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HDLC letter to the Ontario Public School Boards' Association: Live up to your mandate!


December 16, 2019

W.R. (Rusty) Hick, Executive Director

Penny Mustin, Director of Labour Relations

Ontario Public School Boards' Association

1850-439 University Avenue

Toronto ON M5G 1Y8

Dear Mr. Hick and Ms Mustin:

In light of the apparent deadlock in negotiations with education workers in Ontario, the delegates to the Hamilton and District Labour Council instructed that the following message be conveyed to the Ontario Public School Boards' Association:

The Hamilton and District Labour Council is gravely disappointed that OPSBA is not living up to its mandate in speaking up for the best interests and needs of the public school system during the current Central Negotiations Table with the teacher and education support workers unions.

On the OPSBA website, the following statement regarding negotiations is made: "The focus of OPSBA's negotiation position is the improvement of student achievement and well being". The HDLC understands that the negotiating position being exhibited at the Central Negotiations Table by OPSBA does not reflect these lofty claims.

The HDLC urges OPSBA to advocate the following:

  • Restore all of the announced education funding cuts including: Secondary Programming Grant; Local Priorities Fund; Cost Adjustment and the Adjustment to the School Facility Operations and Renewal Fund;
  • Increase funding for all education programs and services by at least Ontario's current rate of inflation;
  • Revert to the 2018-19 class size regulation and maintain class size caps;
  • Eliminate mandatory e-learning programs;
  • Maintain the current sick leave provisions;
  • Improve existing JK/SK teacher and early education workers staffing levels;

As well, the provincial government must assure OPSBA that Bill 124 will not be an impediment to free collective bargaining.

There is a growing perception that OPSBA is acting in accordance with the Minister of Education's negotiations agenda.

The HDLC urges OPSBA to stand up for public education and resist the Ford government's regressive educational agenda. To do otherwise will be viewed as a dereliction of duty in supporting public education.

Sincerely,

Tom Atterton

Secretary

Copies to:

Cathy Abraham, President, Ontario Public School Boards' Association

Alex Johnstone, Chair, Board of Trustees, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board

Manny Figueiredo, Director of Education, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board

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