The Minister of Education and Premier Dalton McGunity have been working very hard in the last few weeks to try and create turmoil for our public school system.
Part of this inexplicable attack on the education system that the Premier himself is proud to call “the best in the world,” has been to spread misinformation about the current state of negotiations between our boards and their respective unions.
I would like to set the record straight on a number of points.
Fact: OSSTF has never threatened to interrupt the start of the school year. OSSTF members will be proudly back in their schools and doing their jobs on the first day.
Any suggestions by the Minister of Education that this would not be the case is simply not true and designed to try and mislead the public and create a crisis.
Fact: OSSTF has already agreed to accept a wage freeze and made this offer to the government in the spring. The Liberals refused to even consider our offer to negotiate a deal that fit their fiscal parameters.
Fact: Negotiations usually take place after contracts expire.
This is very common and the working conditions of the previous collective agreement apply until a new one can be negotiated.
There is absolutely no urgency to this process as long as both parties are acting in good faith. There is no automatic raise as has been suggested incorrectly by the Liberals.
Fact: The Near North District School Board and OSSTF have been engaged in local bargaining and have more dates planned.
We have every reason to believe that we will be able to work with our school board and the publicly elected trustees and negotiate a fair collective agreement that works for both the Board and the Union.
I cannot understand why the Liberal government is deliberately interfering with our ability to negotiate and why they are intent on causing such chaos in education right before students return for the school year.
I am proud of the work of OSSTF and of my members and I am confident of their continued professionalism.
I am not as confident in the abilities of our current government.
OSSTF District 4 Near North