The memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement between the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) and the province, available here and embedded below thanks to the Globe and Mail, is a scintillating read.
There are a few things that were glossed over in the rush to publish on the deal, the July 5 announcement and the July 6 reaction from the other federations and unions that are part of the sector. That reporting focused on wage freezes, unpaid professional development days and the like. I'd like to point out other stuff, 'cause that's what this space is kinda supposed to be about.
- Some were reporting the few Catholic teachers who still have retirement gratuities would lose them as they've been cancelled. Indeed they have, from Sept. 1 onwards. But on Sept. 1, any unpaid days up to the max allowed in each local agreement are vested. Once vested and the teacher retires, those days will be paid out. This does not eliminate the long-term liability to school boards and by extension the government, but it does prevent it from growing.
- The bigger, more substantial changes to long-term and short-term disability plans beyond the annual sick days are subject to a further agreement between the Ontario Teachers' Federation and the government. Given how, uh, welcoming the others were to this MOU, that'll be a big hill to climb.
- Post-retirement benefits change effective Sept. 1, 2013, with retirees separated into their own experience pool for which they alone will cover costs of coverage. This is a key concession, though I'm unaware of its dollar value -- one that will likely lower experience ratings and benefit payments for working teachers.
- My read on the unpaid PD days? They're to come from the existing allotment of days on the calendars as already submitted to the ministry.
- Funding for individual PD for elementary teachers and expansion of secondary programming (the latter referenced in the 2008-12 provincial discussion table agreements) is gone.
- Classroom teachers retain the individual right to choose assessment tools, providing they fit within the scope of the (yet unreleased) policy and program memorandum on the "effective use of diagnostic assessments."
- Without knowing the conditions of individual collective agreements and the PDTs from 2008-12 on how occasional teachers move up grids and compete for placements and full-time, permanent contracts, I can't determine whether the portions of the MOU here are that different from existing practice.
- This MOU does include a "me too" clause for any other agreements the province signs in the sector-- meaning that as long as OECTA and Catholic boards follow their MOU, they'll also be able to benefit from other agreements. That same section also notes that all school board employees are to be covered by the wage freeze put in place by the government.
- My favourite section of the entire document, given by Twitter griping Friday-- "consultations... to develop the appropriate legislative and regulatory framework for provincial bargaining that would, if approved by the legislature, take effect Jan. 1, 2014."
This would also avoid the silliness of what the federations who walked away from the provincial discussions -- let's not forget they walked away as they await their invitation to return -- so they can bargain with their employer of record at the school board level. As though any board would agree to crap where it eats by agreeing to fund something the province isn't giving it money to cover. Most boards have enough of a challenge paying for the things the province provides funding to cover.
There's been plenty of reporting on the OECTA announcement, as well as the reaction the following day, much of it commendable since there are so few education reporters in Ontario. However, take the time to read the MOU for yourself. Linked above, embedded below.
PDF Version MOU OECTA and Gov't of Ont Jul5-2 12