Orazietti hopeful for 'fair and responsible' teacher agreementsThursday, September 20, 2012 by: SooToday.com Staff
DAVID ORAZIETTI, MPP
The facts on improvements to education in Ontario
Province working to reach agreements with all teacher unions, protect jobs and ensure stability for students
SAULT STE. MARIE - Since 2003, the provincial government has made improving education a top priority and over the last nine years significant investments have been made in Sault Ste. Marie to build new state-of-the-art elementary schools and secondary schools.
When combined with unprecedented increases to per-pupil funding to lower class sizes and enhance reading, writing and arithmetic skills, the results have meant significant improvements to graduation rates.
Province wide, our government has increased per-pupil funding every year for the past nine years, which has helped us to lower class sizes, increase test scores and improve graduation rates.
In Sault Ste. Marie, per-pupil funding has increased by 70 percent since 2003.
Despite a decline in enrollment of over 5000 students in the Sault and Algoma during the past nine years the Ontario Liberal Government increased funding, introduced FDJK, capped primary class sizes and created new programs that have protected 98 teaching jobs in the Sault and area.
In contrast, the provincial NDP have voted against every single proposed increase to the funding formula, as well as the investments for new schools in the community.
In 2003, it had been decades since a provincial government had made any substantial investments in school infrastructure in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Ontario Liberal Government has made building new, state-of-the art schools in the Sault a top priority and, as a result, $130 million in capital investments have been delivered for new schools in the community, as well as the modernization of numerous schools bringing the total capital investment to nearly $200 million:
$46.7 million for the Algoma District School Board to construct Superior Heights Secondary School
$43 million for the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board to construct a new Secondary School
$15.5 million for the Algoma District School Board to construct a new Francis H. Clergue Elementary School
$14.6 million for the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board to construct Holy Cross Elementary School
$10.4 million for the Conseil Scolaire Catholique du Nouvel Ontario to expand Ecole Notre-Dame-du-Sault
Teachers have played an important role in the great number of improvements we have achieved in education and the Ontario Liberal Government has recognized their work with eight consecutive annual salary increases.
In fact, teacher salaries in Sault Ste Marie under the present government have increased by 28.7 percent while under the Conservative government salaries increased by 17.7 percent and under the NDP they increased by only 4.9 percent.
When grid increases are included, the average teacher salary in Ontario has risen by 34 percent over the past eight years and for 60 percent of teachers that means a salary of over $94,000 which is the highest in Canada.
The fiscal reality is that a ninth consecutive salary increase is unaffordable in the current economic climate, but neither the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) nor the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) will agree to a two year contract with a two year wage freeze.
However, after more than 300 hours of discussion the province and the Ontario English Catholic Teaching Association (OECTA) have successfully negotiated an agreement that includes a two year pay freeze for its 45,000 teacher members.
During the most recent four year agreement the province continued to honour all terms and salary increases of collective agreements even though the province’s ability to pay has been greatly reduced by the recession and job losses in the private sector.
By comparison, in the early 1990’s under less severe economic conditions the NDP ripped up collective agreements with nearly 1 million public service workers including teachers and imposed 12 unpaid days.
In regard to sick day benefits, the province has proposed 10 non-bankable sick days paid at 100% salary and additional sick days paid at 66 percent.
The province has also proposed a new 120 day short term disability plan paid at 90 percent of salary for all teachers until long term disability benefits begin.
In the Ontario Public Service (OPS) employees are limited to six sick days and the private sector, which employs approximately 70 percent of working people, provides few if any paid sick days.
While banked sick days are not paid out in Sault Ste. Marie, they are paid at 59 school boards throughout Ontario.
The teacher banked sick day liability that has accumulated to $1.4 billion with full gratuity payments costing over $45,000 per person upon retirement is unsustainable.
In Ontario, wages and benefits form approximately 80 percent of the provincial budget and in order to eliminate a $13 billion deficit by 2017-2018, caused by the recession, the province must take steps to contain costs.
