Ontario School Board Council of Unions Convention Report 2019

It’s been quite a year – and it’s not over yet. We face many unknowns, but we do know that we are dealing with a provincial government that promotes private over public, austerity over adequate funding, and policies that punish workers and the people we serve, all while proclaiming it’s doing it “for the people.”

Our success depends on your support and doing the work on the ground at the local level. We have been working with local leaders and staff to ensure that our locals are ready to bargain and that our members are also ready to mobilize in our workplaces and communities. We have launched training opportunities throughout the province, we have built alliances, and launched a new website that will be the public face of OSBCU to our members and the communities we serve.

OSBCU Convention Report

Supporting Students with Autism

 JOINT STATEMENT FROM EDUCATION WORKERS’ UNIONS IN ONTARIO 

 As parents, educators, front-line workers, education stakeholders’ and as concerned residents in Ontario, we strongly urge the government to rethink its rash decision-making on the Ontario Autism Program and put the needs of children with autism first. 

The Ford government’s reckless changes to the way it supports children with autism – in particular, its cuts to direct public and not-for profit services in the community – puts desperately needed services at risk. 

These changes are a devastating blow to thousands of families and will undermine the inclusion of children with autism in the public education system. 

OSBCU Joint Statement

Ford government recommends Ontario school boards freeze hiring ahead of upcoming budget

CBC News Article – Lucas Powers · CBC News ·

The provincial government has recommended that Ontario school boards implement a hiring freeze until the details of the upcoming budget are solidified.

“I am writing to you today to recommend that school boards exercise prudence in making hiring decisions in light of the upcoming Ontario budget and the recent consultation on class size and hiring practices,” said Nancy Naylor, deputy minister of education, in a memo sent to school board heads on Thursday.

“School boards are advised to defer the annual processes of filling vacancies for retirements and other leaves related to teachers and other staff until the minister of education provides an update to the sector on or before March 15th,” Naylor continued.

The memo comes as the government reviews feedback obtained during recent consultations on class sizes in Ontario. Changes could include the removal of the cap on kindergarten and primary grade class numbers.

School boards have previously expressed fears that they could be hit by funding cuts as the Progressive Conservatives look to dig the province out of a $13.5-billion deficit.

‘It’s going to be very difficult’

Robin Pilkey, chair of the Toronto District School Board — the largest board in Ontario — says the memo makes it “pretty obvious” that bad news is likely on the horizon when it comes to boards’ budgets.

“It’s going to be very difficult,” Pilkey said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.

“Decisions are going to be made that, frankly, I think a lot of parents will be unhappy with. Our board has a large budget, but we don’t have a lot of flexibility in that budget due our collective agreement.”

This year will see the Ontario’s elementary school teachers’ union renegotiate terms of its collective bargaining agreement with the government.

Pilkey said she believes the ministry of education is sending a “shot across the bow” before the talks commence.

“I think of all this is skirmishing in advance of the contract negotiations.”

Meanwhile, the provincial government is also considering eliminating full-day kindergarten after the 2019-2020 school year, though it has committed to keeping some form of “full-day learning” in place. It recently completed consultations on the matter.

Maria Rizzo, chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, said all of the education-related consultations have failed to incorporate key voices in the conversation around what school boards need, and that the government has not adequately communicated what changes it expects to implement.

“We’re in the dark. We get memos in the middle of the night. We have no idea what they’re looking at. They haven’t spoken to our directors of education about priorities that school boards have,” Rizzo said.

She added that she is concerned that province will attempt to balance its budget “on the backs of kids.”

PCs taking ‘hard look’ at school board spending

In an email statement issued Friday afternoon, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said she wants “parents to know that it is my number one priority to ensure each and every student will have access to a meaningful education.”

“To achieve this, we need to take a hard look at how school boards spend their money and make sure every single dollar invested in our education system, is a dollar invested in a student’s future,” Thompson said.

Speaking to reporters at Queen’s Park, the NDP’s education critic MP Marit Stiles said the government is “setting the stage for deep cuts in the classroom.”

She said the hiring freeze will mean that “critical education positions” will go unfilled for the new school year, and that educators will be asked to do far more with fewer resources.

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli has not revealed when the provincial budget will be released, though it generally occurs some time in the spring.

OMERS Pension Plan Protected and Next Steps

 Last week, thanks to all your efforts and working with our allies, we were successful in not only stopping all the proposed, concessionary changes to the OMERS pension plan, but also in securing a long sought after, positive provision for paramedics. 

As noted in our joint communication last week with other OMERS Sponsor unions, the OMERS Sponsor Corporation (SC) Board voted against implementing: 

  • Changes to the 100 % guaranteed indexing benefits; 
  • Changes to early retirement benefits; 
  • Changes to pension calculations as part of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) expansion.

 

Read More on OMERS Memorandum

Custodial Radio Ad Campaign

All

Ontario School Board Council of Unions, Custodial Reference Group have developed a radio ad campaign.

“School Safety: It’s my Job is more than a tag line…. The reality is:  the work of our school’s custodians is School Safety.

We encourage custodians to leave voice mail messages on phones with their First and last name followed by “School Safety: It’s my Job” and likewise add this phrase to their email signature block.

Check it out

OSBCU – Member’s Bulletin September 2018

Welcome back!

A lot has changed since the end of the school year; here’s an update to start off September:

Professional development funds

The monies negotiated in the last round of bargaining for professional development will be transferred to boards at the end of August. Your local union and the employer reached an agreement as to how these funds would be used.

Wage increase

September 1, 2018 will see the first of three increases this school year. 

  • September 1, 2018 1% increase 
  • February 1, 2019 1% increase
  •  August 31, 2019 0.5% increase

Wage increases will clearly be a focus of central bargaining for our next contract.

Read more

EWBT – Planning Summer Travel

The weather is getting warmer, which means summer is on the way. If you have travel plans in your future, do not forget to take your benefits card with you! Your emergency medical travel coverage provides an important and valuable benefit to help you or a covered dependent if you experience a medical emergency while away.

Here are some facts about your coverage:

• Covers 100% of emergency medical services outside of Canada and within Canada, if the incident occurs over 500 kilometres from your residence

• Up to 60 days per trip, with an unlimited number of trips per year

• $1 million claims maximum per trip

Includes services such as:

• 24-hour phone access

• Coordination and support to find the services and care you need

• Transportation home or to another medical facility, if required (see brochure for details)

 

Read more from EWBT Newsletter

Solidarity Rally for Local 276 FHT in Owen Sound

Support Rally for local 276

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,

Please see the attached information regarding a RALLY BBQ for Local 276 who are currently on Strike.  The Rally is Tuesday June 12th, 2018 from 11-2.  Please join us there, show our support in numbers so the Doctors get the message that Local 276 has all of our support.  As you know the doctors are using SCABS to get the work done, a single day picket at The Agency in Owen Sound successfully stopped the Agency from supplying SCABS , however now CLAC (Christian Labour Association of Canada) is supplying SCABS, we need to stop this attack on Local 276 as well.

Come out and join the RALLY and BBQ on Tuesday!

In Solidarity,

Kevin Smith, President

Grey Bruce Labour Council

More information on the Rally