TORONTO, July 5, 2012 /CNW/ - After nearly five months of discussions, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) has reached an agreement with the provincial government laying the foundation for the next round of local bargaining for teachers in Ontario's Catholic schools.
"We continued discussions, even when other unions left the table, because we believed that negotiating was the best way to secure a fair and reasonable agreement for our members - and we believe we have achieved that goal," said Kevin O'Dwyer, OECTA president. "This agreement mitigates the impact of the government's original parameters, protects younger teachers from having to make larger sacrifices and achieves significant gains for our members on key non-monetary issues."
The two-year agreement works within the government's stated fiscal constraints for the Catholic education system and has a number of alternative cost saving measures that ensure a fair and equitable distribution of restraints across the Catholic system. Highlights of the agreement include:
- a two-year wage freeze for all educators in the Catholic system, including principals
- three unpaid days in 2013-14 in the Catholic system for teachers, principals and vice-principals, ensuring that everyone, not just young teachers, share in the impact of the fiscal constraints;
- partial payment of salary grid increments over the two years;
- grandparenting of retirement gratuity programs on a go-forward basis;
- a revised short-term leave and disability plan that protects members who may need more than 10 days off for serious illness, chronic health problems, pregnancy or surgery;
- language for a fair hiring practice; and
- greater recognition of teacher professionalism and their ability to direct classroom assessments that complement and inform student learning.
"With 20 years experience in collective bargaining, this has been one of the most difficult negotiations I have encountered, with the most at stake for our students and our members," said O'Dwyer. "This agreement ensures Ontario's Catholic education system will continue to provide an exceptional learning environment for our students while achieving desired outcomes for our members and addressing the government's fiscal concerns."
- OECTA represents 43,000 elementary and secondary teachers in 29 Catholic school boards across Ontario.
- OECTA has met with government representatives on 28 separate occasions over the past five months.
- All OECTA collective agreements expire August 31, 2012.
- Local collective agreements between employers (school boards) and employees (local OECTA units) still need to be negotiated and signed.
For further information:
Diana Thomson, Associate Editor
416-925-2493 xtn 507