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Teacher union prez demands letter of apology from Aspin over layoff leak

Hammond says it's Aspin that has actually caused anxiety to ETFO members when somebody on his board leaked the redundancy numbers to the public.
Rob Hammond, ETFO President
Rob Hammond, ETFO President Near North Teacher's Local. Supplied.

A local union president is turning the tables on Near North School Board chair Jay Aspin by demanding he apologizes for leaking teacher redundancy numbers on social media before releasing them to the teachers first.

Near North Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario local president, Rob Hammond told BayToday he's upset that Aspin said a union president created a great deal of unnecessary fear and anxiety amongst its members over redundancy numbers.

See: School board chair says teachers won't lose jobs

"It’s unfortunate the leader of the union for OSSTF (Glen Hodgson, President, District 4, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation) has taken such a radical approach to the process this year. This has created a great deal of unnecessary fear and anxiety with his members," said Aspin in an email to BayToday.

See: 'Unprecedented number of potential layoffs' coming to teachers at Near North Board says union

But Hammond says it's Aspin that has actually done that to ETFO members when somebody on his board leaked the numbers to the public.

"Our numbers were never made public," he said. "We were trying to protect our members until the GSNs (Grants for Student Needs) came out."

Those aren't expected until next week.

Aspin also wrote, "If I am proven right within the next couple of months, I think letters of apologies to our teachers from the Union President may well be a nice gesture to atone for the unnecessary anxiety he has created for our dedicated secondary teachers."

"There will be no apology from me." says Hammond. "I'm demanding that Mr. Aspin issue an apology to the teachers of the Near North Teacher Local for creating fear and anxiety by releasing the projections by the Near North School Board."

Hammond says a record turnout of teachers attended a union meeting last night in which Director of Education Jackie Young was invited to explain why the board's numbers were so high.

A big part of the problem is the provincial government has still not released the Grants for Student Needs numbers, forcing school boards to guesstimate what they can budget for. Those numbers allow the boards to predict a more accurate number of redundancies and are usually out in March. So at this point, the school board has no idea how much funding it is getting.

Schools boards are forced to make those projections according to their collective agreements.

"This should have been done five or six weeks ago but it didn't happen," says Hammond. "Fedeli has failed to turn his homework in so the school boards can actually give an accurate assessment of what the layoffs are going to be."

Hammond says the Board has projected 80 elementary teacher layoffs out of 472 members, not all of which are fulltime, so he says that number could go higher.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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