Update on Provincial Talks Held
November 11, 2012
|President Sam Hammond|
Late in the evening on Saturday, November 10, 2012, ETFO was invited to a discussion with government representatives that would take place on Sunday. Given that we had long said that we would sit at a table where the participants were knowledgeable of education and labour issues and where all issues were open to discussion we determined to participate. The goal for ETFO participation in the Sunday meeting was to address the damage caused by the MOU that OECTA signed with the government.
During the afternoon and early evening meeting ETFO representatives presented members' concerns around each section of the OECTA MOU and sought clarification on numerous process issues. We did begin very initial discussions around a number of possible options to resolve those matters. We were prepared to continue to discuss these issues and the key interests of our members with a view to possibly creating a renewed environment for local collective bargaining.
The meetings with government representatives concluded abruptly around 7:00 p.m. with no indication that further meetings were possible. OSSTF continued its discussions later into the evening with those talks ultimately breaking down. As always, we will continue to be open to meaningful negotiations that meet the needs and respect the rights of our members; however, no further provincial meetings are scheduled. Your local will continue to try to negotiate local issues and you will be kept informed through Takeover Bulletins.
The fact that the provincial talks were held is most likely the result of the ongoing member protests against Bill 115. By joining in political rallies and implementing the McGuinty Mondays and Take A Pause campaigns, ETFO members have been in the forefront of taking a strong stand to oppose the punitive and undemocratic actions of the Liberal government.
At this point it appears very likely that strike action will be required. Members will be informed about the form of the strike action and the start date through local membership meetings. Strong and lasting solidarity will be needed to protect the democratic rights of all of us who work in the public sector.
President - Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario