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OSSTF ratifies bargaining structure for provincial talks

DAN CEARNS The Standard

DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: Members in the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) ratified a bargaining structure which had been reached with the provincial government.

This news was announced on Wednesday, September 27th. Ratification votes were held over a three-week period, with the proposal receiving a yes vote from 78.4 percent of members. This agreement will see the OSSTF and the province of Ontario continue in negotiation, for the terms of a new collective agreement, until October 27th. At that time, all outstanding issues will be decided through arbitration. This agreement had been announced in late August as a tentative agreement.

“For over 14 months, we have tried to engage the [provincial] government in good faith bargaining but we haven’t had a partner at the table who cares about safeguarding our public education system. Now we have the opportunity to bypass traditional bargaining pathways, to secure a fair collective agreement,” OSSTF President Karen Littlewood said, in a statement.

The press release stressed, one of the key pieces of this agreement is, there will be “no strikes or lockouts during this round of bargaining between the government and OSSTF.”

At a press conference, on Thursday, September 28th, Education Minister Stephen Lecce welcomed this ratification announcement.

“That means a high school student [who] started last year will graduate in three years without the risk of a strike. This is a huge achievement for 400,000 students and their families, and I’m grateful to all the parties for coming together to put [children] first.”

The OSSTF press release noted, bargaining at the local level will continue until March 28th, with remaining matters being determined at the arbitration level after.

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