Statement By Minister Broten On Local Bargaining
Today, Laurel Broten, Minister of Education, issued the following statement about local bargaining:
"We started discussions with our partners in February - almost a year ago. Some unions decided to stay at the table to work toward solutions, while others made the choice to walk away. The agreement with Catholic teachers and the government is based on over 300 hours of negotiations. In total, the government spent hundreds of hours bargaining with teachers, education support staff and school trustees associations. I personally met with unions and associations 80 times.
After 10 months of negotiations and hundreds of hours at the table, we have seen agreements reached representing 55,000 teachers and over 4,000 support staff in the province. In addition, we have seen almost 40 agreements reached at the local level. Negotiated agreements are possible and they are the preferred approach. By reaching negotiated local agreements that are ratified by teachers and support staff, we can see a return to peace in our English public schools and can re-focus our efforts on what matters most: success for every student.
When the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) left the provincial discussion table after less than an hour of talks, we heard from them that they wanted to bargain locally. Unfortunately, they have not brought forward a single local agreement. It is important to remember that ETFO and other teacher unions had six months to bargain locally, before the Putting Students First Act was introduced. I encourage all of our partners, including ETFO, to get back to that work at the local level. That's where those discussions need to take place and there are still 10 more days for agreements to be reached.
Today, I spoke with Sam Hammond, Ken Coran and Fred Hahn directly and I urged them to use these final 10 days to focus their attention on working with local school boards. I am calling on the leadership of ETFO, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to put students first and to reach locally negotiated deals before the December 31st deadline."