October 24, 2019
Summary of Teacher/ Occasional Teacher Table:
While OSSTF assessed the proposals made by the management team outlined below, the Minister of Education virtually accused the OSSTF of not being focused on reaching a bargained settlement. OSSTF remains committed to reaching an agreement at the bargaining table that supports the needs of our students.
While we saw some movement from the management team today, the gap between the parties is still substantial. Each bargaining table is different and the priorities 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. We are still hopeful that our future bargaining dates will result in a deal, but at this point, we are 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
- Local priority funding
- Addressing local needs
- Hiring practices
Discussions occurred in the following areas:
Class Size: The management team presented two proposals related to class size. The first sought an increase in class size from the current 22:1 to 25:1. The second removed all local school board limits to class sizes, thus enabling school boards to squeeze as many students into a class as is necessary to meet the funding restraints set by the government. The combined impact of these two proposals on the quality of education for the students of Ontario will be devastating. The class size increase proposed by the government continues to promote the loss of programs and options for students. Local class size limits ensures that students have the necessary supports for the courses they are taking and don’t become overpopulated. While the government presents this offer as an enhancement to education, it is factually an increase to class size and a disastrous and irresponsible strip to local parameters on managing class size.
Additional Professional Assignments: Presently, local collective agreements provide for Additional Professional Assignments (APA’s). APA’s are additional supervisions in the school. School boards and unions have historically negotiated the parameters of these assignments to serve the needs of their unique education communities. The Management team has tabled a position which ignores these shared understandings and unilaterally overrides every local collective agreement. While they claim this position provides supervision for the benefit and safety of students, their proposal is entirely inconsistent with the removal of thousands of teachers through their desire to increase class sizes.
Compensation: The management team offered a 1% increase for each year of a 3-year deal which is below current inflation. The OSSTF 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 teachers and occasional teachers 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 remains 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 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 continue to ask for equitable funding for all members and adjustments that are consistent with inflationary pressures on all benefits plans.
Certification: Discussions continued on the transfer of OSSTF teachers into the same certification system (QECO) that is used across the province for all the other teacher unions (AEFO, ETFO, and OECTA).
Three-year term of the central agreement: The management team has indicated a willingness to agree to a three-year term, as proposed by OSSTF.
As part of the normal bargaining process, the appointed conciliation officer was present and OSSTF requested a “no-board” report.
OSSTF will not accept a deal that deprives our students of the supports they need and that puts members further behind.