Province-wide education bargaining under consideration

Unions want framework agreements in universities too
By Lorna Harris
||Last Updated: 01/08/2009

In November 2007, Ontario’s education minister, Kathleen Wynne, encouraged meetings among trustee associations, teacher federations and unions representing education support workers to discuss the merits of province-wide bargaining on certain issues. What has resulted so far are four-year framework agreements with 19 federations and unions covering 327 (or 68 percent) of the public education sector’s 475 collective agreements. About 120,000 school board and provincial schools’ employees are involved.

The framework agreements cover pay increases, staffing increases and improvements to working conditions (including prep time), but other issues are still decided on a local basis. The chief reason for this change is to save time and money.

Even though the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has yet to participate, it is safe to conclude that combined contract bargaining (a.k.a. Provincial Discussion Table agreements) has been established with considerable success for Ontario school boards.