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HomeNewsTeachers union says bargaining at a standstill

Teachers union says bargaining at a standstill

KAWARTHA LAKES-The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has asked the Minister of Labour to appoint a conciliation officer to help the parties at its two central tables reach agreements.

ETFO collective agreements expired on August 31, 2019. Discussions have taken place at two central tables since June 2019:  the ETFO Teacher/Occasional Teacher Central Table and the ETFO Education Worker Central Table. ETFO represents 728 local members.

“While incremental progress was made in July and August, bargaining since then has come to a virtual standstill.” said a press release from ETFO.

At any point during negotiations, Ontario’s Labour Relations Act allows a union or employer to request third-party assistance through a process called conciliation. A conciliation officer will meet with ETFO and school board bargaining agencies to try to help reach central agreements.

“ETFO’s goal is to reach fair agreements for our members that also enhance learning conditions for Ontario’s elementary students,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “These are achievable goals, and ETFO will do everything it can to reach them. That includes participating in the legal steps of the collective bargaining process, like conciliation and taking strike votes.”

The union says the government advised them that it is seeking cuts of up to 2.5% in overall education sector spending. As part of achieving that reduction, the government expects ETFO teacher and occasional teacher members to agree to up to $150 million dollars in collective agreement strips according to the union.

“We are asking for a fair bargaining process, one that doesn’t damage our world class education system.” Karen Bratina, ETFO Local president told Kawartha 411 News.

“ETFO has been clear at the bargaining table about what we want to achieve,” continued Hammond. “ETFO expects the same clarity from the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA), Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA) and the government but we’re not getting it on many very important issues at this point.”

“Government representatives at the bargaining table have been asked, point blank, whether the Ford government intends to make funding cuts to elementary education in 2020. All we are getting are evasive non-answers. That is completely unacceptable,” observed Hammond.

ETFO has been holding central strike vote meetings throughout the province. One was held last night locally for members of the Trillium Lakelands District School Board. 650 members turned out for the vote.

The results of the central strike votes will be announced in early November.

ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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