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Labour Negotiations

School Status: All schools OPEN

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) represents OCDSB employees in secondary and elementary schools and administration offices. This includes secondary teachers; secondary occasional teachers; office, clerical and technical staff; custodial and maintenance staff; educational assistants; early childhood educators; adult education workers; and professional support staff.


Latest Labour Update:

December 10, 2019 - The ETFO has escalated its “work-to-rule” sanctions to Phase 2, starting on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. These sanctions apply in addition to the Phase 1 Sanctions, which began in November. The full list along with an FAQ can be found on the ETFO website.

December 6, 2019 - On December 6, 2019, OSSTF announced there will be a one-day full withdrawal of services of its members at nine district school boards on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. The OCDSB is not one of the nine targeted districts. On Wednesday, December 11th, all OCDSB schools will be open.

It is anticipated that OSSTF members may be holding “information pickets” outside of OCDSB secondary schools before and after school and during the lunch hour. Local union officials have advised that these pickets are intended to be friendly and meant to provide general information, and access to schools will not be impeded. However, it is recommended that parents and students prepare for potential delays and possible traffic or pedestrian issues at school sites.

Service Withdrawals

While all schools remain open, ETFO and OSSTF members will be conducting service withdrawal strike action in elementary and secondary schools. 

Elementary School Impacts

  • ETFO members will not participate in a number of Ministry or district led professional learning, training, meetings and other activities. Further details on ETFO website.
  • Information pickets by OSSTF members are possible at elementary sites.

Secondary School Impacts

OSSTF service withdrawals include:

  • Participation in EQAO preparation or testing;
  • Completion/Submission of Ministry of Education Data Reports;
  • Participation in School Board Professional Activities that are based on Ministry of Education or School Board Initiatives;
  • Participation in unpaid staff meetings outside the regular school day; and
  • Providing comments on any secondary provincial report cards

OSSTF members will also be potentially holding “information pickets” outside of secondary schools before and after school and during lunch hour. Local union officials have advised that these pickets are intended to be friendly and meant to provide general information, and access to schools will not be impeded. However, the OCDSB would recommend parents and students prepare for potential delays and possible traffic or pedestrian issues at school sites.


Further Information


Approaching a picket line:

There may be information picket lines or walk-ins at school sites and administration buildings during labour action. The following guidance is for approaching a picket line or walk-in:

  • Delays and possible traffic or pedestrian access disruptions may be possible at school sites and administration buildings.
  • Approach a picket line or walk-in as you would a busy intersection; come to a complete stop, watch for an opening for safe access/crossing, and exercise caution before proceeding.
  • Students, parents, and employees have the right to cross a picket line without harassment or intimidation.
  • Keep personal biases and emotions in check. Be friendly or neutral. Avoid verbal or physical confrontation.
  • If you are approaching a protest, walk-in or crossing a picket line in a vehicle, do not force your way through in a way that may endanger your safety or the safety of others.
  • In the event you feel your safety is at risk, do not cross the picket line.


Why does labour action by the OSSTF potentially affect both secondary and elementary schools?

The OCDSB is one of the few school boards in the province that has the OSSTF represent a broad range of educational support workers. For example, more than 1,800 OSSTF members work in our elementary schools as educational assistants, early childhood educators, custodial staff, and office staff. Without these staff at work, the OCDSB cannot provide adequate supervision of all students; ensure proper resources and supports for students with special needs; or maintain custodial and maintenance services.

To cite a few examples, educational assistants are assigned to schools to support the safety, behaviour and medical needs of students. Early childhood educators are an integral part of the educator teams (teacher and ECE) who provide support to Kindergarten students. Our office and clerical staff play a critical role in managing school administration, such as tracking student attendance.

How can parents prepare for a potential full strike?

Parents should begin to prepare for the potential escalation of strike action. For example, parents with young children or those in extended day programs may wish to consider in advance what other options they might have for childcare or speak with their employer about possible flexibility in work arrangements.

How is the OCDSB preparing for strike action?

The OCDSB is preparing for how we could support students and parents in the event of the escalation of strike action. Our priority focus in contingency planning is the health and safety of students.

How will the community be informed?

Regular updates will continue to be provided by email and posting of the latest news to our Labour Negotiations webpage and social media accounts. Should you have any urgent questions, please contact your school principal.

How do negotiations work?

Collective agreements for all employee groups in the Ontario education sector, except for principals and vice principals, expired on August 31, 2019. Collective bargaining is governed by the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014 (SBCBA) which establishes a two-tiered bargaining process:

Local negotiations are conducted between the OCDSB and the unions listed above. Central negotiations are done by the provincial representatives of the employee (unions) and the employer (the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association represents the OCDSB). The government, through the Ministry of Education, is also required to participate. Decisions about which items are negotiated locally or centrally is determined by a central table. Those items not considered “central” will then be handled at a local level. The OCDSB and local unions will negotiate these items through the steps of the collective bargaining process.

What does the Board hope to achieve through labour negotiations?

The OCDSB values all of our employees and remains committed to good faith bargaining and fair and fully-funded collective agreements which support student learning and well-being.

Will actions taken by other unions representing education workers affect OCDSB schools?

No. There are other unions representing education workers in Ontario (for example, CUPE) but they do not have bargaining units at the OCDSB and their actions will not affect OCDSB schools.

 

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