This will involve working with all public sector employees so that we can continue to protect jobs and maintain the quality of services that all Ontarians want and deserve.
In regard to collective bargaining, the province began discussions in February, 2012 however both ETFO and OSSTF left the bargaining table shortly after the process began.
It is important to note that local bargaining groups continue to maintain their right to collectively bargain with each school board and continue to maintain their right to strike.
Section 8 (6) of Bill 115 allows for a strike to occur should a union make that decision.
The Ontario government recognizes that many of the province’s employees understand the current fiscal constraints and are doing their part.
Moving forward, the province will be addressing compensation in many other areas of the public sector.
MPP’s made a decision to freeze their own wages nearly three years ago for a five period.
Pension plans for MPP’s are not paid as they were eliminated in 1996.
“Having worked as a teacher for ten years I know first hand the tremendous contributions teachers make to education, not only to the betterment of their students in the classroom, but to countless extra-curricular activities and to the overall quality of the school community,” said David Orazietti, MPP. “We have come a long way in nine years in improvements to our education system and I am hopeful that all parties will work together to reach agreements that are fair and responsible to teachers and to Ontarians.”
VLC 9/20/2012 12:41:50 PM Report
Truck 9/20/2012 1:38:54 PM Report
He does exist.....
thumbs4208 9/20/2012 1:42:39 PM Report
David O does not care,simple.
And the 1000's of job's in Sudbury and the loss of work from OLG, blah blah blah - you suck David O!
cjborg 9/20/2012 1:54:05 PM Report
I think our local MPP and his party have been generous to a fault. The teachers and their unions should be ashamed of themselves. (They should try to remember "Rae Days" and the "Common Sense Revolution"???)
Perhaps teachers' current wage/salary levels, lucrative pension plans, other benefits and perks should be thoroughly reviewed and revised substantially downwards......
In summation, teachers do you take the general public to be fools.. Shame on those of you who continue to act in an irresponsible manner. (I know, from past experience, the majority of you are thoughtful and responsible... don't let the foolish minorty & Union BS sully your long standing dedication in serving the public.... You know what many citizens, governments and the world economy are experiencing these tough economic times... do your part and act responsibly......
geterdun 9/20/2012 2:17:51 PM Report
BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!!!!!are you kidding me with this crap.......Do you really think the public believes you Mr. O??????????Please we have seen your goverment in action and we have seen your goverments mismanagement of public money....18 billion dollars in eight years....eg. Ornge,power plant in Brampton,E-Health. ring a bell with ya buddy........???Im sorry but you continue to make statements that are just a bunch of bolony to the tax payers......you and your Goverment will be axed out of the picture next round, but hey what do you care your going to be stealing like $250.000 a year from the tax payers for a pension are you not??. If any one should be ashamed of their actions it is you politicians who continue to steal our money then think it is all good when you come along and take away our rights to bargain.yea right sorry pal but your cooked .......Liberals = thiefs and thats that...........good ridence pal!!!!!You and your liberal crooks have basically ruined this province and it will take at least 20 years to bring it back to were it was when you thiefs took over...Nice legacy you have left.......Please stop posting this crap in Soo today because your time is up no one believes you and your party anymore...please do us all a favor and just get out of politics.
Barley 9/20/2012 2:36:05 PM Report
A typical Orazietti response to a complex issue – muddy the waters with a litany of half-truths and twisted facts devoid of context, and then try to dazzle us with dollar signs. When the going gets tough, David just re-announces his greatest hits list of “capital investments” and hopes we’ll all swoon and stop worrying about silly little concerns like whether or not his government respects basic constitutional rights.
clane 9/20/2012 2:41:08 PM Report
Nice to see a guy who got a $16,000 a year pay raise talk about how others need to do their part to bring spending under control
SipKing 9/20/2012 4:57:44 PM Report
I am on the fence on this one. Teachers pulling extra activities off the shelf to hurt the students. Please teachers STOP using our children as hostages. How about Orazietti forcing teachers to be at the school for there full 40 hour work week...
