Opening Statement



Friday, 6 July 2012

OECTA Deal: OSSTF ETFO CUPE Press Conference


First off, greetings to those of you from OSSTF and ETFO who recognized me at the press conference from my blog. I'm honoured to be so widely read. As it transpired, for whatever reason, I didn't get tossed out on my butt. I have a blog report to post on the Joint Press Conference, held by ETFO, OSSTF, AEFO and CUPE at the Sheraton Hotel at 10:30am today, as promised.

I have posted photos on my slide show. They sometimes take a while to appear and seem slow today, but they are coming. Sometimes a picture says a 1000 words. Well, you can look and decide for yourself. I'm not sure myself, but at any rate, they are always an interesting addition, and can help flesh things out, with a more human touch.

I am revamping and adding on to my "quickie blog" posted earlier today. I was downtown. It was sunny and hot. I realized I haven't been out much since school ended, so I enjoyed a little music shopping on Yonge St. Also a stop or two for a frozen coffee and icy soda while I just relaxed in air-conditioned splendour watching folks pass by the coffee shop windows. The Toronto tourist season is certainly in full swing.

I walked up Yonge Street to Bloor Street, then headed a block west to  meet my wife Janet. She got out of work early today. We enjoyed mussels in a tomato cream sauce and a Caesar salad sitting in the solarium at the Bloor Street Diner overlooking rush hour on Bay Street in  the Toronto financial district. The Bloor Diner is pretty much a Toronto institution. Old school Toronto perhaps. Well healed with a few trendies but never, in my experience, stuffy or pretentious. Outside of being polite and respectful one leaves any attitudes at the door and doesn't have to be particularly dressed up or put on any airs. Check it out some time if you haven't, especially if you're just visiting Toronto!

It can be a quite a very Toronto experience, and is open all hours, or at least very, very late. Oh the stories I could tell.......

I know. I know. I digress, but it is summer holidays........................... :-)

Anyway, I haven't read or seen the news reports yet, nor have I talked to anyone at OECTA, so these are just my immediate impressions of the press conference, take or leave them as you will.

Not much new, if anything, was seemingly said except to reassert each affiliate's position. I did not hear any immediate public snarling or gnashing of teeth over OECTA's PDT deal. Nor did I hear much direct reference to the terms of the new agreement either, from the joint presidents. The MOU was widely leaked and readily available on line from the Globe and Mail. In fact, I got my copy from an OSSTF connection overnight. On the whole the press conference lacked any news or views I haven't heard before. With all due respect to my colleagues in the other affiliates, I'd pretty much have to rate it C minus, and wonder why it was set up at all. I'd really expected some fireworks.

ETFO President Sam Hammond seemed most strident, comparing the Liberals to the Harris Conservatives. He also claimed Minister Broten wasn't very accommodating in meeting for any further talks with ETFO. A Toronto Star reporter focused on his strategy of going after the Liberals when a a much more voracious Conservative opposition is waiting to be elected, so they can implement the extreme anti-labour platform outlined in the recent White Paper they have been waving around. Maybe it was just me, but I could not quite follow Sam's response, except to note that he really is royally p.o'ed with the Liberals.

OSSTF's President seemed to pretty much stay the course on the themes of lack of discussion and the unacceptable PDT terms put forth by the Liberal government this spring. He emphasized teachers being unsettled and ill at ease with the way they are being now being treated by the Liberal government. He talked about how OSSTF wanted what was best for the teachers and so the students. He argued cuts certainly won't remedy the situation.

AEFO's Acting President did not have a translator. I'm afraid I am not bilingual so most of what she said was lost on me. However, a francophone reporter seemed rather exasperated in repeatedly asking her why the new PDT offer wouldn't be good for the students, a position she also seemed to be insisting upon.

CUPE's President pretty much repeated the well known union argument against the Liberal government's approach to the current economic crisis. Also that any form of contract stripping sets a bad precedent and is completely unacceptable for labour, teachers and support staff alike. The other presidents all were on the same page in their focus on the PDT deal. At no point though did I hear a clear concentrated attack upon OECTA, nor the details of our agreement at today's press conference. There was some talk about the need for solidarity, and  a reporter also asked about that too. Certainly none of the presidents were about to uncork any champagne bottles in our honour, as I had guessed, but the exact details of the OECTA deal were not discussed at any great depth or length either, if at all.

Quite frankly, the press conference seemed rather dull and uneventful. I don't know exactly what I expected the joint presidents to say, but again, I didn't hear anything of special note. It will be interesting to see what the media will pick up on. And no, I didn't get hassled, though I suppose everyone just considered me the blog guy, if at all, so all seems to remain tranquil -for right now that is :-)

However tomorrow is a different day. As is the day after that and the day after that and the day after that. Please don't interpret my observations to think everything is fine and dandy. Odds are that there's still much excitement and many more challenges ahead. Let's hope cooler minds continue to prevail.

