High school teachers' union describes negotiations with province as 'slow and frustrating'

CKTB - NEWS - High school

Officials for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation call negotiations with the province 'slow and frustrating.'

President Harvey Bischof says one of the major issues is staffing concerns as the union rails against cuts by the Ford government.

So far, Bischof says there have been five meetings with the province.

"Sad to say, the government has come to us with not a single substantial proposal during those five days. They are dealing with trivialities and housekeeping and it's been slow and frustrating."

Recently, provincial representatives reached a tentative agreement with CUPE support staff, stopping a looming strike before it could start.

But Bischof says the OSSTF is being told by government officials those negotiations will not have an impact on this round of talks.

"They're telling us while we did see a tentative agreement with CUPE that restored a lot of support staff positions to schools at the table, they're telling us that what happens at another table has no impact on our negotiations. Meanwhile the Minister of Finance is out, publicly saying, we should look to the CUPE deal as guidance for other matters."

Bischof adds, "What are they saying? That if your child attends a school in a board where CUPE provides the support staff then they will get this extra assistance and support they need to succeed, but if you're in a school were the support staff are OSSTF you're not going to get that additional assistance?"