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ETFO’S 2019 ROUND OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING


BY VALERIE DUGALE AND TERESA MORRISON


E


TFO has a long history of advocat- ing for and negotiating significant improvements to educator work- ing conditions and student learning conditions. There’s no doubt that


our collective efforts have helped make On- tario’s public education system one of the best in the world. Working daily in the ETFO provincial of-


fice or in any one of its 76 locals serving 83,000 members, it’s easy to forget that not all mem- bers have the time to reflect on what it means to be part of a union. Given that your collective agreement ex-


pires on August 31, 2019, it’s a good time to ask what your union has done for you and other ETFO members and what it will do during the 2019 round of collective bargaining. You may say that the day-to-day pressures


of being an educator leave you with little time to think of anything beyond how you’re go- ing to get through the week. Or you may have turned to ETFO to help resolve professional is- sues, engage in professional learning, network with colleagues or pursue a passion for equity and social justice to help get you through your week, month or year. Whether you’re actively engaged with


the union or not, ETFO is a key part of your professional life. In an era when 40 percent of Ontario working people are in low-paying and precarious jobs, being a part of a progressive union with a proven track record of defending and improving working conditions, wages and benefits is a powerful thing.


34 ETFO VOICE | SPRING 2019


BARGAINING GAINS FOR MEMBERS AND STUDENTS


It’s common knowledge that the eight-hour work day, pensions, minimum wages, preg- nancy leaves, employment standards, equal pay, health and safety legislation and other initiatives were first negotiated by unionized workers and then extended to others. ETFO’s predecessor unions had a big hand in those im- provements and in other struggles during the 20th century.


In the last few years, ETFO has negotiated significant improvements in salary and working conditions. For example: • During the 2012 round of provincial bar- gaining, ETFO negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that eliminated the two-percent salary penalty imposed on members in 2008, re-establishing fairness in compensation between ETFO members and other public school teachers;


• The 2012 bargaining round also saw Sup- plimental Employee Benefits (SEB) for pregnancy or parental leave for all qualifying ETFO members increased to eight weeks at 100 percent salary;


• ETFO’s 2014-2017 Teacher/Occasional Teacher Central Agreement enshrined a teachers’ right to use professional judge- ment;


• The 2014-2017 Central Agreement and the 2017-2019 Extension Agreements resulted in year-over-year salary increases for all


ETFO members through the course of those agreements;


• ETFO’s 2017-2019 Education Worker Cen- tral Agreement included $2 million dollars to support paid professional learning for DECE, ESP and PSP members; and


• To address the significant issue of violence in the classroom, ETFO’s 2017-2019 Exten- sion Agreements required school boards to provide members with education and train- ing during Professional Activity days around reporting violent incidents.


Improving your working conditions is also tied to improving student learning condi- tions. As part of the 2017-2019 Extension Agreements, ETFO


• negotiated Kindergarten class size caps;


• closed a loophole in class size regulations that allowed 13 school boards to have larger class sizes in grades 4-8 than the average of 24.5 students;


• negotiated $50-million to hire thousands of additional permanent elementary special education teachers;


• ensured the creation of a $39 million Pri- orities Fund to hire additional permanent elementary teachers to support early years’ special education, and ELL, Indigenous and at-risk students. The fund was also used to provide one day of paid professional learn- ing for ETFO occasional teacher members for each year of the two-year agreement; and


Continued


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