesday including the one serving students in Hastings and Prince Edward.
Public high school teachers and educational workers staged a one-day walkout at select locations in an effort to put more pressure on the government in contract talks.
Martha Hradowy, an executive officer with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, was on a picket line in Trenton.
“Our hope is that the government will respond to our proposed bargaining dates and get back to the table,” she said.
“Our hope is that we won’t have to continue on with job action.”
At its peak, close to 75 people were walking the picket line in front of Trenton High School. The union says they’re pushing back against the government’s plans to introduce mandatory e-learning courses and increase class sizes.
Scott Marshall, president of District 29 of the OSSTF, says he feels parents and the public at large are on their side.
“I think the public understands the issues. The government surveyed the public in the spring — that survey data show the public does not support an increase in class sizes nor does it support forcing e-learning on students, yet the government continues to maintain that that’s what’s going to occur in the education system.”
It wasn’t just teachers on the picket line in Trenton, but professional student service personnel as well as education workers with the area’s French public and French Catholic school boards.
Hradowy says it’s time to get back to the bargaining table.
“It’s about the cuts that our students saw from the very first day of school; it’s the lack of course options available to students to give them the courses that they need to graduate. So we’re encouraging the minister to get back to the table, take the cuts off the table and let’s work towards a deal that good for Ontario students.”
The provincial government has it’s hands full when it comes to education, as public elementary school teachers are now refusing to organize new field trips and send home school notes, as part of an escalating work to rule campaign that entered stage two as of Tuesday.
Wednesday night, the Ontario government and the union representing public high school teachers announced they had agreed to return to the bargaining table next week.
-With a file from The Canadian Press