CUPE National congratulates Ontario education workers on reaching a tentative agreement after a particularly difficult round of bargaining with the Province of Ontario and the Council of Trustees’ Association.
No deal contains all we seek, but we are confident the bargaining committee secured all that could be secured. It is a particularly good result following the attacks on your collective bargaining rights and your right to strike, as represented by the now-repealed, thoroughly unconstitutional Bill 28. That piece of legislation, which you pushed back, would have imposed a concessionary collective agreement and wages approximately half what your committee was able to bargain.
The OSBCU bargaining committee was able to achieve a breakthrough wage settlement, after more than a decade of legislated wage restraint. The agreed wage increase of $1 per hour in each year of a four-year collective agreement will result in wage increases of 3.59% on average across your bargaining unit, or roughly 14.4% compounded over four years. For the lowest paid workers in the education sector, the flat rate of $1 per hour, per year amounts to more: 4.2% each year or 16.8% compounded over four years.
The bargaining of a flat rate increase itself is an achievement, one that helps lift the wages of the lowest paid workers in a way that bargaining straight percentage increases does not.
Additionally, your bargaining committee secured funding to ensure consistency in the benefits trust, pushed off concessions on sick leave, and achieved status quo on job security provisions.
It is also worth noting your bargaining committee managed to secure repayment for the two days of political protest you were forced to undertake as a result of Bill 28. This is a particularly appropriate achievement, one that recognizes that you should not have had to do that just to maintain Charter-enshrined bargaining rights you always had.
While you were not able to achieve all you sought in this round – namely, funding for additional, much-needed services, we recommend acceptance of this tentative agreement alongside your bargaining committee. Your fight for better services in public education will continue in the political and community arena, thanks to the tremendous mobilizing efforts of the OSBCU.
We are very proud of what has been achieved here, in one of the toughest rounds of negotiations in the country this year.