It's been well over a month since I looked in on this last, but it appears the Canadian Union of Public Employees is first out of the gate in the last several weeks in actually signing deals with school boards for collective agreements for full-day kindergarten early childhood educators (ECEs).
A Google Alert brought my eye to a Friday release on the conclusion of an agreement with one of the two boards I cover. A quick search of CUPE's news releases shows a similar agreement with the French-language Catholic school board for southwestern Ontario (odd, since it has had full-day kindergarten for years now), also released Friday, along with an earlier release on an agreement with the Upper Canada District School Board.
This compares to a continued sales pitch over at the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, where its ECE website is only full of releases telling ECEs why they should become ETFO members and slamming other federations.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation has its own ECE sales pitch website, where it too seems apt to throw stones at ETFO rather than post anything prominent about having actually signed any agreements with district school boards. OSSTF was invited to the provincial discussion table on ECEs, claiming victory for its work, but again there is scant to no news release on it either representing ECEs with a school board or having come to an actual agreement.
The 20% increase in pay claim is well, ironic, isn't it? While not the leading reason, it's these increases that pushed boards to the point where many (if not all) couldn't offer extended-day components of full-day kindergarten at a reasonable enough cost for parents to sign up en masse. Most boards would never admit that, saying the use of the regulation was due to poor parental interest in the program and/or low registration. I remain curious to hear the number of school boards that have used the regulation to get out of offering extended-day programs themselves and continue allowing third-party partners (who pay their ECEs less, no doubt) to run these programs for the next two school years.
It's always been a curiosity of mine to see what the battle for ECEs at school boards would look like, and it turns out it's been as interesting as expected. The government invited those unions with experience in working with ECEs to the table (freezing out ETFO and who knows who else), and the union with perhaps the most experience, period, is the first to come out and announce agreements.