Elizabeth Crowe of the York Catholic School Board Catholic Register files

York Catholic board signs austerity deal with province

  • August 23, 2012

AURORA, ONT. - Trustees from the York Catholic District School Board agreed on Aug. 21 to accept the province's Memorandum of Understanding as a framework for local collective bargaining with their teachers' union.

The York board joins the Toronto Catholic board as the only ones to date to sign on to the province's plan to freeze teacher wages for two years, alter sick leave benefits and cut sick days, all part of the government's austerity measures to deal with a $15-billion budget deficit. In July, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association was the first of the education stakeholders to sign on to the deal.

"Adoption of the MOU will help provide labour stability and peace of mind," said board chair Elizabeth Crowe. "We have always worked in a spirit of collaboration with all our employee groups and we greatly value those relationships."

By approving the MOU it ensures there will be no labour disruption this year in York Catholic schools.

That looks like it may not be the case across the province. No other union has accepted the provincial deal and other school boards have voiced their concerns about collective bargaining being taken away from them. Premier Dalton McGuinty, however, has vowed to bring in legislation to prevent a labour disruption and has recalled MPPs from their summer break for a session beginning Aug. 27 to deal with the issue.

The York board, with 55,000 students and 103 schools, now has until Dec. 31 to sign contracts under the agreed upon guidelines.

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