OSSTF/FEESO met with the Council of Trustees’ Association/Crown management team November 20 and 21. Rather than following the normal respectful bargaining process of making the request at the bargaining table, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce held a press conference Monday, November 18 to announce the management team would be requesting a mediator for negotiations. Despite no previous conversations regarding third party mediation, OSSTF/FEESO agreed with the Minister’s public request and met with the conciliation mediator the morning of November 20.
At 1:45pm of OSSTF/FEESO’s second consecutive day of bargaining, Minister Lecce held another press conference during which he repeatedly stated that the management team had tabled the CUPE deal and that OSSTF/FEESO had declined it and walked away from the table. Both statements are blatantly untrue. In fact, the management team had not tabled the CUPE deal; OSSTF/FEESO was in its caucus room watching the press conference, while waiting for the next meeting, when they heard the Minister’s fabrications.
The only mention of the CUPE deal was made via the mediator. OSSTF/FEESO requested the management team table that deal as a starting point to progress bargaining, yet they never did.
Over two days of bargaining, the parties only met face- to-face at the table for a total of 39 minutes. Cursory conversations about sick leave, administrative efficiencies for benefits, and a 7-hour work day occurred. No progress was made.
OSSTF/FEESO remains concerned that the management team is failing to engage in effective and meaningful conversations in order to come to an agreement. These most recent actions on the part of the government only serve to create additional obstacles at the bargaining table.
This was the last of the scheduled Education Workers bargaining dates. No new dates have been scheduled but we remain prepared to set new dates and continue the bargaining process.