Letter to TDSB Chair Shaun Chen Concerning OPSBA Bargaining Position

The following letter was sent by ETT President John Smith to TDSB Chair Shaun Chen on May 15, 2015.

Dear Mr. Chen:

I am writing to you on behalf of the more than 11,000 members of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT) and Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) to express our concern with the bargaining position that has been advanced by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA). Under Bill 122, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is a statutory member of OPSBA, and, as such, bears responsibility for the actions of OPSBA made on behalf of your Board.

School trustees have an important oversight role to play in terms of ensuring that public schools deliver quality education. It is a role that our Union and our members value and defend. It is disappointing that your provincial organization has introduced contract strips and other policies that, if adopted, would seriously erode the quality of education. These policies seek to increase teacher workload, undermine teacher professionalism, and reduce program standards.

School trustees are also important advocates for public education. Our members represent the largest employee group in the TDSB. We are looking towards the Board to stand up for public education by supporting our request that OPSBA remove its offensive contract strips from the central bargaining table and begin to engage productive dialogue and problem-solving.

Our members are also looking towards you to join with us in challenging the government’s austerity agenda. This agenda has already imposed cuts on educators’ salaries and benefits, and has caused cuts to programs that continue to affect students and the quality of public education.

On behalf of the elementary teacher employees represented by our Union, I ask that you, as Chair of the Board, confirm if the TDSB and its Trustees support and endorse OPSBA’s bargaining position and philosophy.

On behalf of the Elementary Teacher of Toronto,

John Smith
Elementary Teachers of Toronto