A One-size-fits-all Approach to Binding Arbitration Will Not Serve Students and Local Communities, Say OECTA, AEFO, and ETFO in Joint Media Release

Today, the Association joined with the Association desenseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) to release a statement in response to the announcement that the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) may be entering into binding arbitration with the Government of Ontario.

The proposal for binding arbitration that OSSTF/FEESO received from the government is not something that the Association can consider at our bargaining table at this time. This position is also shared by AEFO and ETFO for their respective tables.

Entering into binding arbitration at this juncture would not support the students you serve – in elementary and secondary schools – as binding arbitration would all but guarantee that the key issues Catholic teachers have brought forward at the bargaining table, which are critical to learning and working conditions in our schools, would not be addressed.

Furthermore, the decision to enter into binding arbitration would impact the opportunity for meaningful local bargaining, diminishing your local unit’s ability to address issues that are specific to your school board and local circumstances.

For almost 15 months now, the Ford Conservative government has continually refused to engage in substantive discussions, despite your Provincial Bargaining Team’s many attempts to make progress and move negotiations forward.

Your Association will continue to stand strong and demand that bargaining issues be dealt with where they belong – at the bargaining table. And we once again call on the Ford Conservative government to respect our right to free and fair collective bargaining, and come to the bargaining table prepared to engage in meaningful discussions about the critical issues facing publicly funded education in Ontario – issues such as increased violence in schools, resources and supports for student mental health, teachers’ use of professional judgement, and teacher recruitment and retention.

Since the Association filed notice to bargain almost 450 days ago, your Provincial Bargaining Team has been singularly focused on realizing a fair collective agreement – one that protects and promotes Catholic teachers rights, and supports the students you serve. Our objective remains the same. However, it is clear the government does not respect the bargaining process at our table, and we are continuing our preparations to hold a province-wide strike vote of all active OECTA members on October 18 and 19.

Stay tuned for important information about upcoming strike rallies, and the strike vote. Together we will
stand united, and together – 45,000 strong – we will continue to defend the quality of publicly funded education in Ontario.

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