Kindly note, all the "Comments" submitted in response to my blogs have been "con", or against OECTA's PDT deal. That's why I published so many of them of that bent. I can only hope this shows journalistic integrity because I am of course an OECTA member.

Our OECTA TSU executive meets on Monday, before President Jansen attends Tuesday's OECTA Provincial's COP [Council of President] meeting. There's certainly a lot to think about and discuss. Also more info to gather. Definitely I will want to discuss our OECTA position on the PDT deal further in my upcoming blogs once I can get a better bearing and perspective on all that's happened.

Stay tuned for more news, views and interesting links as they become available to post.

Well it's past midnight, and bedtime beckons. I hope this helps even if only in some small way for now.


13 comments:

Marcus said...

As an OSSTF member, I heartily applaud the deal brokered by OECTA leadership this week. I admire your consensus minded approach to negotiations. Moreover, the decision to place people values over power politics is a winner. Contrast the OECTA way with the approach BC teachers took this past year. They blithely followed their strident leaders into battle, to no consequence whatsoever. In the end everyone came out wounded. Thanks Catholics for schooling the rest of us on how education negotiations ought to be handled.

Mike said...

Obviously Marcus is at the top of the pay grid. I'm a second year teacher, and if I had ANY idea OECTA would abandon me like this, I would have accepted my scholarship to continue my studies and would never have considered teaching. The new pay grid itself is going to disadvantage me for the rest of my career. Some people may say it was an excellent negotiation, I say it is a lost opportunity to have some real dialogue about how far this province has fallen in the last decade. If you added up the billions lost of schemes and mismanagement, we would have a balanced budget. I feel sold out by OECTA...and yes, I've read the agreement top to bottom. Maybe we wouldn't have done any better - but why rush to get THIS deal?! I think we deserved better from our exec. Just based on the actions of my union, I will vote no for this agreement. That should send a clear signal that the membership deels disenfranchised and poorly represented. I can tell you a good number of by colleagues feel the same way and will be voting in a similar fashion.

DJS said...

I am an OSSTF member who will be able to retire with full pension in one year. I could sit back right now and hope that OSSTF follows suit and accepts a similar deal, but do I? NO! I lived through the Rae Days and the Harris Days and have had my earnings affected as a result of these previous governments. I understand the government's need to "save money" but I am tired of it always being on the backs of public servants or at the expense of the middle and lower classes.
The deal that has been struck by OECTA is not a "fair" deal. Not only is the government getting everything it asked for, OECTA gave them even more!!! That is NOT negotiating and OECTA members should be firing their union leaders and voting this deal down. If OECTA or any other union member takes this laying down, they set the precedent for the future of negotiations. Everything that has been fought for in the past will be at risk.
I only have to survive this year, but I am willing to fight for the rights of all education workers, young and old, to see that we continue to bargain in good faith with our employers. Are you?

Anonymous said...

Mike, I am not sure I understand why you feel OECTA sold you out. As a second year teacher, it's hard to lose something that you never really had. OECTA sold out the same generation of teachers that lived through wage freezes and 12 Rae days back in the 1990's so that young teachers can continue to move through the grid. They sold out the generation that fought hardest for the benefits all teachers enjoy today. I'll be voting no for any agreement when that opportunity comes, but for very different reasons than yours. Best of luck with your teaching career. I am sorry you feel the way you do about OECTA.

Mike said...

I just wanted it noted why I feel OECTA sold me out. When you are deciding on a career, you look at various factors. Some of those being salary, benefits, opportunity for advancement, etc. Apart from the obviously things like job satisfaction - and I do love it.

Two years into this job virtually ALL of those things are on the line. And really, we all know what's coming. My union took away the opportunity to tell people our side of the story, the mind boggling waste, people being paid salaries for consulting, student success, positions at the board, etc. etc. not actually teaching a class. Think of how much smaller your classes would be if all the dead weight at the board office was back in the classroom!!
Bottom line - I made a choice to become a teacher based on many factors. MY union just eliminated half of those reasons VOLUNTARILY, without a fight.

Hard to lose something I never really had? I had a promise and a belief that I was working with professionals who would fight to have their work recognized, not roll over...obviously every piece of union literature saying they would fight for me 100% of the way was total BS.

I'm not afraid of merit pay, I'm not afraid of being evaluated once a year or more, I'm not afraid of earning my pay raises through hard work and dedication. I guess it's off the private sector I go.

With my background I'm not going to fiddle around teaching physics to a bunch of kids who feel an overwhelmind sense of entitlement for the next, what, 15 years until I reach the top of the pay scale? I'll take that engineering job I was offered. It pays more than I make now, and in 15 years will probably pay more than max. teaching salary. PLUS I will reclaim my weekends, and my life.

When I'm due for a raise - I'll earn it myself!

Anonymous said...