Then we have David O... Who I was surprised voted on this issue after all not only is his wife a teacher over at St Basils but is he not on a leave of abscence from his teaching position with the public board... WHY IS THIS NOT A CONFLICT OF INTEREST ?
Tassie 9/20/2012 5:47:47 PM Report
This was the best response on here!
Generalizations and half-truths prevail in David's press release.
The facts are simply:
- OSSTF agreed to a wage freeze for higher income earners. Remember, not all education workers are teachers; some support staff members make less than $20 000, far less than the generalizations David wants you to believe.
- the right to strike and bargain freely has been usurped by Bill 115; any agreement reached with the employer (who is NOT the provincial government) MUST include legislated terms (How is this freely negotiated for either the workers or the employer?) and then must be approved by the Minister who can then change all or part of it to whatever she wants; this is incredibly draconian.
- Bill 115 was not needed; local school boards and its employees could have bargained the required savings locally and met all the government's non-political goals; it would be unusual to have agreements in place before the end of an agreement in the education sector - this hasn't been the norm for a number of years and hasn't caused disruptions locally since the 1990s.
- Bill 115 can be extended long past two years; the Bill contains lots of provisions that can be determined and implemented by cabinet or the Minister; this is most definitely a threat and hindrance to local bargaining.
- The deal reached with the Catholic teachers was not ratified by their membership; the Catholic Trustees association withdrew and were not signatories and very few school boards have accepted the deal.
- MPPs get severance pay (not tied to sick days) of as much as $313,000!
I am hopeful, too, that teachers and education support staff can reach deals with school boards. But it won't happen until the parties can bargain freely without interference from the Minister and her government and without the looming darkness of such draconian legislation that is forcing terms on both employers and employees and threatening punitive measures.
Tassie 9/20/2012 6:12:05 PM Report
Fact: OECTA members did not agree to the MOA – they did not vote and they are NOT happy about this agreement! That is why you see them at our rallies.
Fact: Class size caps are a joke! There are caps in K-Gr. 3 until the first few weeks of Sept. when Boards submit their #’s. Then all caps go out the window. There never were any class size caps from Gr. 4-8. Ask the teacher who had 36 students last year.
Fact: ETFO members already took a 2% salary decrease imposed the last 4 year contract by the Liberal Gov. They already saved the gov. millions.
Fact: New Schools – great photo opp. For David – ask a student or teacher about that process!
Fact: Teachers have jumped through every hoop as they implemented the numerous initiatives the Liberal Gov. has come up with – yes, test scores have improved as teachers focused on literacy and numeracy and sacrificed a balanced curriculum so the Liberals could look great when those scores come out. Way to go!
Fact: The MPP gratuity is never mentioned!
Fact: Not many teachers earn 94,000. Ask a beginning teacher or mid-career teacher what they are earning!
Fact: NO SALARY INCREASE WAS PROPOSED BUT KEEP SAYING THAT DAVID!
Fact: Teachers bargain with their employers under the ORLA – not the province unless there is a Dictatorship. And the threats keep coming….
Fact: Teachers will continue to work hard so that our students have a wonderful profession to enter and a democratic province in which to live.
msab 9/20/2012 6:31:30 PM Report
I was hopeful of a "fair and responsible" government. Tough luck for me. As ever, I am very pleased that I voted NDP.
Shame on you David.
Jimssm 9/20/2012 6:39:05 PM Report
"While banked sick days are not paid out in Sault Ste. Marie, they are paid at 59 school boards throughout Ontario."
Mr. O, you neglect to mention HOW FEW of the teachers at those 59 school boards are actually still eligible to collect payouts at retirement.
Most of those plans were grandfathered many years ago.
Example...Ottawa...only 220 out of over 3000 teachers are eligible upon retirement.
