Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ontario Public Elementary Teachers to Get Extra 2% Increase in 2014

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has given Ontario public school elementary teachers an extra 2% salary increase in 2014 to match the separate and French elementary teachers. This Globe article has a good synopsis. From the article:

ETFO lost 2 per cent in wage hikes back in 2009 under former education minister and now Premier Kathleen Wynne, because it failed to meet a deadline for accepting a contract. At the time, other teacher groups signed offers of 12 per cent in pay hikes over four years. At the time, Ms. Wynne made a last-ditch effort to avoid a strike – 10.4 per cent over four years – which ETFO grudgingly accepted.

Ms. Sandals said the government’s change of heart on the issue is a matter of fairness, saying elementary school teachers should not be punished because their union negotiated them an inferior deal several years ago.
“It’s not about did the unions have good tactics or bad tactics. It’s about the individual teacher,” she said. “Now, when we look at this, and we look at a public policy point of view going forward: why would we pay Catholic and French teachers more than public teachers?”

One stat that I found interesting in the article with regards to the cost of the 2% increase:

The move by the government contradicts earlier statements by Premier Kathleen Wynne and Education Minister Liz Sandals that there would be no new money on the table for teachers. The pay hike will cost the treasury $112-million every year.

The salary increases would take effect in September, 2014, after the current contract expires.

Ms. Sandals also left the door open to further pay increases at that time, stressing that this deal only represents an agreement on the wage parity issue, and that no other parameters had been set for future contract negotiations.

I'm surprised that the 2% costs  $112 million. That means the entire current salary cost of the public elementary teachers is $5.6 billion. One other thing to take note of is that the current contract is over in 14 months and the province will have to bargain with the teachers again next summer, still with a large deficit. That won't be fun. Expect more teacher unrest, although whether the Wynne government remains in power next summer remains to be seen.  

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