TORONTO, Oct. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Over 75 Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) locals have requested conciliation to help negotiate collective agreements. ETFO collective agreements expired on August 31, 2012. Since then, ETFO members have been working without collective agreements in place.
"The government disregarded Ontario's legal collective bargaining process and, instead, imposed drastic cuts to ETFO members' collective agreements and democratic rights through Bill 115," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "This has created challenges that we haven't been able to resolve at local bargaining tables. ETFO has no choice but to ask the Ministry of Labour to assign conciliators to resolve problems that the government - not school boards - created."
The Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA) allows a union or employer to request third-party assistance, called conciliation, from the Ministry of Labour during negotiations. A conciliator is then appointed to try and help each local and its respective school board reach an agreement.
In September and early October, strike votes took place in ETFO locals throughout the province. A record number of ETFO members participated in those votes and delivered an overwhelming mandate for strike action.
"By delivering the highest strike vote percentages in ETFO's history, our members have sent a clear message: they reject the government's assault on their democratic rights and want to continue to participate in the collective bargaining process set out in the OLRA," said Hammond.
"If the Liberal government's goal now is to negotiate rather than legislate deals with other public sector workers it has no choice but to repeal Bill 115 which, in spite of what the Minister of Education says, goes far, far beyond a wage freeze."
"Our goal is to reach fair, legal settlements. ETFO will do everything it can to ensure our members are able to fully participate in the legal steps of the collective bargaining process. Those steps include taking strike votes and engaging in conciliation."
|The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is the professional and protective organization representing over 76,000 teachers, occasional teachers, and education professionals employed in the public elementary schools of Ontario.|
SOURCE: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
For further information:
Lisa Mastrobuono, Collective Bargaining Communications - Cell: 416-200-3674