Ontario secondary teachers reach deal to avoid strike

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The union representing Ontario public high school teachers says it has reached a tentative deal with the government to avoid a strike this fall by using binding arbitration if needed.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation says it's putting the proposal to members with a vote, and if ratified the union will keep bargaining with the government until Oct. 27 and if no deal is reached, remaining issues would be settled by arbitration.

The four major teachers' unions have been in bargaining with the government for more than a year and all have complained about the slow pace.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association are planning strike votes for the fall, but Education Minister Stephen Lecce says he is making the same offer to them, as well as the union representing teachers in the French system.

The OSSTF had told members in a recent memo that it was also planning strike votes in the fall, saying the government had shown little interest in substantive negotiations and a strong strike mandate would demonstrate a determination to get a fair deal.

Education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees were the first to get a deal in this round of contract negotiations, with CUPE saying the deal came with a $1-per-hour raise each year, or about 3.59 per cent annually, for the average worker.