OSSTF reaches tentative deal as elementary teachers' union unveils work-to-rule plan
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Thursday, August 20, 2015 6:06AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 20, 2015 4:00PM EDT
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation says it has reached a deal with the provincial government, avoiding province-wide strikes and other job actions this school year.
Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but sources confirm to CTV News that it does include a small wage increase. However the sources said the increase is not expected to cost taxpayers anything extra as it will be paid for with savings found elsewhere.
Union spokesperson Lori Foote says that if ratified by local leaders and general members, the deal would cover all teachers and occasional teachers at public high schools in the province.
In a statement, Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals said "negotiations were challenging on all sides, but it speaks to the dedication and commitment of everyone involved that collaboration prevailed and a tentative agreement was reached."
A meeting of union local leaders is scheduled for some time this week. OSSTF president Paul Elliot told reporters in Ottawa that the deal means province-wide, "central-table" negotiations are complete, but 32 of the union's 35 teaching districts have not yet reached terms on local issues with their respective school boards.
OSSTF members in Peel and Durham Region, as well as teachers in the Rainbow District in and around Sudbury went on strike this past spring, leaving more than 60,000 students without class instruction. The teachers were forced back to class after the province passed back-to-work legislation ordering them to return.
The province is still negotiating with public elementary school and Catholic school teachers across the province.
ETFO unveils second phase of work-to-rule campaign
Speaking with union members in Toronto on Thursday morning, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario President Sam Hammond said the deal with the OSSTF “may be” a sign that the provincial government is “finally willing to recognize the importance of resolving issues prior to the start of the school year.”
Hammond, however, said that his union remains “prepared for anything and everything on September 1” when negotiations with the province resume and will go ahead on the first day of the school year with the second phase of a work-to-rule campaign first launched last spring.
As part of that campaign, teachers will no longer participate in field trips, collect money for school-related activities, collect or distribute any paperwork required by the school board, respond to any electronic communication from the principal or vice-principal outside of work hours or attend open houses or parent-teacher nights outside of work hours.
Extracurricular activities will not be affected by the action but Hammond said that harsher steps could be on the way should a deal not be reached.
“This is phase two and if we cannot get a deal at that table sooner rather than later, Liberal government you are in for the fight of your lives,” Hammond said.