Opening Statement



Friday, 1 June 2012

PDT Update + Some Notes

The latest PDT update from OECTA Provincial is posted below, along with some of my own notes towards the end of my blog. These are of a general nature and any TSU member questions should be forwarded to our Collective Bargaining Team at the email address given. The update from OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer reads:

On May 22nd and 23rd negotiations resumed between OECTA, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association and the Government. At the onset of the meeting the government presented to the parties amendments to their original parameters, which included:

1. An increase in sick days from 6 to 10 days per year at 100%;

2. A new parameter dealing with provincial benefit plan organization through bargaining agents; and


3. A new parameter dealing with provincial bargaining.

Although these amendments do not address the many concerns that OECTA has with the government parameters, they are the first sign that the government is willing to negotiate with OECTA. Your Association will continue to work on your behalf to attempt to find solutions with the government that also addresses the concerns of you, our members.

Further talks are scheduled for May 28 and 29.


REVISED GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO PARAMETERS FOR THE 2012 PDT DISCUSSIONS

The following outlines the parameters, which serve as the basis for the 2012 - 2014 PDT agreements.

Parameter: Term of the Agreements 

Term of 2 years [Sept. 12, 2012 to Aug.31, 2014].

Parameter: Salary Increases

0% salary increases for 2 years (Sept 1, 2012 to Aug 31, 2014).

Parameter: Retirement Gratuities and Sick Leave

Replace retirement gratuities with a short-term sick plan, as follows:

Freeze banked sick days accumulated as of August 31, 2012 and with future gratuity payout, upon retirement, at the employee’s salary rate in effect as of August 31, 2012.


Effective September 1, 2012 introduce a short-term sick leave plan which each year, and not carried forward from year-to-year, offers 10 sick days paid at 100% salary and 24 weeks at 66.66% salary.

Effective September 1, 2012, eliminate all accumulated non-vested sick days.

Parameter: Pensions

The government believes that filing a valuation of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) in 2012 is in the best interests of all partners. The government is seeking to resume negotiations with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation to secure the future viability and solvency of the OTPP for future generations. Government representatives in these negotiations will take the view that the viability and solvency of the OTPP must be secured without increases in government contributions and without negatively affecting the government’s fiscal plan.

Parameter: Salary Grids

Review school board employee salary grids with stakeholders during the term of the 2012 to 2014 PDT agreements including, but not limited to, how employees move on the experience and qualification salary grid (where applicable) and the variation currently in the monetary value of each grid step, with a view to future sustainability.

Current teachers and other school board staff whose salary is determined based on their placement on a salary grid and who are not at the maximum(s) of their experience on the salary grid will have their salary frozen as of August 31, 2012 for two years with no future adjustments to recognize those missed grid steps.

Current teachers and other school board staff whose salary is determined based on their placement on a salary grid and who are not at the maximum of qualifications on the salary grid will have their salary frozen as of August 31, 2012 for two years with no future adjustments to recognize missed movement across the grid. At the beginning of the next PDT agreements, placement on and future movement by qualification across the salary grid will be based on the new salary grid in effect as of August 31, 2014 and will not be retroactive.

Parameter: Province Wide Collective Bargaining


Ontario's 2012 Budget proposed to move forward with a more centralized approach to collective bargaining in the Broader Public Sector. In keeping with the 2012 Budget, the government will begin consultations in the fall of 2012 with the teachers' federations, support staff unions, school board trustee associations and school boards to develop the appropriate legislative and regulatory framework for provincial bargaining that would, if approved by the legislature, take effect by January 1, 2014.

Parameter: Benefit Plans

The government proposes to establish a committee composed of teachers' federations, support staff unions, school board trustee associations, school boards and the government (Ministries of Education and Finance) to fully investigate the creation of one or more "provincial" benefits plan(s) for the education sector, with a view to consolidation and consistency of approach. The Committee would complete its work by January 1, 2014 for consideration during collective agreement discussions in 2014, with solutions that ensure the fiscal sustainability of benefits plans for employees, employers, and taxpayers into the medium and long-term.

In solidarity,
Kevin O’Dwyer
President

End.....................................................................>

Some Notes of my own on the Ammendments:


The provincial government amendments are the first sign of movement in some time. Remember: ETFO, OSSTF and the french teacher's associations have walked. OECTA is the only teacher association still at the PDT table. While OECTA notes they do not meet our concerns, it shows a willingness of sorts to negotiate. It looks like OECTA will stay at the PDT table for the time being, but for how much longer would seem debatable.

The province is willing to grandfather our maximum number of sick days up to the maximum gratuity amount at their current monetary value. Not much new here, though with each year they are worth less. It is willing to raise the number of paid sick days up to 10 from 6, which will be paid at 100%, with 24 more weeks at 66%. Remember, we currently have 20 days. We are able to save or use any accumulated days in our sick day bank for an emergency. The amendment isn't any major concession worth applauding.



You will still lose any accumulated sick days above the maximum allowed amount you can cash in for your retirement gratuity after August 31st.  Also consider; the sick day bank and gratuity were negotiated with trade offs in past collective bargaining contract agreements. Can the government now just legally remove them from us? Hello Supreme court!

The 2 year 0% salary and grid freeze remains in place. Our teachers will not regain the salary or grid levels lost over the 2 years. In 2014 you will continue on a new grid from where you left off using the revised rates to be set by then. Our new and beginning teachers with less than 10 years experience will still each be beat for tens of thousands of dollars to help pay off the provincial debt!!!! No change here. General Motors must be pleased.

The province is only one partner on the pension board. All the partners agreed to do an evaluation last year, so another is not due until 2013. A majority of the partners would need to agree to reopen it again. Could the government succeed? How? Also confusing; when the province says they don't want to increase their contributions are they talking about a percentage or dollar price freeze? Big difference! S
cary stuff. Maybe that's the aim?

A provincial benefit plan for the education sector could give us a lot of clout in negotiating a collective group package at the best possible rate. Look for the big drug and benefit insurance companies to scream murder! The consultation process will take 2 years with a plan expected to be in place for the next collective agreement talks in 2014. It's an interesting proposal but we definitely need to know a lot more, but won't for another 2 years!!! Consider this; who will be in charge of the plan?



The PDT is now being expanded to include the school boards, other public service unions, and trustee associations at the table. It will sit down this fall to come up with a new province wide collective bargaining model by Jan.1, 2014. The agreement will need to be in approved by the legislature. One can't see any of our teacher federations being too happy with this amendment, especially considering most have left the table. My best guess would be  that the government is looking at playing a lot more hard ball  and eyeing an end run, not only with this contract but also in 2014. A power play?


Our teacher associations were hit hard by the provincial  NDP government in the early 1990's. The Conservatives were out for blood in the late 1990's. The Liberal government alone has worked co-operatively with us until now. Since 2003 they enjoyed our great support and collective good will. In a few short months that's been destroyed. It's a strategic gamble in the current minority government situation, which regardless of whether it works for them or not has created a toxic educational environment here in Ontario that will be hard if not impossible to fix. As teachers we no longer have any party we can trust. A great age of educational respect and co-operation in our province now definitely seems irreconcilably over. That is the greatest tragedy of all.

Two important Issues:

1] How long will OECTA remain alone at the PDT?

2] How are the other teacher associations going to react?

It would take a crystal ball to figure the answers out, but TSU members can direct any other questions they have to our Collective Bargaining Committee. Email them at:
 bargaining@tsuoecta.org  


For timely and accurate CB and other news also  join the TSU News List: http://tsuoecta.org/newsletter/lists/?p=subscribe&id=2  
               

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