Opening Statement



Thursday, 26 July 2012

OECTA PDT? Broten Raises Ante!

[Postscript: This post updated with additional links July 28. For a related read, see my July 16th "OECTA PDT: Catholic Principals Refute Deal" blog below]

Hola! I am lying poolside on a sunbed on the Maya Riviera. Perhaps you have been following my travel blogs? Anyway, I've got a good one to post on swimming with the whale sharks far out at sea yesterday, but it will have to wait. I suppose a lot of you are away for the summer too. There seem to be some recent PDT developments you may not be aware. Since they have just come across my scanner, I will post the links for you, and provide some observations later, here on this blog, when I get a chance on the next day or so.

Remember, these are just my own news and views blogs, for your summer info purposes. Make no mistake, they do not necessarily represent OECTA TSU's position. Blah. blah. blah. You have heard the disclaimer before. I just hope I help keep you in the loop if you can't access all the regularly provided info yourself, if it's been posted. Check www.oecta.on.ca and www.tsuoecta.org too for the official statements.

It seems the Education Ministry is raising the ante to get the other affiliates moving to reach a deal. Also the local school boards to reach teacher contracts based on the PDT terms asap, by August 31. I have discussed why the other affiliates have not reached PDT agreements, and why OECTA's PDT deal remains controversial. I have also touched upon the Catholic Principal's opposition to our deal, for their own reasons. We know the Catholic Trustees walked out before our deal was reached. Very interesting too!

The Ministry of Education is turning up the pressure to pass, what for them would be, a number of these impasses, in time for the new school year, and not afterwards, as has been claimed before, especially for us with our local OECTA contracts. Check my Blog Archives for June and July for more info. More to come later. For now, here are some links worth checking:

The main story was leaked to the Globe and Mail by the Ministry of Education yesterday. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-threatens-school-boards-with-takeover/article4439791/

For the Catholic trustees the intransigence lies with the non-monetary control issues presented by the fair hiring practices and recognition of independent teacher professionalism in student assessment, basically why they walked out of the talks in the first place on July 4-5 before the OECTA PDT agreement was reached. If you will recall from the OECTA Q+A handout included in my Study Guide blog earlier this month, our association has noted;


Why did you decide to enter into a deal with the government that the trustees would not support?We have been meeting with the government and the trustees for five months. It became clear that the focus for trustees was to protect the perks and benefits of senior administrators at school boards and to block any attempt we made to offer solutions that would direct more education dollars to the classroom or to minimize the impact of any agreement on our younger teachers. When the trustees walked away from the table we knew that if there was going to be a deal that was fair and equitable for our members and that protected the classroom for our students, the deal would be made with the government alone.


Now, consider these recent news articles. See: http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/07/24/province-appoints-investigator-to-whip-catholic-school-board-into-financial-shape/

Also see: http://www.thestar.com/living/parent/article/1231498--ontario-catholic-trustees-call-government-contract-deadlines-unrealistic

Ditto: http://www.recorder.ca/2012/07/27/board-blasts-province-over-loss-of-power

We know the Toronto Sun hates unions but hold your nose and read their board spin here: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/27/liberals-playing-hardball

The transparency of our Catholic school board financial numbers has long been a problem for OECTA when trying to negotiate our local contracts. Without doubt this has been strongly brought to the Minister Broten's attention in our recent PDT talks, where she was encouraged to question the Catholic School boards often befuddling facts and figures on why they wanted this and that in our agreement, be it from the trustee partners, the principals and so on. See what's being said now in regard to the Windsor Essex board financials: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2012/07/25/wdr-windsor-essex-catholic-school-minister-finances.html

Also: http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/07/27/43078/

There is the underlying issue here of a government move to further centralize the Education Ministry's control over our local school boards, both Catholic and public, and to move towards province wide bargaining with our teacher contracts. That is a very important and controversial concern, of that there is no doubt. Our Catholic school board "partners" are now playing that card too: See: http://www.whoisinchargeoftheschoolhouse.com/2012/7/26/board-poses-the-question-who-is-in-charge-of-the-school-house

However we also know that the Catholic school boards have been and are worried about their "autonomy" in other ways too. Alas, for them, I doubt the denominational right's argument would hold much if any sway, with what's happening now, in regard to the local implementation of our OECTA PDT deal. As Catholic teacher unionists we are well aware of the  internal high handed control trickery practiced by our school boards for many years, religious concerns aside. It is a very parochial top down decision making management model that is now being specifically taken to task. From our Catholic teacher perspective, that is what I see as the real issue, on our end anyway, with the new contract deadlines and fiscal issues making the news. In that respect, I'd be very cautious of any carte blanch criticism of Education Minister Broten or Finance Minister Dwight Duncan's recent statements, as they effect the next step in Collective Bargaining at our own local unit levels. It is perhaps a controversial position, which I suspect some if not many of my colleagues might publicly disagree, in contrast to the importance of the broader provincial centralization concerns affecting all the teacher affiliates, including our own. Still I think it needs to be said.

More politics anyone? Neither of the links below are from good reliable media sources but for they provide some food for thought.

For your consideration on the big picture Ontario political party maneuvering that is also going on behind the scenes, see this link: http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/07/24/20024341.html

Also this link from a few days ago: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/20/education-labour-front-is-quiet--for-now

But for now, the beach beckons...............................

Post script: The sea was quite calm today, still stirred up, but not choppy like most of this week. I swam maybe 80 meters out to the breaker reef, with my snorkel gear and underwater camera. It was a great workout! Slowly making my way back to shore, I explored the coral formations and saw lots of schools of fish. Some of these photos are posted in my slide show on the top left of the screen. Afterwards I lay on a beach hammock under the palm trees, read my book, drank a bottle of water, and just loved the feeling of summer and being so free.


July 27th: We had another great excursion; a trip to Chichen Itza! Blog to follow.


July 29th: Janet and I walked a couple of kilometres down the fresh white sand beach. The sea was choppy, and there was just the sound of the surf crashing along the shore, lapping at our feet. The natural scent of the jungle and the sea breeze. The sun light was nearly blinding. I could close my eyes, just listen, walk, and feel. There was no darkness, no problems, no stress, only the sun's pulsating warmth, the sea, the beach, Janet and me.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"a very parochial top down decision making management model"

You've unintentionally described OECTA's own approach to settling the PDT 'deal'.

David Chiarelli said...

Ha ha! I Freudian slip perhaps?

Don said...

Summer may be here, and we are all relaxing or on vacation. But make no mistake, blood is boiling, in OECTA members, and members of the other unions we abandoned. Yes, I said abandoned. O'Dwyer better enjoy his time in office, it will be coming to an end when district after district votes down their collective agreements.

I am an OECTA member, but have a friend who works with OSSTF bargaining committee. He said they have no intention of signing anything close to the OECTA deal, and feel that even if the government tried to force legislation, it wouldn`t pass.

I am disgusted, SICK with my union for taking this route - including a "me too" clause in there. Mark my words, if the other unions hold out and as a result get another year status quo because the government can`t get their act together...how will we look then? Wow. OECTA has really done it to us this time. I almost welcome Hudak's idea of voluntary union dues, because I'll tell ya, I'll keep mine in my pocket thanks.

David Chiarelli said...

Stay tuned! Our OECTA PDT decision making and info strategy certainly requires a further upcoming blog.

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