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OCEW Central Tentative Agreement

Ontario Council of Educational Workers
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Click on the following links to download the Central Tentative Agreement documents:

In the face of the most challenging of times, the Ontario Council of Educational Workers (OCEW) reached a tentative agreement with the Council of Trustees’ Association (CTA) and the Ontario government on central terms for a new collective agreement. The summary of the agreement is below and there were no concessions during this round of bargaining.

The OCEW Bargaining Team unanimously recommends the acceptance of the tentative agreement to their respective members.

Bargaining Background

  • The Ontario Council of Educational Workers (OCEW) (ERFP and OPSEU are members of the Council) sent Notice to Bargain on June 24, 2019.
  • On Friday, Sept. 13, OCEW met and had discussions with the Council of Trustees’ Association (CTA), comprised of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA), the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) and the Ministry of Education on ground rules for bargaining and preliminary discussions to determine central and local table issues.
  • The OCEW filed an application for conciliation with the Ministry of Labour on Sept. 16.
  • OCEW Strike Votes completed by Oct. 31, 2019. 96 per cent in favour of authorizing Strike.
  • OCEW bargaining dates:    
    • November 14, 26, 27, 2019
    • December 10, 16, 17, 2019
    • March 30, 31, 2020
    • April 1-4, 2020
    • Tentative Agreement Reached April 4, 2020 (see Summary below)       

Ontario Council of Educational Workers (OCEW) Summary of Tentative Agreement

April 4th, 2020

Wage increases:

  • September 1 2019 – 1% (Retroactive)
  • September 1 2020 – 1%
  • September 1 2021 – 1%
  • “Me Too” clause if any other Education Union negotiates additional wage increase

OCEW benefit Summary:

  • Open enrolment in OCEW/OECTA ELHT (Benefit Trust) for all OCEW members
  • 1% increase in per FTE funding rate for benefits plan enhancements effective September 1, 2019, September 1, 2020, and September 1, 2021
  • One-time lump sum payment of $2.75M to the ELHT ($2.5M for OCEW and $250,000 for UNIFOR) upon ratification of the local terms by all units
  • An additional retroactive 3% increase in per FTE benefit rate in the event that the OCEW Benefit Plan net assets fall below 15% of the total cost of the OCEW Benefit plan for each year ending December 2020, and December 2021
  • Where applicable, Board held benefit surplus or reserves to be transferred to the ELHT 90 days after ratification of the local terms by all locals
  • Reconciliation delayed to August 31, 2022

Support for Students Fund:

Make a system investment in the amount of

  • $9,657,372 in 2020-2021
  • $9,753,946 in 2021-2022

Letter of Agreement:

  • Online Reporting Tool for Violent Incidents
  • Half Day Violence Prevention Training

Questions and Answers

What happens next?

Arrangements are being made for ratification votes to be done electronically*.

The vote will be managed by Simply Voting, a neutral third party. Simply Voting guarantees that the voting process is transparent and that your vote is kept secure.

Simply Voting will send an email to your personal (for ERFP members) and/or your work email address. The email you receive from Simply Voting will provide each member with a unique PIN number that you will use to cast your vote online by computer, tablet or smartphone.

Once you complete the tamper proof ballot you will receive a confirmation form to review prior to submission and the option to print a receipt.

*Note: Due to the current Covid19 situation OPSEU had to consider how to conduct the ratification vote. Special approval was granted by the President of OPSEU to hold an electronic vote.

Will we see the documents that make up the tentative agreement?

Arrangements are being made to post all documents related to the tentative agreement on both the OPSEU and ERFP websites.

Who gets to vote in the ratification vote?

All educational workers bargaining centrally through the Ontario Council of Educational Workers (OCEW) will get a chance to vote, including OPSEU’s Sector 3 members and Educational Resource Facilitators of Peel (ERFP) members.