Teachers are just easy to pick on....
How about talking about the OPP who got a 5% pay increase AFTER the gov't announced the pay freeze in March ?
How about talking about ambulance, fire and police who received 33% MORE than teachers since 2005 ?
guitarzan 9/20/2012 6:55:31 PM Report
He also failed to mention when discussing sick time, that any accumulated days that employees have earned in their careers have been taken away!!! Shame on him and this government !!
tindrummer99 9/20/2012 7:13:27 PM Report
Perhaps amalgamating the French and Separate school boards with the public board was proposed as a way to eliminate unneeded and wasteful duplication in our educational system. Such an action would undoubtedly save millions of dollars.
Could a hint of this idea explain the hasty signing of the "contract" by the AEFO and the OECTA without ratification by their members?
I've got news for those folks....you sleep with snakes, you're going to get bitten. The Liberals, including our own beloved David O., are only concerned with spin. Their policies are self serving, and intended only to shift public scrutiny from the wasteful practices of their government. We should thank our personal deities that they did not get a majority.
Pandering to an irate public with duplicitous speech is, sadly, all too common a trait in today's politicians. Instead of being accountable for their actions, they find a scapegoat to blame. Today it is teachers. For those who say "it's about time", remember, your turn might be next. After all, it's only fair and responsible.
speed7 9/21/2012 1:50:33 PM Report
W. Yote 9/17/2012 10:52:32 AM
"Dear disgruntled teachers who keep saying " if you think we have it so good, then go to teachers college and become a teacher"- besides the fact that this would add to the huge problem of overcrowding in the profession, which is a beaming indicator that:
1. The path lacks appropriate barriers to entry or
2. The compensation is too great for the responsibility.
"Too all you who have sided with the teachers who have suggested this, here is a counter proposal: if you don't like what the public and the government ( your employers and clients ) want to pay you, why don't you give the private sector a go. You'll come running back with your tails between your legs begging for even a supply position. And guess what, there are HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of qualified and in many cases more passionate teachers waiting on deck in this city that would work harder for a fraction of what you have."
Quotes by Yote:
"KHL- without the private sector you would have NO JOB. Sorry maybe economics or basic math weren't the subjects you spent time becoming a "professional" in. You and your high payed public servant friends should just go ahead and take your salaries out of your own taxes and see how far that gets you!
"Not to sure how teachers college in Ontario really makes you a professional anyhow. I know some real jokers that made it through no problem AND got jobs. Particularly in the Soo"
"REMEMBER all you public servants, you work FOR the PUBLIC!"
SooToday Moderator 9/21/2012 2:15:50 PM Report
Sorry folks, we had a bit of a glitch in the comments section, we removed one comment and eight deleted for some odd reason.
If your post was deleted in error, our apologies.
W. Yote 9/21/2012 2:59:55 PM Report
Thanks speed, now I don't have to re-iterate myself. Very nice cutting my words off in mid sentence though, it kind of changes the meaning.
I have come to realize you understand very little of what you read anyways, so selecting a representative quote would be next to impossible for you.
Polis 9/21/2012 4:10:14 PM Report
Well, David O, I see you have dusted off your trusty party-line response, complete with the usual spin, dollar signs and half-truths. Unfortunately this has little to do with the teacher contract issue and serves only to muddy the waters. But I suppose that is your intent. The only real factual and responsible comments here are written by "tassie". Is it fair and responsible to remove the rights of workers to bargain their collective agreements? Is it fair and responsible for an MPP to omit critical pieces of information in his press release? Is it fair and responsible for this government to erode democracy in Ontario? I think not. Hopefully the voters will have informed themselves before the next election.
speed7 9/21/2012 4:31:26 PM Report
W. Yote 9/12/2012 1:16:06 PM Report
Catmom, numbers are straight from osstf collective agreement. Elementary is slightly different but very similar. Sounds like you were either under qualified to receive top group salary or chose the wrong pd courses! Wish I had the summers to take some courses or work towards a phd. Not that i would be guaranteed any pay raise or reimbursed for my own professional development. Raises should be performance based not guaranteed because you took an online course.
