Transparency in bargaining

On September 24, OSSTF/FEESO launched an unprecedented approach to bargaining in the school board sector in Ontario. At a press conference at Queen’s Park, OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof announced that the Federation would release its initial negotiating briefs for both the Teacher/Occasional Teacher and Support Staff central bargaining tables.

“The release of our bargaining briefs is just the first step,” said Bischof. “Beginning today, we will be making our bargaining process transparent to the public.”

OSSTF/FEESO’s bargaining proposals focus on creating and sustaining the best possible student learning environment. Proposals include protections against ballooning class sizes and measures to ensure adequate numbers of support staff and proper levels of assistance in our schools, especially for the most vulnerable students. OSSTF/FEESO is also proposing the establishment of a committee of representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA), and the Federation to examine the viability of E-Learning program designs as a substitute for traditional classroom learning.

With regard to compensation, OSSTF/FEESO recognizes that, over longer spans of time, salary increases have tracked inflation. In order to remove what President Bischof called the “endless wrangling over compensation,” OSSTF/FEESO is proposing that members receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) so their real wages would remain constant. “Let’s simply end the roller-coaster ride and focus our attentions more productively,” said Bischof.

“We are taking this extraordinary step because we are facing extraordinary circumstances,” continued Bischof. “With the announcement of cuts that are already diminishing the quality of education in Ontario, this government has publicly leveraged students’ educational experience against attempted concessions at the bargaining table. They have also introduced legislation to inappropriately interfere with the scope of negotiations. None of this constitutes good faith bargaining. That’s why we’re taking a different approach, one that puts transparency at the heart of our negotiations. Our proposals are forward looking. We welcome and encourage the public to look closely at our proposed way forward and compare it to the path proposed by the government and the trustee associations.”

On September 30, OSSTF/FEESO representatives met with representatives from the government and OPSBA at the Teacher/Occasional Teacher central bargaining table. On the following day, October 1, Federation representatives met with representatives from the government and the Council of Trustees’ Associations at the Support Staff central bargaining table. Negotiating briefs were exchanged at both tables. While OSSTF/FEESO’s proposals at both tables focus on the quality of the learning environment for students, the proposals from the management teams ignore student learning and student achievement, and focus instead on removing funding from the system at the expense of students and OSSTF/FEESO members.

The OSSTF/FEESO negotiating briefs and support materials, along with the management teams’ briefs, can be found at BargainingForEducation.ca.

2 Comments on Transparency in bargaining

  1. Family - Tom McIntosh // October 21, 2019 at 2:54 pm // Reply

    It’s the 21 now I get your info?

    Cola clauses killed our steel industry.!!
    I know because I was involved when I first graduated university. 5 years later- all first year employees were let go in spring 1976. In 1977-78 200 families were brought over from the UK as steel hearth maintenance workers to the Edmonton steel works. By 1979 we closed the plant. It goes on as you know USSteel bought the last remnants of this great company which had the Erie Works alone competing heavily with the US. But stelco needed to shed its zillions of retired employees. Sold to another US conglomerate.
    Look what happened to Dofasco steel. Another Canadian giant bought out and downsized. Too much greed and never leaving a competitive giant or just a participant.
    My last deal was to buy stelco stock at 50 cents and later sell it for 6$. I tried to help them but too little too late.

  2. In regards to a (COLA) wage increases, as a support staff member, it is extremely hard to live off of what the board is paying us! The majority ESS staff have 2 jobs just to make ends meet. Especially with out college loans !
    Cost of living increased in September by .09 cents, clearly a joke ! The public board has the lowest paid ESS staff off all school boards.
    Its very very hard to make ends meet !
    Please help and address this matter.
    Thank you

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