Message from Scott Stephens, President Local 1176

This message is being posted to clarify the announcement made on Friday by Premier Wynne and Education Minister Sandals, and also to address the rumours that started immediately circulating after the announcement.

The Council of Trustees Association is the bargaining agent for the provincial school boards of Ontario. These are the people our School Board Bargaining Committee (OSBCC) sit across the table from in negotiations.

The CTA has applied to the government for permission to impose sanctions on our members in retaliation for the LEGAL strike actions we have undertaken (Work To Rule, Phases 1 & 2). They claim the system is in chaos, so obviously our WTR is having the desired effect.

Some of the sanctions being proposed include possible docking of pay, reduction of hours, etc. Our employers, the School Boards, CANNOT LEGALLY CHANGE THE TERMS OF OUR COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE GOVERNMENT. At this time, the government is unwilling to give that permission.

Instead, Premier Wynne has instructed both sides to go back to the table and try to negotiate a settlement. She has given the parties 8 days to come up with an agreement. This means we are still in negotiations until November 1. DURING THIS PERIOD, EVERYTHING REMAINS IN PLACE, INCLUDING HOURS OF WORK AND FULL PAY.

If on November 1, no agreement has been reached, then the government MAY OR MAY NOT, DEPENDING ON HOW MUCH PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE, give permission to the CTA to impose sanctions. However, before sanctions may be imposed, the CTA MUST GIVE OUR UNION 5 DAYS NOTICE of their intentions. DURING THE 5 DAYS NOTICE, THE TERMS OF OUR COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT REMAIN IN PLACE, INCLUDING FULL PAY.

The earliest date the School Boards may impose sanctions would be Monday, November 9.

Our OSBCC Bargaining Committee has its own timeline for the progression of our Work To Rule sanctions, and we refuse to be bullied or intimidated by government or Trustee Association imposed deadlines.

The OSBCC wishes to stress to our members that our WTR actions are LEGAL AND HAVING AN EFFECT. We need to continue working under the WTR Instructions and let the negotiation process continue.

In the meanwhile, members are urged to ignore and discount any rumours crossing your path. Your Union Executive will try to keep you informed as soon as possible of any developments and updates as they occur.