I believe the recently introduced Bill 92 — the School Boards Collective Bargaining Amendment Act — will infringe on the collective bargaining rights of education workers.
Currently, education workers represented by CUPE and other support staff unions, have the ability under the School Board Collective Bargaining Act (SBCBA) to determine their participation in central bargaining with the provincial government. This allows individual bargaining units to democratically determine their involvement in a process that falls outside of their direct bargaining relationship with their employers and it has been a successful process in previous rounds of bargaining.
Now, Bill 92 seeks to force all education workers into a mandatory, central bargaining process with the provincial government. In doing so, it tramples on the basic democratic rights of those individual bargaining unit members. It is wrong and it is also clearly unnecessary.
Unfortunately, this is not Ontario education workers’ first experience with the government using legislation to interfere with their basic right to free collective bargaining. Just last year, the Ontario Superior Court determined the government’s Bill 115 contravened education workers’ collective bargaining rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedom. It caused unnecessary chaos in Ontario’s education system and has had profoundly negative impacts on this province’s education workers.
Now, it appears, Bill 92 is going to repeat the pattern of legislative interference with education workers’ rights.
It is time the provincial government learns from the mistakes of the past. So I expect you, as my MPP, to stand up for education workers’ basic rights and ensure that Bill 92 does not include mandatory central bargaining.