Bargaining Update - July 25, 2012
Minister's Invitation to Meet
On July 9th the Minister of Education, Laurel Broten, contacted education sector unions and employers to advise them that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached with OECTA on July 5th should serve as a roadmap during this round of bargaining.
The Minister urged unions and employers to engage in discussions with the government to achieve provincial level agreements that meet the key fiscal parameters set out by the government at the start of the Provincial Discussion Table (PDT) process and again in the budget. She indicated that the government is committed to meeting its financial targets by September 1, 2012. The Minister recommended that, as a first step, meetings take place between representatives from her Ministry and representatives from the each of the unions and employers.
ETFO's Response to Government Actions
On May 30th President Hammond wrote to all MPPs - including the Minister of Education and the Premier - describing in detail ETFO's concerns about the government's negotiation process and the impact that the government's parameters would have on ETFO members. In late June, a written response was received from the Minister. Because the letter demonstrated a significant misrepresentation of ETFO's position a meeting was requested with the Minister as soon as possible. The Minister of Education's staff indicated that the earliest she could meet with ETFO was August 1st or 2nd.
Subsequently, ETFO's provincial Executive considered the Minister's July 9th request to engage in discussions regarding provincial level agreements. The ETFO provincial Executive determined that ETFO should participate in a meeting with Ministry representatives to discuss process issues related to potential participation in provincial level discussions. ETFO suggested a meeting during the week of July 23rd. ETFO was advised by the Ministry that it would have many people away during that week and needed to review options about how to proceed. ETFO continues to wait for the Ministry team to propose a meeting date.
OSSTF Meets With Government Representatives
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) met informally with the Minister's representatives on July 12, 2012, to better understand the components and implementation of the OECTA MOU, as well as to clarify its impact on its members.
The meeting lasted approximately two hours. During the meeting it became apparent that:
- the OECTA MOU is not consistent with current Ontario Labour Relations Act and Education Act provisions;
- the OECTA MOU disallows OECTA members from participating in local ratification votes to decide whether the terms of the MOU should be included in their collective agreements;
- OECTA has given up its members' rights to participate in conciliation;
- OECTA has given up its members' rights to engage in strike action (including working-to-rule);
- OECTA has given up its members' rights to engage in unencumbered local bargaining.
OSSTF has determined that giving up these rights is not acceptable; it will be moving forward with local bargaining.
Click here for more information about OSSTF's meeting with the government.
AEFO to Return to Provincial Discussion Table
L'Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) met with representatives of the Ministry and trustee associations on July 19, 2012. AEFO reports that it posed many questions but received few concrete answers. During that meeting, the Ministry team reiterated the government's intention to intervene administratively and legislatively prior to the beginning of the school year to ensure that school boards and unions respect the government's parameters.
Following the July 19th meeting, AEFO advised its members that it will be returning to the provincial table in a final attempt to reach a negotiated settlement.
Click here for more information about AEFO's meeting with the government.
ETFO will continue to keep you informed about events related to bargaining as they occur throughout the summer. That information will be posted on ETFO's Control Your Future website and will be sent to you through this collective bargaining eNewsletter.