THUNDER BAY – Laurel Broten, Minister of Education has imposed contracts on sixty-five agreements with Ontario teachers. The Liberal Ontario government deal imposes a two year wage freeze, ends the ability of teachers to ‘bank’ sick days, and reduce the number of sick days from twenty to ten.
The unions have vowed to fight any ‘imposed contract’. The Ontario Elementary Teachers’ Federation says it is a “massive abuse of government power”, and that in a period of ten months, the Ontario government has wiped away years of labour peace and co-operation.
“This impasse was never created by my members,” stated Federation President Hammond at a press conference in Toronto. “There was never an effort by the Minister to create fair talks, without a hammer over our heads”.
Minister Broten approved all 65 locally negotiated and ratified agreements submitted by school boards prior to the Dec. 31, 2012 deadline set out in the Putting Students First Act. CUPE has been given until Jan. 14 to ratify 110 local agreements.
The McGuinty Government, in a press statement says, “Through an Order In Council, the Lieutenant Governor in Council – on the advice of Minister Broten – has implemented contracts for all school boards and unions that were unable to deliver ratified and approved collective agreements by the deadline. This does not include those that have received an extension until Jan. 14 for local ratifications. The authority to put in place contracts after Dec. 31, 2012 is granted under the Putting Students First Act”.
The Putting Students First Act was introduced and passed by a majority of the House to ensure that we could maintain the progress we’ve made in our schools and minimize labour disruption during the extended negotiation period. The Putting Students First Act has now accomplished this goal. Therefore, following the ratification period for CUPE and before the end of the month, the Minister of Education will move to repeal the Act.