OSSTF met with the management team on October 31st and November 1st.
Very limited discussions continued around QECO.
OSSTF is becoming increasingly frustrated with the fact that despite the Minister of Education’s repeated public statements that he is looking for a deal, the government refused to bring amended proposals on significant issues to the table.
OSSTF proposed in the negotiating brief that the benefits plans for the Teacher/Occasional Teacher and Education Workers could be combined in order to increase the size of the pool and improve the opportunity for sustainability.
In response to this proposal the management team has proposed merging the funds temporarily for the purpose of reducing the present claims fluctuation reserve for education workers, only to separate the funds again in two years once that money is spent. The management team also proposed mandating co-pays that do not exist in other plans in the education sector and is attempting to micromanage the benefits trusts by dictating plan design and eligibility. Such moves punish workers and fail to respect the responsible decisions made by the union in providing a comprehensive and sustainable benefits plan. They do not advance the discussion. This proposal has been rejected outright.
The management team has yet to address funding sustainability.
OSSTF has responded to the Minister of Education’s requests to engage in discussions at the table looking for alternative opportunities for financial savings. We proposed the following topics for discussion:
- Ministry of Education Initiatives and Staffing Levels
- Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) Costs
- Opportunities to find efficiencies in the grievance arbitration process
- Financial savings through short term voluntary unpaid leaves
- Sick Leave efficiency pilot and associated savings