In other words, all full-time, part-time, and temporary/casual workers represented by OPSEU and ERFP:

Locals represented by OPSEU:

Local 283 – Peel District School Board

Local 283 – Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Local 292 – Peel District School Board

Local 330 – Simcoe County District School Board 

Local 423 – Ottawa Catholic School Board

Local 514 – York Region District School Board 

Local 614 – Rainbow District School Board

Local 663 – Moosonee District School Area Board 

Local 742 – Kenora Catholic District School Board

Educational Resource Facilitators of Peel (ERFP) (affiliate members)

Why did we only get a 1% wage increase?

On June 5, 2019, the President of the Treasury Board introduced the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019 (Bill 124).The legislation was passed on November 7, 2019, and came into force on November 8th. Bill 124 imposed a series of 3-year “moderation periods” (in the form of salary and compensation caps) on a variety of unionized and nonunionized workplaces. During these periods, increases to both salary rates and to existing or new compensation requirements (including salary rates) are capped at 1% per year.

Additionally, the OCEW was able to negotiate a “me too” clause, if any other Education Sector Union, is able to negotiate an increase in wages we would be entitled to the same increase.

All other education unions that have reached agreements with the Council of Trustees’ Association and Ministry of Education are bound by Bill 124 legislation and have received the same wage increases.

The Charter challenge filed by both OPSEU and ERFP contesting the legality of that bill remains intact.

Are there any other improvements in the tentative agreement?

Yes, there is further compensation under the Supports for Students Fund.

The Crown will make a system investment in the amount of $9,657,372 in 2020-2021, and $9,753,946 in the 2021-2022 school years.

The allocated funding shall be utilized by school boards, where applicable, in the following manner:

No later than 30 days after schools re-open, each board and local shall meet and engage in consultation to discuss the use of funds and allocation to OCEW bargaining units. The

board will share the total amount and the calculation of the amount applicable to each OCEW bargaining unit based on FTE. Boards and locals shall discuss the number and cost of OCEW positions generated by this funding. The Parties agreed that these funds are to be used for permanent OCEW staff, consistent with board needs including supports for students with special needs, English Language Learners, Indigenous students as well as student mental health and well-being initiatives.

Were there improvements to the Benefit plan?

Yes, there were improvements to the OCEW benefit plan (OCEW ELHT).

  1. There is an open enrolment in OCEW/OECTA ELHT (Benefit Trust) for all OCEW members that takes effect in September 2020.
  2. A 1% increase in per FTE funding rate for benefits plan enhancements effective September 1, 2019, September 1, 2020, and September 1, 2021.
  3. One-time lump sum payment of $2.75M to the ELHT ($2.5M for OCEW and $250,000 for UNIFOR) upon ratification of the local terms by all units.
  4. An additional retroactive 3% increase in per FTE benefit rate in the event that the benefit costs are higher than projected for each year ending December 2020, and December 2021.
  5. Where applicable, Board held benefit surplus or reserves to be transferred to the ELHT 90 days after ratification of the local terms by all locals.
  6. Plan reconciliation delayed until August 31, 2022 prior to next round of bargaining.

What happens if we vote to accept the tentative agreement?

If members vote to accept the tentative agreement, all terms of the settlement will form part of and shall be incorporated into the collective agreements of each OPSEU local and ERFP and will be in effect until the expiry date of August 31, 2022.

What happens if we vote to reject the tentative agreement?

The Ontario Council of Educational Workers (OCEW) has a two-tiered voting procedure.

Ratification votes for central terms shall be conducted first, by each constituent trade union in accordance with each constituent trade union’s constitution or practice and within the timeframes set by the Council.

Then, each constituent trade union shall then report the results of its ratification vote to the Council and shall vote in accordance with the wishes of their members.

OPSEU and ERFP have six (6) votes each based on the number of their members. The outcome of the OCEW Central Ratification vote must be decided by the approval of a majority of the votes cast by OCEW affiliate unions.

If a majority of OCEW affiliate unions reject the tentative agreement based on the votes cast, the OCEW would inform the Council of Trustees’ Association and Ministry of Education that the tentative agreement was rejected by the members of the OCEW and then the parties would determine the next steps in process.

Please send any questions to: ratificationvote2020@opseu.org.