Friday, March 18, 2016

Trougher Wars: TDSB, OSSTF fight over subsidies for union staff member salaries

Toronto’s high school teachers want the city’s school board to subsidize the salaries of 10 union staff members at a cost of almost $500,000 – the main stumbling block to reaching a deal on a collective agreement, The Globe and Mail has learned.

While there is a perception of labour peace in the education sector, the dispute between the Toronto District School Board and the local district of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation is one of 240 cases, out of 473, across the province where a local agreement has not been reached.

The provincial Liberal government once praised its new tiered bargaining structure as “innovative.” But it has been fraught with delays and confusion.

A TDSB source said the OSSTF wants the board to contribute to the salaries of 10 union staff members, even though the elementary teachers’ union, which has twice as many members, has only eight board-subsidized positions.

Union staff positions are generally filled by education workers who take a leave to work in the union office. They receive their regular teaching salaries, partly subsidized by school boards. The TDSB source said the board is looking to reduce the number of OSSTF staff members whose salaries it subsidizes, currently the highest number in the province.

“We have been trying to sit back down at the table with OSSTF. However, they refuse to come back to the table unless we subsidize 10 union positions,” the source said. “That’s the sticking point.”  (more...)

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