ETFO hoping for the best but preparing for the worst

It says it can only promise students will be in classes for September

Elementary school teachers in Ontario are gearing up for battle.

Their union held the annual general meeting this week and was banging the drums, calling for them to mobilize.

There's a sense of pessimism heading into contract talks with the province.

"We've seen the tone from this government leading into the start of negotiations and some of the things that were said about union thungs, about us in particular, ETFO being irresponsible in delaying entering into bargaining...all of those sorts of things became concerning," says ETFO president Sam Hammond.

It's not ETFO's goal to pick a fight with the Ford PCs or implement a work-to-rule and go on strike.

But, it could happen. "The question has been asked of me many times, 'will students be in school the start of the school year?' Yes. Absolutely. 'Will they be in school the first week of school?' Yes they will be and thereafter in September at the point we're at right now," Hammond promises.

Beyond that, it's anyone's guess. "We shall see. I mean, things could go great, things could take a turn in another direction and that could happen overnight. We're prepared, now, from now to the start of the school year and into the school year, as we're obligated to and want to, negotiate at that table."