Our current contract is set to expire on August 31st of this year. As we prepare for the next round of bargaining OSSTF would like input from members on your priorities and important issues to you as we build the negotiating brief. Very soon you will receive information from the OSSTF Provincial Office and from your local OSSTF Office asking you to fill out bargaining surveys. These two surveys reflect the two tiered bargaining (provincial and local) that now exists under legislation for negotiations in our sector. Please take the time to fill out each of these surveys so that your voice is heard when we work to develop contract language that reflects your issues and priorities. Locally our CBC committee has been working diligently to identify local language that can be improved, and they have drafted that local bargaining survey that we will be asking all of you to complete.
Occasion Teacher List and Cap for Daily OT work
Several years ago our local office successfully negotiated a cap on the size of the OT list that supports work for short term absences. The negotiated cap was (is) 15% of the total number of contract teachers (FTE) in the secondary system. This number was intended to support the number of planned and unplanned absences needing to be filled in the system, while protecting the daily work for OT’s from being diluted by having too large of a list. During the last round of negotiations the board wanted to increase this cap citing concern that the current numbers were not high enough to support the number of planned and unplanned absences in the system. Our negotiating team did not agree to an increase in the size of the list, primarily because we felt that the list was not being managed in a balanced manner and that it was not operating at the 15% cap that we had agreed to. Since that time OSSTF and the board have worked to improve management of this list and ensured that it is operating at the negotiated cap (not below). Since the list has been operating as intended, data from the board demonstrates the current cap can not support the absences that need to be covered. The board has needed to go “off list” nearly 200 times since this school year has started. It is very important that those doing the daily OT work in the secondary schools are OSSTF members; ensuring professional standards and protection for those working as daily OT’s. For this reason the local office will be meeting with the board to look at increasing the size of the list to a number that will match the absences that we have seen most recently. This should not result in less work for daily OT”s, unfilled absences for this school year are already going to other workers. This issue will be discussed further at our February 6th meeting of District Council.