NEW - How many central strike votes did ETFO conduct?
Under the School Boards’ Collective Bargaining Act
, ETFO is required to take separate strike votes for its teacher/occasional teacher and its education worker members. As a result, ETFO conducted two central strike votes:
- one strike vote for ETFO teacher and occasional teacher members; and
- one strike vote for ETFO education worker members.
NEW - What was result of ETFO’s central strike votes?
ETFO’s central strike vote results were announced on November 1, 2019. The results were:
ETFO Teacher/Occasional Teacher Central Strike Vote:
- 98% voted in favour of taking central strike action if necessary to support meaningful bargaining and to reach a fair collective agreement for Teacher and Occasional Teacher members.
ETFO Education Worker Central Strike Vote:
- 98% voted in favour of taking central strike action if necessary to support meaningful central bargaining and to reach a fair collective agreement for ETFO Education Worker members.
NEW - We’ve had our central strike votes. Does that mean ETFO is now in a legal central strike position?
Under the Labour Relations Act, there are a number of preconditions that need to be met before ETFO is in a legal central strike position. Those preconditions are reviewed in Central Bargaining Bulletin #8, which members will receive from their ETFO local during the week of November 4, 2019.
NEW - Do these strike vote results mean ETFO members will be taking central strike action?
The results of ETFO’s central strike votes convey to all parties that our members are expecting fair deals to be reached at ETFO central tables. But a vote in favour of a strike does not necessarily mean ETFO members will be engaging in job action.
ETFO remains optimistic we can reach a fair deal at its Teacher/Occasional Teacher and Education Worker Central Tables; central strike votes are an important factor in supporting that goal.
NEW - ETFO’s central strike vote results were announced on November 1st but I read about other ETFO strike vote results the previous week. Can you explain that?
Education sector bargaining is conducted under legislation called the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act (SBCBA). The SBCBA creates a two-tier bargaining system, which means that bargaining is conducted at central (i.e., provincial) and local bargaining tables.
The issues that are bargained at central and local bargaining tables are different. As a result, the SBCBA requires education sector unions to take separate central and local strike votes.
A few ETFO locals have already conducted their local strike votes, and they announced their local strike vote results in October.
I heard ETFO is holding province-wide votes. What is the voting about?
The Provincial office, in concert with ETFO locals, is holding member information meetings where central strike votes will take place.
One central strike vote or two?
ETFO is holding two central strike votes simultaneously:
- one Teacher/Occasional Teacher central strike vote for our Teacher and Occasional Teacher members; and
- one Education Worker central strike vote for our DECE/ESP/PSP/Education Worker members.
Where are the central strike votes taking place?
ETFO is organizing central strike votes across the province. These votes will be conducted in-person during member information meetings at the end of September and continuing throughout October.
In most locations, ETFO members working for the same school board (including Teachers, Occasional Teachers, DECEs, ESPs, PSPs, etc.) will attend the same meeting, hear the same information, have their questions answered and then participate in the strike vote that is relevant to their occupation.
When will the central strike votes take place?
The timing of your member information meeting/central strike vote will be determined by your local and the provincial office. For information on the location and date of the meeting, please contact your local.
After Monday, September 16, 2019, you can also check the ETFO Collective Bargaining website (etfocb.ca) Strike Vote Calendar for that information.
Why is ETFO conducting central strike votes?
Members will be provided with a bargaining update and the reasons that ETFO is taking central strike votes at the member information meetings.
Are local strike votes being held at these information meetings, as well?
Your local will advise you in advance if it is planning to conduct a local strike vote at the same meeting.
Will the media/public be able to attend the central strike vote information meetings?
Member information meetings about bargaining-related issues are closed and only ETFO members may attend such meetings.
When will ETFO release the central strike vote results?
ETFO will release the results of our Teacher/Occasional Teacher central strike vote and Education Worker central strike vote to members after all participating members have voted and the results have been compiled. The results will be released in early November.
Members will receive the results first before any information is provided publicly.
What is legally required for a strike vote to pass?
In order to authorize strike action, more than 50 per cent of those who cast ballots must vote in favour.
Why is ETFO taking central strike votes now?
Holding a central (i.e., provincial) strike vote is just a part of the legal bargaining process spelled out under Ontario labour laws. This process allows members to make a decision and set direction for the bargaining team.
Many unions take strike votes during the course of bargaining, or even before bargaining begins. Strike vote timing is determined as part of the overall bargaining strategy and may vary from union to union or from one round of bargaining to the next.
A strong vote is a way for ETFO to signal to the school board representatives and the government that the union has the support of the membership to negotiate its priority issues and defend quality learning and working conditions.
Does a strong strike vote result mean ETFO members would be going on strike?
ETFO negotiates for agreements, not strikes. No union wants to take job action, but a strike (or lock-out) can occur when both sides are unable to reach an agreement. Even so, a strike is always seen as a last resort and is only used when bargaining reaches a stalemate (also called an “impasse”).
Holding a strike vote is not an automatic trigger for job action. There are several other steps that must occur (e.g., impasse, conciliation, “no board” report, etc.) before legal job action can even take place.
A strong strike vote does not necessarily mean ETFO members will be commencing strike action. Strike votes simply convey to all the parties involved in bargaining the degree to which ETFO members want to see a fair deal being reached. A decision to commence strike action is a strategic decision that is made at a time when the union feels it must escalate in order to make progress at the bargaining table.
How can I stay informed about bargaining developments?
Details of the discussions at the bargaining table are communicated confidentially to our members. ETFO will provide bargaining updates to members through:
- ETFO’s Collective Bargaining eNewsletter, which members receive directly from the Provincial Office;
- ETFO Central Bargaining Bulletins, which are delivered to members by their ETFO Local through local communication channels;
- Voicemails from ETFO’s president;
- Texts from ETFO;
- Correspondence delivered to members’ homes; and Information in ETFO’s monthly steward mailings.
I’m not receiving the CB eNewsletter. What do I do?
for instructions about what to do if you’re not receiving the CB eNewsletter or ETFO correspondence.
Where can I can get more information about the central strike votes?
- Contact your ETFO local;
- Use the “Contact Us” option on this website to submit questions you have about the central strike vote.