April 29, 2013
This is a brief summary of the status for Court Challenges, Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) hearings, and Grievances which affect all ETT members.
Legal Challenge to Bill 115
A legal challenge to Bill 115 has been lodged with the court and is scheduled to be heard in the Ontario Supreme Court in October of 2013. The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is represented by Howard Goldblatt of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, one of Canada’s eminent labour law firms. This challenge will take many months to complete, and could potentially overturn key elements of Bill 115, such as curtailing the right to strike.
OLRB Ruling on Illegal Strike
On April 11, 2013, after two months of hearings, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) rendered an interim decision stating that the concerted withdrawal of voluntary services in Trillium Lakelands and Upper Canada School Boards during the term of the collective agreement fell within the definition of strike.
The ruling follows ETFO arguments during the hearing that its advice to members about withdrawing voluntary services was not a “directive.”
Please be advised: this ruling only applies to the aforementioned boards; confirms ETFO’s position that members have the right to make personal decisions about whether or not to participate in voluntary/extracurricular activities; and reinforces that boards cannot compel their employees to perform voluntary services or discipline them for not doing so.
As this is an interim decision, ETFO will be presenting further arguments about the Charter aspects that arise from this complaint at subsequent OLRB hearing dates.
Bill 115 Policy Grievances
Ongoing policy grievances include: loss of banked sick days, loss of sick leave gratuity, grid movement, and several other instances in which members have lost entitlement pay and benefits.
Progress Report Grievances
Hundreds of “unjust discipline” grievances are being laid on behalf of members who were given a “Letter of Expectation” and/or “Letter of Discipline” for completing their Progress Reports in accordance with their professional judgement, as per the Growing Success document.
Miscellaneous Leave – Religious and Cultural Holiday Grievances
Members have been denied Miscellaneous Leaves for observance of Religious Holy Days, such as the Lunar New Year. Other members have used all of the five (5) Miscellaneous Leave Days allocated this year and will have to take the remainder of their Religious Holidays as leaves of absence without pay. Each individual case which is brought to an Executive Officer’s attention is being grieved.
Documentation of Medical Appointments and Miscellaneous Leaves
The TDSB has been asking for a medical (Doctor’s) note whenever a member has a Doctor’s appointment, or asks for a Miscellaneous Leave to care for a family member. An appointment card or similar “documentation” should be accepted.
Whenever you think your rights under the Collective Agreement/Imposed Terms and Conditions of Employment have been violated, you should contact your Steward or Executive Officer to see if a Grievance or some other intervention can be used to rectify the situation.