Monday, November 9, 2015

Two-tier bargaining in education needs revamp, critics say

Just ask frustrated parents, who thought the threat of strikes was over once provincewide deals with teacher unions and CUPE support staff were announced, only to find out that local job action is still possible and is, indeed, happening in some schools.

Unions complain the process is cumbersome — and apparently costly — and needs reworking. Even the government acknowledges "further improvements" are in order.

Despite months of tough negotiations that led to the five deals, "there are still a number of central tables (deals) yet to be negotiated" with other support staff and small unions, said Paul Elliott, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation. The OSSTF has a ratified three-year provincial deal for its teachers, but last spring called strikes in three boards and this fall has launched job action in a few boards across the province — including Toronto — on local issues.

Now, locally, about 15 boards have deals in place with OSSTF teacher locals, "and more that are coming in on a daily basis, and I hope that trend is going to continue. But the process has become problematic, and the whole thing needs to be reviewed."  (more...)

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