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Arbitrator awards Bill 124 remedy for OSSTF/FEESO school board members

OSSTF/FEESO Central Bargaining Update:

 

As reported in Bargaining Bulletin Issue # 51, on January 15 and 16, OSSTF/FEESO participated in an interest arbitration process chaired by arbitrator William Kaplan, to determine a remedy for wages unlawfully suppressed under the Ford government’s Bill 124, which unconstitutionally restricted public sector bargaining. 



Today, Arbitrator William Kaplan issued his decision on a remedy, awarding OSSTF/FEESO members covered under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act (SBCBA) an additional 2.75 per cent compensation increase for 2021-2022.


All parties had already agreed to an additional 0.75 per cent increase in each of the first two years (2019-2020 and 2020-2021) of the 2019-2022 collective agreement. The total compounded increase is 7.41 per cent for the 2019-2022 contract term, including the one per cent annual increases allowed under the unlawful Bill 124.


Eligible OSSTF/FEESO members under the SBCBA will now receive a retroactive payment for the 2019-2022 contract term and for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years. 


This retroactive payment is a remedy for wages that should never have been denied to them in the first place, but our fight doesn’t end here. We have challenged Bill 124 in court since its inception and we will continue to do so until all affected OSSTF/FEESO members receive a remedy for the wages stolen under the unconstitutional law.


An FAQ document describing how the remedy will be applied is included with this Bargaining Bulletin. You can also read our joint media release with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) on the OSSTF/FEESO  Facebook Page and website.


The bargaining pathway voted for by members in the fall of 2023 allowed us to secure this arbitrated remedy for school board members in advance of any final court decision on Bill 124, and the arbitrator’s decision reinforces what we have known all along; OSSTF/FEESO members have been underpaid and undervalued for years while the Progressive Conservatives underfunded public education and shortchanged Ontario’s students.


The Ford government's shortchanging of public education has caused significant staff recruitment and retention issues in Ontario schools. We will now seek to address these significant concerns through Voluntary Binding Interest Arbitration to determine the outstanding central terms of the 2022-2026 Teacher/Occasional Teacher and Education Worker collective agreements. 


The interest arbitration hearings are scheduled to begin on April 8 and 13, 2024. Prior to the April 2024 interest arbitrations dates, we have scheduled mediation dates with arbitrator Kaplan to determine whether the parties can resolve any matters before the April hearing dates. The mediation dates are scheduled for February 24 - 25, March 2 - 3, and March 24 - 25, 2024.


Bargaining Bulletins are available on the myOSSTF section of the OSSTF/FEESO website. Please check myOSSTF for updates.

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