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HomeNewsSecondary School Teachers To Vote On A Proposal To Resolve Bargaining With...

Secondary School Teachers To Vote On A Proposal To Resolve Bargaining With The Province

KAWARTHA LAKES-The province has announced it has reached a tentative agreement with Ontario secondary school teachers. The union says it’s not a tentative agreement but a path forward.

Today,  Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement:

“My ongoing commitment to Ontario families is to use every available tool and pursue every path that keeps students in school. Doing so will mean students are in classrooms learning what matters most: reading, writing and math skills.

I am very pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative four-year agreement with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) on a process that, if ratified by the union’s members, will keep students in class where they belong.

If this agreement is ratified, a student who entered grade nine in an English public high school last September will have their entire high school experience free from the threat of teacher strikes. That’s something all of us can celebrate.

The tentative agreement provides for bargaining to continue without the threat of strikes. If a collective agreement cannot be reached by October 27, 2023, the parties will enter binding interest arbitration to resolve any outstanding issues.

Through this process, a neutral third-party, will make binding decisions on all outstanding matters.” said Levve’s statement.

OSSTF is the first teacher federation that has agreed to not strike while labour negotiations continue. The proposed process will also include education workers that are members of OSSTF. The voluntary interest arbitration process will apply to both central and locally negotiated matters. Central collective agreements with the teachers and education workers unions expired August 31, 2022.

The union says this is not a tentative agreement but but establishes a clear pathway forward for this round of bargaining.

It will now begin preparations for an internal membership vote that will take place through September. Approximately 60,000 education workers and secondary school teachers from across the province will have the opportunity to vote on whether they want to enter into the proposal.

“Today represents a critical point in this round of bargaining,” said OSSTF/FEESO President Karen Littlewood. “Since beginning bargaining 13 months ago, OSSTF/FEESO has been fighting to improve the learning and working conditions in Ontario’s schools but the Ford government and school boards have refused to be a fair partner in these negotiations. This process is not a tentative agreement but it does promise to break any impasse by bringing in a third party arbitrator to seek a fair and just resolution.”

President Littlewood added, “As a democratic organization, it’s critical that we allow Members to have the final say through a vote on whether OSSTF/FEESO should enter into this proposal. Bargaining will continue centrally and locally throughout the voting process.”

The proposal guarantees that OSSTF/FEESO Members will receive a remedy for wages lost under Bill 124, the Ford government’s wage suppression legislation that unfairly targeted woman-dominated public sector workers. Members will receive the remedy without having to wait for the courts to decide on the constitutionality of Bill 124.

“It is a comprehensive proposal for our membership to vote on as it includes a pathway to a Bill 124 remedy in addition to moving bargaining forward after 13 months of avoidance from the Ford government. It will also mean that we, as dedicated education professionals, will be able to continue to deliver stability for students in Ontario while seeking the best possible deal for the OSSTF/FEESO membership,” concluded President Littlewood.

 

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