ETFO’s Unfair Labour Practice Complaint

ETFO’s Unfair Labour Practice Complaint


Colleagues, Just before the March Break, ETFO uncovered
some disturbing information, which was reported to you in a Bill 115 remedy update on March
10th. During settlement discussions, ETFO was repeatedly
told by the Liberal government that it had no more money available to fairly compensate
ETFO members for the significant losses they incurred under Bill 115. At the same time it was telling us it could
not offer our members more than a fraction of what they lost, ETFO found out the government
had also been involved in secret talks with unions that were not part of our Charter Challenge. You may have seen in the news that the Liberal
government recently, and very quietly, agreed to pay the Catholic teachers’ union, OECTA,
$31 million dollars. The cover story given to the media is that this payout is related
to a local grievance filed by OECTA about salary grid movement during the 2014-2015
school year. But that story doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.
The government isn’t a party in local grievances filed by teacher unions, and it doesn’t pay
financial compensation when teacher unions win local grievances. Also, the government
is providing similar payouts to other organizations that haven’t won grievances. For example,
another teacher union, AEFO, filed a similar local grievance and lost. That union is also
receiving a payout from the government. When you examine the facts closely, the deals
made by the Liberal government with unions that were not part of the Charter Challenge
are, without a doubt, poorly disguised Bill 115 settlements. Why are these payouts a problem? First – It means Kathleen Wynne’s government
very likely offered ETFO members an inferior Bill 115 remedy settlement so it could provide
tens of millions of dollars in payouts to education sector unions that supported the
Liberals’ austerity agenda in 2012. The second problem goes beyond the Bill 115
remedy settlement and raises serious concerns about the Liberal government’s conduct during
ETFO’s 2014 round of central bargaining. Collective bargaining is a process that requires
everyone at the table to negotiate in good faith. In Ontario, all parties have a legal
duty under the Labour Relations Act to be honest and transparent about their intentions,
provide complete information, and be truthful in their statements when they are bargaining
agreements. Withholding information that one party needs to accurately assess a proposal,
or deliberately misleading the other party, violates that duty. During the 2014 round of central bargaining,
the government insisted that no deal could be reached with ETFO unless grievances we
had filed about the 97 day delay in salary gridmovement during the 2014-2015 school year
were considered resolved. ETFO signed the 2014-2017 central agreement
based on the understanding that all teacher unions had agreed that the delay in grid movement
would end in September 2015. ETFO would not have resolved its salary grid
grievances on any other basis. We now know that the Liberal government has
provided money to unions that were not part of the Charter challenge and will not reach
a fair Bill 115 remedy with ETFO,a union that sought to protect the Charter rights of its
members in court. In ETFO’s view this action, and the government’s
conduct around grid movement during the 2014 round of bargaining, is contrary to the government’s
legal obligation to not act in a discriminatory manner and to bargain in good faith. Your Provincial Executive cannot allow the
Liberal government’s actions to go unchallenged. As a result, today ETFO is filing an unfair
labour practice complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board against the government. Links to ETFO’s unfair labour practice complaint
and explanatory notes are included in this eNewsletter for members to review. ETFO is also considering other legal options
in response to the government’s deceptive and unethical behaviour. You have my assurance
that ETFO members will be kept informed as these options are implemented.

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