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ETFO proposes amendments to Bill 122 to ensure a balanced and fair bargaining process

Posted: February 27,2014

News Category : ETFO News

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) tabled amendments today to Bill 122 designed to ensure the Ontario government’s proposed bargaining framework is balanced, fair, and works in the best interest of public education.

“The bill gives the government extraordinary authority in terms of a new central bargaining process,” said ETFO first vice-president Susan Swackhammer in a presentation to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.

“It is vitally important that decisions related to what items get discussed at the central table, the duration of the collective agreement, and any revisions to central table items are agreed to by all parties – the employee bargaining agents, school board representatives, and the government. Otherwise the whole concept of free collective bargaining is undermined.”

ETFO noted that Bill 122 gives the Minister of Education the authority to establish a notice to bargain period of up to 270 days. Swackhammer said that such a long period would only lead to unnecessarily protracted negotiations, and that ETFO recommends the notice period be within the last 180 days of the collective agreement.

In its presentation, ETFO noted that Bill 122 represents an important step forward from the lack of clear rules and responsibilities that characterized the previous rounds of informal provincial discussions between the government and education unions. Another key aspect of the bill is that it protects local bargaining and the right to strike at both provincial and local levels.