Have a good break!

Your Local Executive wishes you a happy and safe holiday break, and a prosperous new year!

Provincial Tentative Agreement Information


86% of ETFO members voted in favour of the tentative agreement.
98% of ETFO Locals voted in favour of the tentative agreement.

Provincial Tentative Agreement Information Session
Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Location: ETFO office, Fonthill
Time: 4:30-6pm
Please RSVP to lianne@niagaraot.org

Come out to learn the details and have your questions answered!

Telephone Town Hall Information

Niagara's town hall call is scheduled for Wednesday, November 11th from 6:30-7:30pm

Online Voting

Online voting is now open.  Click here to vote.

Need help with voting?  Go to the FAQ, or call the Help Centre at 1-877-869-8233.

Bargaining Update September 15

The government and OPSBA have walked away from the provincial bargaining table.  ETFO remains ready to bargain.  For the time being, ETFO will be staying the course with our Phase 2 Work to Rule that began on September 3rd.

Phase 2 WTR and other strike news...


Update: Phase 3 Work to Rule protocols (PDF)

Phase 2 Work to Rule protocols (PDF)

Phase 2 Work to Rule FAQ (PDF)

More Phase 2 FAQs August 27, 2015 (PDF)

Phase 2 Work to Rule (which includes all the previous work to rule items) begins on the first day of school if a provincial agreement with ETFO has not yet been reached.

Note that OSSTF and OECTA have recently reached tentative agreements (details of which are confidential until ratified by their members).  While technically these deals are separate from ETFO, they will likely set a pattern that the province will wish to follow when dealing with ETFO.  Provincially we return to bargaining on September 1st, so it's possible that we'll have a provincial deal before school starts.

That being said, that still leaves us with Local bargaining.  Locally, the DSBN has so far basically only agreed to amend the address of ETFO's head office in Toronto.  Once a provincial agreement is in place, though, we'll all have a clear picture of what is and isn't addressed at the provincial level and be able to get down to more meaningful discussions.  We won't have a complete collective agreement until both the provincial and local agreements are finished and ratified by the members.

A Provincial agreement should take care of some of the "big" items, but there will likely be items that didn't get covered that we may need to try to get some language for locally.  At the Local level, our items tend to be more nitty-gritty amendments to address issues that affect how effectively the union can represent you or which currently present loopholes to what we feel the intent of the original language was.  For instance (this is a non-exhaustive list):

  • Ensuring union representation during discipline procedures, and better ways of dealing with allegations.
  • Access to information.
  • Offence declaration procedures more in line with those for other employees.
  • A meaningful cap to the OT Roster.  Our current 646 person cap is the number we stopped the Board at through arbitration; it by no means represents a negotiated number that reflects any conscious thought or calculation of a number that would help everyone receive a decent amount of work while still ensuring there are no unfilled jobs.
  • Job callout and cancellation procedures.  There are currently no rules surrounding these items.
  • Immediate placement on grid pay when placed in an LTO through interview (as opposed to a daily job that morphs into an LTO after 10 days).
  • Benefits in an LTO after 40 days if it wasn't known in advance it would be at least 40 days (this is an unaddressed item that currently allows many LTOs to be denied access to benefits).
Technically at the Local level we can reach impasse, file for conciliation, and reach a legal strike position just as we have at the Provincial level.  If DSBN seeks to simply maintain the status quo on everything not addressed in a provincial agreement, it may be necessary to apply some pressure to see some movement on longstanding issues.  We'll cross that bridge if we come to it, though.

What's really protecting you?

Are you aware that, minimal as the protections in the Employment Standards Act are, that there are exceptions in it that allow fewer protections at work for teachers?

Under the Employment Standards Act:
  • Teachers and OTs are not entitled to minimum wage.
  • Teachers and OTs are not entitled to breaks.
  • Teachers and OTs are not entitled to a lunch period.
  • Teachers and OTs are not entitled to public holidays.
  • Teachers and OTs are not entitled to limits on hours of work.
  • Teachers and OTs are not entitled to the same personal leave provisions as other workers.

Your collective agreement protects you even when the law doesn't.  And as you hopefully know, your union always strives to bargain the best working conditions possible, rather than the bare minimums required by law.  To download a poster showing the above, click here.

Strike Action beginning May 11th

As you've all heard by now, strike action begins May 11th.  Please e-mail president@niagaraot.org if you haven't been receiving the collective bargaining bulletins by e-mail or if you're not subscribed to our e-newsletter.

More information will be coming out to you before the 11th, and if you have any questions feel free to e-mail or call me at 905-892-0270.

Local Annual General Meeting May 26th, 2015

Local Annual General Meeting
Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
Time: 4:30-7:30 (dinner provided)
LocationClub Capri, 36 Cleveland St, Thorold
Please RSVP to kim@niagaraot.org

We'll cover developments in collective bargaining, an overview of what's been happening this year, review the budget, and we'll also be having our Local Executive elections.  If you're interested in serving on the Local Executive, please take a look at our April newsletter for an overview of what's involved.  Of course, we'll also be serving a great meal as usual, and have draws for an iPad Mini, a free AQ course, and door prizes!

Message from Sam Hammond - April 2, 2015

Update: On April 23rd, ETFO received their "no board" report.  17 days later we're in a legal strike position on central table items.

Questions about conciliation and "no board" reports?  Find your answers here.

Right to Strike Affirmed by Canada's Supreme Court

The right to strike has been affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada as a right protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This landmark ruling will help level the playing field between employers and employees, and will certainly bolster ETFO's Charter challenge against Bill 115, which imposed contracts on teachers.  We can expect to see ripples from this ruling for many years to come.

Read about it in the Globe and Mail, and also read the Globe's Op-Ed column by Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

You can also read the actual Supreme Court ruling.