New Provincial Bargaining Dates Amid Red Flags

After an extended delay, representatives of the Government of Ontario and the bargaining team representing all Catholic school boards have finally responded to the OECTA Provincial Bargaining Team (PBT), and we have agreed to the following tentative bargaining dates, to continue negotiations for the renewal of the
central terms of our collective agreement: May 5, 15, 24, and 25.

While your PBT is dedicated to lending its considerable expertise to the negotiation process in order to
realize a fair agreement, there is significant doubt whether Catholic school board representatives and the
government have either the inclination or wherewithal to work meaningfully and collaboratively towards a
fair collective agreement that supports Catholic teachers and the students you serve. The simple truth is your Catholic school board representatives and the government have repeatedly derailed the bargaining process, while pushing significant strips to your collective agreements, to the detriment of educators, students, and Ontario’s publicly funded education system.

Alarming Implications for Bargaining
The Association recently learned that the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario (CPCO), the organization that represents all principals and vice-principals in Catholic schools made a joint submission with other principals’ councils to the Ministry of Education – at the behest of the Ministry – with what they have unilaterally determined to be the “hot bed items” in education.

Among other recommendations, the joint submission proposes:

  • changing the structure of the school day, and/or school year;
  • embedding professional development into the workday, during prep time;
  • revisions to secondary school schedules to five periods per day, with one period for tutoring or
    professional development (PD), or meeting with parents;
  • removing preparation and planning time for occasional teachers; and
  • reducing self-directed preparation and planning time for all teachers.

These recommendations are outrageous and would represent massive strips to your collective agreements
and professional autonomy. What is more, if the Ministry of Education entertains any of these suggestions,
it could have significant ramifications at the current bargaining table. The Association has been in contact
with legal counsel and is closely monitoring developments.

OECTA President Barb Dobrowolski has been in contact with representatives of CPCO to express Catholic
teachers’ concern with these alarming suggestions. This interference in the bargaining process between
Catholic teachers and your school board and government representatives will hamper discussions, and
clearly exposes that the representatives of Catholic principals and vice-principals support the attack on our
collective agreements and working conditions. Not surprisingly, the submission by CPCO also called for the
funding of more school and board administrators.

Given this, while your PBT remains committed to bargaining in good faith, Catholic school boards and the
government do not seem to share our interest in improving publicly funded education or working toward a
fair deal – in fact, they seem intent on eroding the quality of education and stripping your hard-won
collective agreement provisions. Rest assured, your PBT will continue to defend and promote your rights and working conditions. And as Catholic teachers across Ontario, we will remain united against any attempts to weaken our world-class publicly funded education system.

Reminder: Provincial Bargaining Town Halls
In order to provide Catholic teachers with information on the status of provincial bargaining, and to answer member questions, OECTA President Barb Dobrowolski will be joined by members of the Provincial Bargaining Team for two town hall meetings next week:

  • Tuesday, May 2, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 3, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Members are encouraged to register to attend either one of the town hall sessions

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