Sudbury

Catholic teachers launch complaint against own union

A Sudbury teachers union has gone public with a complaint against the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association saying the provincial executive failed to get input from Sudbury members when finalizing July's collective agreement.

Sudbury local says collective agreement was finalized without adequate member input

A Sudbury teachers union has gone public with a complaint against the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association saying the provincial executive failed to get input from Sudbury members when finalizing July's collective agreement.

Kent MacNeill said that when it came to the association's deal with the province, he felt out of the loop from the start. The deal saw teacher's wages frozen and forced three unpaid days off.

"Nobody sent me an e-mail, nobody gave me a courtesy call," said the president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association Sudbury local, which represents 500 elementary and occasional teachers

"When I contacted the provincial office I was told 'yes, isn't it great? We do have a deal’."

First local to file a complaint

MacNeill said his union wasn't the only one unhappy with the lack of communication surrounding July's agreement.

"Twenty four of us said ‘no, this is unacceptable’," he said. "Even if it looks like we're fighting internally … that's exactly what we're doing now."

One of the key issues was the association's decision to do away with the local union's retirement benefits. MacNeill said prior to July's agreement, teachers with Sudbury schools were the only ones in the association to have extended healthcare benefits to age 65.

Sudbury is the first local union to file a complaint against the provincial executive, saying it did not get a democratic say in the decisions made, MacNeill said. The goal of the complaint is to ensure the union has more of a voice in future votes. He noted the conflict will not result in any withdrawal of extra-curricular activities in Catholic schools.

The president of the provincial association, Kevin O'Dwyer, said in an e-mail the association "will not engage in a public debate regarding this matter."