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Provincial deal for high school teachers

New deal done pending ratification

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

The head of the Durham District School Board is happy that there’s one new deal in place for teachers.

“On the provincial side, there’s eight negotiating tables, so it’s like one down and seven to go,” Mike Barrett, the chair of DDSB, tells The Oshawa Express. “But at least the (deal with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation) is a considerable step in the right direction.”

The new deal will give teachers a small wage increase and keep class sizes where they are now.

The new agreement, which still needs to be ratified by the union’s members, comes after a school year which saw high school teachers across Durham Region walk out of school for more than a month as the first part in a series of local-level strikes across the province.

“It took 29 frustrating days at the bargaining table, the assistance of three different mediators, and an entire calendar year to finally get the management team to move off of their radical management rights agenda and come to an agreement—an agreement we should have arrived at months ago,” Paul Elliott, the head of the union, said at OSSTF’s annual meeting earlier this month when the new deal was announced.

A deal was reached at the local level earlier this month, with DDSB and OSSTF agreeing to accept an arbitration deal.

High school teachers across Durham Region walked off the job on April 20, citing issues such as class sizes.

Students didn’t return to the classroom until late May after the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled that the strike by OSSTF District 13 – the union that represents public high school teachers in Durham Region – as well as the OSSTF locals for Peel and Rainbow regions, was illegal.

At the same time, the province passed back-to-work legislation that guaranteed students would be able to complete their school year.