ETFO Union History

This wiki was developed for ETFO members as a result of a motion passed at the 2012 ETFO Annual Meeting that requested training resources on union history, the impact of unions on workers, and the role that unions have played in society. It has been developed by a team of ETFO members: Wes Delve (York Region Teacher Local), Ryan Geick (Renfrew County Occasional Teacher Local), Laurel Liddicoat-Newton (Lambton Kent Teacher Local), and Krista Pedersen (Upper Grand Teacher Local). The participants in the ETFO Union School contribute materials, resources, and suggestions for the Wiki.

Labour unions in Canada are organizations that represent workers thereby making sure that their rights are respected and working conditions improved. Most often labour unions engage in collective bargaining with employers to determine wages, terms and conditions of employment, worker safety and security. It is important to remember that unions forced the sharing of wealth within society - through the process of collective bargaining they required the transfer of wealth from business owners to the workers who generated the wealth through their toil. Through this process unions helped to create the middle class.

Unions have generally been at the forefront of the organized line of defence against the broad right-wing assault on social programs and government regulations. ETFO's pdf on our union history is here.

Thousands of ETFO members bolstered the OFL’s Rally for Rights & Democracy Jan. 26, credit Michael Bolen Huffington Post

Recently unions have been attacked as being a relic of the Industrial Revolution and no longer needed in society. Nothing could be further from the truth; as long as there are workers and employers some sort of collective strength is needed to ensure that the workforce is democratic, equitable, and fair. The recent situation where workers for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) lost their jobs to outsourcing in India[1] shows that workers continue to require the protections that unions offer. The deplorable and life-threatening conditions under which workers toil throughout the world is a social justice concern of Unionists. For teacher unions, protecting and promoting the health and safety of workers also serves the interests of children.
Over the past two years Ontario teachers have seen significant attacks on their ability to bargaining collectively. This has been the latest example of a decade long attack on teacher unions.

On December 9, 2014 ETFO announced that its members had voted 95 per cent in favour of strike action if negotiations between ETFO and the Government did not progress effectively and positively.


ETFO members in Niagara taking collective action to protect their collective agreements.

Further, ETFO recognizes the innate connection between social justice and student success and has developed many projects in response, including sharing ideas and ideals with teachers in other countries through CTF's Project Overseas.
  1. ^ Accessed May 23, 2013.