News Local

Elementary teachers reach tentative deal with Simcoe County District School Board

Cheryl Browne

By Cheryl Browne, Barrie Examiner



The local elementary union is slowly putting the finishing touches on contracts with the school boards and the province.

However, hundreds of French school staff and English unionized workers have yet to reach a deal at the provincial or board tables.

After 10 days of bargaining, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) reached an agreement late Monday night, said Simcoe County ETFO president Janet Bigham.

“We were very pleased to announce that a tentative deal was reached between our bargaining team and the school board,” Bigham said.

No details of the tentative agreement are being made public until it has been voted on by its members.

The 2,400 elementary teachers have been without a contract since Aug. 2014. ETFO reached a deal at the provincial bargaining table on Nov. 2 and it was ratified by its members Nov. 12, Bigham said.

Even though approximately 1,200 high school teachers have ratified the provincial portion of their contract, they are still bargaining at the local board level, said Janis Medysky at the school board.

Simcoe County's Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) have placed working sanctions on their members, asking teachers to cut certain administrative duties while board negotiations are underway.

“Secondary school teachers are in negotiations throughout the day,” Medysky said. “I'm hoping we can reach an agreement in the near future.”

But Medysky said board-level bargaining is still ongoing between the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) unions.

Medysky said OPSEU members, including clerical staff and education assistants, haven't settled their contracts at either the provincial or the county level.

CUPE has reached an agreement with the province, but has only one more meeting scheduled in December at board level, she said.

“We have eight collective agreements to sign,” Medysky said. “We're hoping to have those with the bigger memberships settled before Christmas.”

Additionally, OSSTF continuing education instructors and ETFO designated early childhood educators both have provincial agreements, but have yet to sign contracts with the SCDSB.

To further confuse matters, French administrative and support staff who fall under the OSSTF umbrella signed with the province last Friday, said Claire Francoeur, communications director with conseil scolaire Viamonde, the French school board.

“Now we have provincial agreements for each and every union, and we've started working at the local level, too,” Francoeur said.