EC Toronto ESL-school union makes big gains in first contract

From left: Union leaders Emily Parkinson, Derek Burnett, Megan Farah, David Nield, Deborah Primeau of the EC Toronto bargaining unit. 

Teachers and teacher trainers at an uptown Toronto private English-as-a-second-language school who formed a union to fight for better wages, benefits and working conditions have ratified their first collective agreement with EC Toronto Language School.

The four-year-deal gives some 50 union members an average 10 per cent wage increase, an additional week of vacation, their first pension plan, paid sick leave, better health benefits, an additional public holiday, seniority layoff and recall rights, and guaranteed full-time work, among a long list of gains.

"The teachers at EC Toronto worked hard to achieve a first agreement that recognizes their value and delivers fair wages and benefits in an industry that is notoriously underpaid and precarious in nature," said Paul Morse, president of Unifor Local 87-M. "It shows what's achievable when employees band together and unionize."

Unifor Local 87-M is a composite Local of knowledge workers across southern Ontario, including private schools, non-profit advocacy groups, newspapers such as the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail, and House of Commons broadcast and IT employees. Unifor is Canada's largest private-sector union with more than 315,000 members in all sector of the economy, including over 12,000 in media.