Mike, I see your point and agree with some of what you say (especially about the dead weight at the Board). Unfortunately, it is too often the front-line workers that pay the highest price when things aren't going well. I stand by my statement that OECTA sold out its most experienced (and may I include loyal) teachers. There is a big difference between things that are expected and things that have already been earned. It's not like OECTA asked us to take a vow of poverty. I don't think the municipal employees of Scranton PA expected to be working for minimum wage after years of service, but welcome to the reality if you join their municipal workforce now. Imagine the loses being felt by their long service employees. I do have concerns with changes to the grid. How will it impact those that are at the top of the grid? Will those of us without graduate degrees but years of experience be squeezed out of the top, once again, for our younger counterparts? I don't think OECTA would ever agree to a 15 year grid (but who knows for sure now). Ontario nurses work on an 8 year grid, OPP on a 36 month grid, I can't imagine how it will be re-structured. I am afraid of merit pay. Not because I have any doubts about my teaching abilities, but because I do not have the "gift of gab" that some administrators are blind to. I am very disappointed with the OECTA deal, but I will return in September to fiddle around in my classroom trying to teach and inspire, but I probably won't be buying those pretty pencils and bookmarks that I like to give out on the first day of school.

Anonymous said...

I agree that OECTA sold out 100%! Even if the government legislates English teachers, they will fight it in court and win! I have no idea why the Catholic Teacher’s Union is so gutless. The so-called deal they bargained for was not a deal at all. I heard members of OECTA talking like it was a done deal in May 2012! They knew all along what they were going to do. The question is why? They are gutless and Catholic Teachers are angry! I will never vote YES to this contract when the time comes. Why were they so afraid to fight this? Why did they just cave in? But, at the end of the day, what do they care? From OECTA to TECT to other locals, all they care about is their big salaries. Also; why, at the local level, as in TECT, do we pay a president, a first vice-president, a second vice-president, a third vice-president? Why do they hold dinners for themselves at Villa Columbo twice a month? All the dinners out, all the waste of our union dues…..come on! TECT is the gravy train and they all appoint each other and all earn over 100K. I am so sick of these incompetents and their patronage of each other. If you ever need them, they pretend to help. They never put anything in writing, they rarely return calls. OECTA, TECT, TCDSB are all on the take……from the union to the trustees. Jesus would weep at the conduct of this bunch! Yes, I fully support one school board but unfortunately McGuinty, Broten and PC leader Hudak are ALL CATHOLICS-so it is not going to happen. Religious education of all forms should be paid for privately. BTW-Even the Catholic Church supports this. They dislike Catholic Education and want to run the school privately as is done in the United States.

David Chiarelli said...

Well, I am OECTA TSU 3rd VP and I'm not wasting your union dues. We do need a teachers union! Otherwise, I can understand your angst, and am posting your comment[s] accordingly. Hope this helps, but please! Let's keep our discussions constructive, as hard as that might sometimes be under these most trying of times. Solidarity + God bless!

Anonymous said...

I don't know you David, so I had no idea you were in TSU. But, I can assure you the cream has NOT risen to the top in TECT and I would argue in some jobs in provincial OECTA. Yes, we need a union. We don't need union reps on the take and in my opinion there is a great deal of money wasted at the local level. There's barely an attempt to hide it. I think my comments are VERY CONSTRUCTIVE. I am pointing out facts. OECTA sold us out and TECT wastes money! Both are constructive facts. I believe 100% in "unions" but not in corruption and deception. All the best, Kate

David Chiarelli said...

Thanks Kate! I don't believe in corruption or deception either. See my article on Brock Beaks OECTA Cone of Silence from earlier this month.
Without doubt we have some very hard questions to ask at our Aug 23 TSU TECT membership meeting with provincial! Solidarity!

Anonymous said...

"Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for roses, too!" Thanks David. -Kate :)

Anonymous said...

I am a TECT member. I do not know anyone on the TECT executive personally, but I can say that the current executive has always made themselves available to answer my questions, address concerns, and offer some guidance. Are they the cream of the crop? I don't know. But one thing I am certain of is that, at the very least, TECT has always played by the rules and followed the book. I just wish they would work a little harder for those members who actually return to work every September.

Anonymous said...

One question - why did they allow teachers to keep what they have for retirement gratuity, but did not allow teachers to keep what they had on an ongoing basis with their sick days. Some teachers have no retirement gratuity, only had their sick days and now they have nothing. This is all BS! Sure - if you want to eliminate sick days from Sept. 01/12 ongoing - fine. But to take away what we already have banked from previous years - CORRUPT!!!! and WRONG!!!! It's like saying - hey we want $30000 back from everyone because we think we paid you too much in the past! Remember - we all gave something up in the past to keep these sick days. UNREAL COME ON KEVIN - HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT! OH YA - NO PROBLEM SLEEPING WITH THE BIG DINNERS OECTA DUES PAY FOR! Since times are so bad - are we going to see the OECTA office do more with little - less travelling, no alcohol on meal expenses, etc.etc. TIME FOR CHANGE!

Post a Comment

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!