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Teachers, education workers jam downtown Kitchener for rally (4 photos)

It marks the first time since 1997 that educators from all the major unions walked out on the same day

Thousands of teachers and education workers gathered outside Kitchener City Hall for a rally on Friday afternoon.

Public, Catholic and French language schools are all closed across the province, as all four teachers' unions participate in a one-day strike.

"We are here to let the government know that we need them to properly fund public education, to support student needs, and to get the bargaining process resolved so everyone can get back to school," said Greg Weiler, President of Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario - Waterloo.

It was a lively scene in the downtown core as teachers and education workers were chanting and holding up signs. Anton Milardovic, a member of OECTA Waterloo and a teacher at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School said the experience was very impactful. 

"The fact that you have four teachers unions coming together saying 'we are all on the united front against the cuts, against the effects this is going to have on full-day kindergarten, against the cuts against students that are in the most need of special education services,' I think that speaks volumes."

"The public should see that we are on the same page here," added Milardovic.

It actually marks the first time since 1997 that educators from all the major unions walked out on the same day. 

The unions, particularly those representing secondary teachers, are upset about increases to class sizes, which they say will lead to thousands of fewer teachers in the system.

with files from Cali Doran and The Canadian Press 




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