NORTH DURHAM: With elementary teacher’s escalating their work to rule, Premier Kathleen Wynne made a bold move on Friday, Oct. 23, threatening to dock teacher’s pay.
Premier Wynne has given the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) until Sunday, Nov. 1 to end their work to rule action before the government will start docking paycheques.
School boards across the province recently asked the Premier if they could start docking pay for the withdrawal of services.
ETFO President Sam Hammond said this action wouldn’t have been necessary if the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association had returned to the table sooner.
“Up until now, the government has done little to move negotiations forward. The Premier has just committed to eight full days of bargaining,” he said in a press release. “(OPSBA) and the government need to send people to the table with a mandate to resolve the outstanding issues that are preventing us from reaching an agreement.”
However, Mr. Hammond has also said that the work to rule actions won’t stop until a deal is in place. The ETFO has said that their teachers will pull out of all voluntary extracurricular activities starting on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
Provincial negotiations resumed on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 23.
Talks in the negotiation, which have been ongoing for more than a year, previously took place on Monday, Oct. 5, and broke off on Saturday, Oct. 10.
At that time, Mr. Hammond said in another press release that ETFO was waiting for OPSBA and the province to “develop a revised proposal” that addresses the union’s concerns, but “that didn’t happen.”
OPSBA president Michael Barrett told The Standard that the Province, OPSBA and ETFO have come to an agreement on a majority of the issues and that two issues remain on the table. Those issues are sick leave pay and benefits.
ETFO filed an unfair labour practice complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board on Tuesday, Sept. 29. The complaint stated that the OPSBA and the province had refused to bargain in good faith.
The over 78,000 teachers ETFO represents have been without a collective bargaining agreement since August of 2014.