March 8 International Womens’ Day 2017
Day Without a Woman
March 8 is International Women’s Day. This important day is synonymous with the fight for women’s rights especially the right to vote, proper working conditions for all workers and international peace. Check out the following link for a timeline and history of IWD. https://www.internationalwomensday.com/About
This year organizers of the Womens March have called for a global Day Without a Woman. Please see the attached Memo from OSSTF Provincial with information on how you can participate.
Also included here is a local event taking place on March 7 in advance of IWD. Join in!
Changes Coming to Provincial Bargaining Legislation
What Is Being Changed?
The information below is based on a presentation to the D9 Communications and Political Action Committee by Chairperson Enver Villamizar analyzing the legislation.
On February 21, Education Minister Mitzie Hunter tabled Bill 92, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Amendment Act in the Legislature. The proposed bill would amend the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, the legislation that governs collective bargaining in the K-12 education sector.
All quotes are from the Government of Ontario news release about what the legislation contains, while all italics are notes from the presentation to CPAC.
“Allowing collective agreements to be extended to support improved flexibility for all parties.”
This refers to permitting contract extensions. The current legislation explicitly prohibits an extension, however with this change extensions will be legal.
“Ensuring parents and students are well-informed in advance of labour disruption by requiring an additional five days’ notice for strikes and lock outs in certain circumstances. This is in addition to five days of notice already included in the Act.”
This provision would require a union to give five days’ notice every time it seeks to escalate or to change its strike actions. Extending the notice period for such changes would give the government more time to pass legislation imposing contracts.
“Requiring that the trustees’ associations clearly report on the public funds they receive, including salaries for labour relations employees exceeding $100,000, as a means to improve transparency.”
Talk about transparency for the trustees’ associations is an attempt to present the government as a neutral body between school board associations and unions. In fact more and more the government and the school board associations act as one in attacking public education and those who provide it.
“Requiring participation for all education-sector unions in central bargaining to ensure consistency across the province.”
This relates to support staff bargaining units within the different education unions who were not forced under the Act to negotiate at central tables, but could do so voluntarily.
“Ensuring that any new bargaining unit formed during the term of a collective agreement is subject to the central terms negotiated by its applicable teachers’ federations or education workers’ unions. This supports improved consistency and equity.”
This would appear to eliminate local negotiations for a first contract for a new bargaining unit until 2019 at least, given that any such first agreement must be subject to central terms contained in the applicable extended agreement which, if the current extensions are ratified, will exclude local bargaining over the life of the agreement.
“Allowing the government or the applicable trustees’ association to get status updates on local bargaining and, if asked, to assist with local negotiations.”
This indicates that the provincial government and provincial trustees’ associations want mechanisms to give themselves an explicit role in local negotiations between unions and school boards, albeit only if asked. This suggests that school boards will come under increasing pressure to submit to provincial dictate first voluntarily, and later as a requirement, if they refuse.
“Granting all parties the ability to file a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to resolve conflicts between central and local agreements.”
This relates to how contradictions in language between central and local agreements are resolved. How such contradictions are resolved, and according to what parameters, is a matter of great importance as the government moves to eliminate any local arrangements which are of a higher standard than central agreements.
“Changing language from ‘consent’ to ‘mutually agreed’ in certain areas where the trustees and the Crown engage in joint decision-making.”
This appears to be a change in language for how the Minister of Education and trustees’ associations work together in preparation for and in the midst of bargaining.
“Clarifying the Minister of Education’s delegation authority and the role of the Education Relations Commission.”
The amendments would allow the Minister to delegate their substantial arbitrary powers under the Education Act, especially as it relates to oversight of school boards, to anyone in the Ministry who would also have the ability to sub-delegate those powers to someone else.
The Education Relations Commission was used by the government during the last provincial round of negotiations to provide anti-social justifications for the government to pass back-to-work legislation against striking teachers in the Durham, Rainbow and Peel district school boards. The government appointed body claimed that the right to strike must be limited “to uphold the public interest.” The Commission’s role is to “provide advice to the Lieutenant Governor in Council as to whether the continuation of a strike by school board employees or of a lock-out of school board employees will, in the opinion of the Commission, place in jeopardy the successful completion of courses of study by the affected pupils.” That the government is now “clarifying its role” in the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act suggests it wants to use it in the future to justify limiting the right to strike.
For the full text of Bill 92, click here.
Negotiate! Don’t Dictate!
Nova Scotia Teachers and Education Workers Oppose Imposed Contracts
Thousands of Nova Scotia teachers and education workers defiantly took part in a one-day walk-out on February 17 as the McNeil Liberal government passed legislation imposing contracts on 9,300 members of the NTSU. Thousands rallied in their towns and communities with the largest action taking place in Halifax at the Legislature. As a result of the imposed contract the NTSU has been forced to give up its work-to-rule campaign. The Liberal government dictated contracts after NTSU members rejected 3 tentative agreements with the government. Reports indicate that the main issue for the members was the government’s refusal to provide concrete improvements to class sizes and composition. Through their 18 months of resistance the Nova Scotia teachers have put the issue of class size and composition on the agenda for everyone in the province. Many parents and students stood with their teachers knowing that they in turn were standing up for their learning conditions.
OSSTF D9 Supports Those who Stand up for Themselves
The Communications and Political Action Committee of District 9 is proud to inform you that through donations from members we raised $735 to support the striking Essex Librarians. Having been on strike for nearly 8 months in defence of their rights to proper benefits our support means a lot. Bargaining Unit chairperson Lori Wightman thanked D9 for our support and indicated that it meant a lot to her members.
The Librarians ratified an agreement on February 14. The employers last ditch effort to dictate a 3rd party private provider for health insurance benefits was through arbitrarily cutting off Librarians health benefits despite. This despite assurances from the current provider that so long as the union continued to pay the monthly premiums there was nothing in the contract which required their benefits to be terminated during the strike. By resorting to threatening their employees health and well-being in order to force them to accept something they would not through negotiations, the County Council has set a very dangerous precedent. That the council had to resort to such brutal dictate speaks measures about the courage and tenacity of these librarians and their commitment to their working conditions.
March 11 – Annual Meeting of the Provincial Assembly of OSSTF – Toronto
March 18 – No to War and Racism Anti War Rally on 14th Anniversary of US Invasion of Iraq – Windsor Peace Coalition https://www.facebook.com/events/1279489915464007/
See Important Dates for more upcoming events