In his Closing Address President Hammond thanked delegates for participating in the democratic process of the union and talked about the importance of ensuring that we continue to mobilize. “I thank you for your unwavering belief in the importance of protecting public education,” President Hammond said. “I look forward to continuing to build a movement to stand up for our members, our students and the public education system in this province. ETFO members have already demonstrated their strength. You are engaged, organized empowered and mobilized. And we will need that to continue as bargaining ramps up over the next month,” Hammond said.
President Hammond reflected on the direction that bargaining is taking with ETFO’s sister affiliates and CUPE, and some of the issues already at the table. “ETFO is doing everything we can to try and work together,” he said. “However, we are all prepared for a change in tone from the government.”
“Governments are elected in and governments are voted out,” he said. “But ETFO is here through all of it and long after. We will be here long after this government is gone.” He talked about the strength and importance of our Kindergarten program–-with a model that includes a Teacher and DECE–which the Conservatives have alluded to changing. “If Doug Ford and his Conservatives attack Kindergarten, he will have this whole province to answer to.”
“We are in the fight of our lives, but we are ready to hit the ground running. We can achieve anything with the unity, support and tenacity of our members. Doug Ford,” Hammond concluded, “you have woken up a sleeping giant!”