While OSSTF/FEESO saw some movement from the management team today, the gap between the parties is still substantial. Each bargaining table is different and the priorities of the parties at the various tables are unique. A deal reached at one table is not necessarily a deal that works for the parties of another table. OSSTF/FEESO is still hopeful that future bargaining dates will result in a deal, but at this point, is disappointed that the management team seems intent on pushing the situation toward confrontation.
The following significant issues have still not been discussed:
- enhanced special education programming
- addressing local needs
- staffing levels/job security
Discussions occurred in the following areas:
- The management team proposed the restoration of the Local Priorities Fund, but did not address the issue of job security and the layoffs that have already occurred.
- Compensation: The management team offered a 1% increase for each year of a three-year deal which is below current inflation. The average annual salary for the vast majority of OSSTF/FEESO’s Education Workers’ job classes is approximately $38,000. OSSTF/FEESO’s proposed cost of living adjustment to keep up with inflation is fair and more than reasonable. The management team’s proposal of seeing the real wages of Education Workers eroded through sub-inflationary adjustments is not fair, reasonable or consistent with wage growth being experienced in both the private and public sectors across Canada.
- Sick leave: The management team agreed to maintain 90% coverage for the short term disability plan after 11 days, but remain insistent on language which is not only overly invasive, but creates a level of reporting that would place additional strain on the health care system, both financially and in terms of access to medical professionals. In order to address the employers’ concerns, OSSTF/FEESO proposed the expansion of a successful pilot project designed to assist employees in returning to work as early as medically possible.
- Benefits: The management team offered a 1% funding increase. This amount is insufficient to sustain the OSSTF/FEESO ELHT benefit plan for the term of this agreement. OSSTF/FEESO continues to ask for equitable funding for all its members and adjustments that are consistent with inflationary pressures on all benefits plans.
- Federation Release Days that provide access to members to do Provincial OSSTF/FEESO work at no additional cost to School Boards: Talks are ongoing but the issue is not yet resolved.
- Staffing Committee: Talks are ongoing but the issue is not yet resolved.
- Three-year term of the central agreement: The management team has indicated a willingness to agree to a three-year term, as OSSTF/FEESO had proposed.
- As part of the normal bargaining process, the appointed conciliation officer was here today and OSSTF/FEESO requested a “no-board” report.
OSSTF/FEESO will not accept a deal that deprives students of the supports they need and that puts its members further behind.