W. Yote 9/12/2012 8:31:38 AM Report
Not contempt for the profession as a whole just for those that think they work harder and deserve more than everyone else.
I happen to be very close with people in the teaching profession that will admit candidly that teachers have it too good. That proves there are some unspoiled apples out there, most probably just too scared to speak up and say enough is enough
Not sure which small business owners make straight salary? I think they would be happy to receive ANY guaranteed income.
W. Yote 9/12/2012 8:31:38 AM Report
As for myself I make a decent living, not quite anything like the salary and benefits of a teacher though. If everyone were to fight for compensation like that there wouldn't be an industry or business left in this province... then who would pay the taxes to support the public servants? It will all come crumbling down eventually if these people don't give their heads a good shake!
Another users comments to you:
RonBes 9/12/2012 1:11:03 AM Report
Nice cheapshot there, Yote, but I'm not a teacher, and I do know what those things cost, and while you were at it you managed to insult all the hardworking shop teachers out there as well. Despite your other words, your contempt for the entire profession shows through loud and clear.
You really have no idea what you are saying. You like to talk tough, but you have no clue what it's like to be a teacher.
Those out of pocket expenses for PD courses don't mean you make an extra 20k for example. Those are required just to keep current, the same as most professions. The only way to get to the big bucks is to continue earning advanced degrees and gaining additional qualifications (as well as putting in the years of hard work and service). In this regard it is no different from any other professional job.
It's easy to talk tough when it doesn't affect you, but next time maybe it will affect you. I suppose you'll just suck it up, eh tough guy?
The way you talk, you sound like a small business owner, which makes your argument a little disingenuous. Salary indeed. If I'm wrong on that, then you must be well-paid yourself to put in hours like that just to "get the job done." If you aren't either of those things, I suppose that at least explains the bitterness.
catmom 9/12/2012 2:46:44 PM Report
Maybe W. Yote, you should go to politician school - you sure can shovel the #$@%! Your facts and figures are completely wrong, regardless of where you claim to have read them. I agree that I have a great job, with wonderful benefits and a generous salary. You don't seem to understand that the government unilaterally removing a union's right to bargain collectively is unprecedented in a free and democratic society. Teachers in Syria and Iran don't get to bargain collectively, either.
W. Yote 9/11/2012 11:39:40 PM Report
Haha. A lot of crying teachers on here!
BTW I'm not questioning the plight of the supply teacher, but that also is proof that the coin is a little too shiny. No one wants to leave and everyone wants in!
Where's your local MPP on this one? He's one of you guys no? A former teacher? From what I hear he was too preoccupied with becoming a politician to do much teaching anyways. Sat at his desk planning his political career while collecting his fat teacher salary.
I feel so bad for the teachers who have to pay 5000 for their pd courses in order to make an extra 20k for the next 20 years.
I'd also LOVE to see teachers willingly work all year if the school year was extended! Ha! And for the same wage! Can you imagine the belly aching!?
Pay for stuff out of your own pocket? Well paper and crayons aren't quite the cost of welding rods and structural steel but I won't hold it against you because how would a teacher know that. In the end even if you add up all the expenses SOME teachers may incur and figure their hourly wage they still have nothing to complain about. I've paid for stuff out of pocket, some times reimbursed, sometimes not, but its for the sake of getting the job done.
No doubt some committed teachers pull their own weight, but they struggle to pull the collective weight of the others who drag their feet screaming about money and time off.
The only negative affect this will have on education is teachers attitudes and them taking their frustration out in ways that will hurt the children, eg not attending meetings. What do you think is supposed to be discussed at meetings? Probably stuff pertinent to educating our children, so wipe the tears away and do your damn job. Anyone else would be fired for a move like that.