This has been a harrowing year for teacher’s across
the province. Bill 115 effectively stripped teachers’ unions of their
fundamental Charter rights and the larger public was fed a stream of
misrepresentations designed to turn sympathies against the unions and their
efforts to protest the Bill. But the unions wouldn’t be cowed into submission
by these tactics. They stood in solidarity and fought for their rights. And it
is a fight that has been well worth the while.
recently. Through lengthy negotiations with the Liberal government, the ETFO
has reached a new deal. The agreement is still tentative, but could go a long
way toward securing ETFO members the respect they deserve.
contract rolls around, ETFO teachers would be entitled to a 2% raise, at a
minimum. The 2% hike in the next contracts will go to redress a long-standing
wage disparity between ETFO members at public school boards and teachers at
other school boards. The wages of ETFO members is presently 2% lower than their
counterparts working in the French and Roman Catholic school boards.
of a teacher is the capacity to educate, to mentor, to inspire. A teacher’s
value does not flow from the language of instruction or from religious
affiliation. To hold otherwise is to condemn public school teachers to a
second-class status among their peers. Finally, the government is seeing that
such inequitable valuations are an embarassment to the education sector. Education
Minister Liz Sandals has admitted that there is no good public policy reason for
this difference and has stated the difference will be corrected by the next
contracts in September, 2014.
an enhanced retirement gratuity, would see an increase in maternity leave from
6 weeks to 8 weeks, and the creation of a health and safety task force.
repair a relationship with the education sector that some believed had been
irreparably damaged by the passage of Bill 115. This may in fact be a step in the
right direction. Despite injustices perpetrated the Liberals over the past
year, the unions have come to the table and negotiated with the government in
good faith. Though the Liberals are aware of the damage they’ve done to labour
relations with teachers, they have sldo been made aware of the reasonableness
of the unions. By negotiating with the government the unions have demonstrated
a desire to come to an understanding that the government may not have had any
right to expect. Some may call this taking the high road. Whatever you call it,
it certainly looks like the ETFO are doing what’s right not just by
its members, but by the Ontario public as well.