Opening Statement



Thursday, 5 July 2012

Surprise OECTA MOU Agreement Reached!

Please note this blog was written with reference to the OECTA and Liberal press announcements that a PDT deal had been reached. The MOU was not made available. This link is for the complete text of the OECTA PDT Agreement, or more specifically the "MOU" [Memo of Understanding]:


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/incoming/read-the-agreement-between-ontario-and-the-catholic-teachers/article4393004/


Original blog:


Updated info is being added to this post as it comes in and is cleared for release. Please continue to scroll down the page for the latest information, which will further address many of the issues being considered:

[Thursday 3:00 pm]


OECTA made a surprise PDT announcement today. A deal with the Ontario government has been reached. OECTA’s statement is posted on the www.oecta.on.ca website.

Please know I have been quite frank and upfront with my previous blog postings. I provided the complete OECTA information I received and my conclusions were formulated accordingly. 

I need to reserve further comment for now about the surprise element of the announcement until I learn more about what has recently transpired. Please know I had no intention to mislead, and barring further information, am quite surprised and perhaps even shocked, as many of my readers must be, whether you have agreed with OECTA's position or not. 

Temporary blogsite problems prevent me from posting the OECTA statement here, though I hope to fix the problem asap. In the meantime here is my summary:

OECTA PDT Agreement Summary:

OECTA accepted the pay freeze of 0% until 2014. We will renegotiate the grid by then. A further 3 unpaid PD days have been added. In exchange it seems there won't be the same grid freeze proposed earlier, which would have especially hurt our teachers with less than 10 years teaching experience. However, it's does not sound like they will proceed up the salary grid scale as usual during the 2 year term of this agreement.

OECTA accepted the offer of 10 sick days, up from the earlier proposed total of 6. We are still 10 days short of our current 20, and will not have access to our accumulated sick day bank, should we be sick for any longer than that. Some special provisions are mentioned. It's unclear what they will be. Perhaps we'll be paid 2/3's salary for up to 120 days? The statement does not say.

OECTA has agreed that our accumulated sick day gratuity will be grandfathered at the maximum amount currently allowed, depending upon how many days you all ready have in the sick day bank. 

The province has agreed that "fair hiring language" must be included in our local contracts. Hiring practices have often not been fair and transparent in the past. It would seem the government will specifically support us in fighting these practices.

The province promises to recognize "teacher professionalism".This refers to a respect issue, if you will, that has long gone unaddressed. You are a highly trained professional. Is that often recognized at school in your decisions on curriculum, evaluation and ethics etc.? Are these often arbitrarily reversed, and are you often simply told what to do? The Liberals seem to be willing to specifically back us strongly in professional decision making, on assessment for now. I made mention of the professionalism issue in my July 3rd blog, and will want to comment much further on this later, in another context.


Here's the OECTA link at:


http://www.oecta.on.ca/wps/portal/!ut/p/c1/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3jDIBNLI2cfIwP30GBjAyNLdyNzc4sgQ3cvI_1wkA6zePdQJ9dQI0N_A3_jQDMDI49QC_dQHw9jAwMDiLwBDuBo

Please stay tuned, and of course check the OECTA site.


Furthermore [6:25pm]:


The Liberal Daily Wire press release and OECTA statement on the MOU [Memo of Understanding] pretty much match up as far as the agreement details go. The Daily Wire emphasizes an agreement to address "non-monetary issues such as fair hiring" and how that will help our OT's [Occasional Teachers]. It does not specifically refer to the "teacher professionalism" issue like the OECTA press statement does. Significant? Maybe, or maybe not.


Here's the Liberal Party statement on their website:


http://www.ontarioliberal.ca/NewsBlog/NewsDetails.aspx?id=Deal+Reached+with+English+Catholic+Teachers


The Presidents of the other teacher associations; ETFO, OSSTF, and AEFO, will be joined by CUPE [the Canadian Union of Public Employees] to respond to OECTA's announcement in a joint press conference at 10:30 am, tomorrow Friday July 6, in Conference Rooms D+E, at the Sheraton Hotel In Toronto. The Sheraton is at 123 Queen St. West across from city hall. I wouldn't expect any champagne corks to fly. Union solidarity is about to become a big issue, as the polite but no doubt unhappy recent "Comments" to this blog would suggest. 


The "Comment" bar is below my blog and also shows up in the left side column. My new policy is to publish a representative cross section of any constructive comments pro and con, especially when it gets busy. Comments with names on them will be always be given preference, and I will reserve the right to not publish anonymous ones as I see fit.


If I can get into the press conference tomorrow I will file a blog report. They might very well kick me out on my butt. I'll never know unless I try! 


[7:40 pm]:


Question: If the Memo of Understanding [MOU] is to be ratified by the OECTA Council of Presidents [COP] within a week, what is the due process for finding out the exact details, and deciding how to vote? This is a very important issue for each local OECTA unit. It will also have a lasting effect on all teachers across the province, and upon our solidarity relationship with the other teacher and public employee affiliates. At the very least I would expect that very urgent OECTA local unit executive  meetings are in order, across the province, no easy task at such short notice during the summer holidays. It's always necessary to proceed in a responsible, methodological and transparent manner, whatever the responses might be with any decisions as important as this. 


[11:00]: Good news! Unit executive meetings are being arranged at the local level. I requested one for TSU but it seems the ball was all ready in motion. I have seen the details of the PDT agreement. There are A LOT of provisions for the various concerns I've presented above for each point of the agreement. LOTS! Confidentiality requires I don't release information ahead of time, so as to not muddy the process.  I will need to make sure which details I can publish before I say much more. Suffice to say I will not lie or deliberately mislead. Also know, I now think the biggest problem this deal poses will be politically with the other affiliates. Nuff said. Stay tuned.


[11:42] A TSU Message:

Please share with all members: 

1. The OECTA units have been informed that a deal was reached this morning.
a. A press conference was held at 1pm by OECTA.
b. More details will be provided tomorrow [Friday].
c.  A Special Council of Presidents meeting has been called for Tuesday
d.  Our executive will be meeting Monday

The Local Collectivive Bargaing Team:

i. ] will meet shortly to review as part of ongoing preparation for bargaining with the board.  
ii.] whatever Provincial Framework is finalized, will be reviewed for our local bargaining.
2. Details will continue to be shared over the next few days and throughout the summer.



Our OECTA PDT Agreement: comes as quite a sudden surprise!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well it seems there was a secret deal despite OECTA's statement to the contrary. It really throws a wedge between teachers because I for one resent the me too clause that requires us to take work action and get hammered in the press while your union signs early and then gets the benefits from the work of other teachers and their unions. Solidarity is solidarity. I just hope we won't be forced into the same deal and I hope that OECTA teachers don't sign for this agreement. If you all do, then I hope there is a "not you" clause if we negotiate a better deal.

Anonymous said...

As an OSSTF member, I can't be more disappointed in my colleagues at OECTA.

This "deal" would have been on the table in November, December, even into the new year. What's with the rush to get this signed so quickly? And no doubt this agreement includes a clause entitling you to a better deal, should one be negotiated with the other unions.

Perhaps by sticking with the rest of us we could, at very least, brought attention to the many issues facing this province, and education in particular - put to rest the labour/union bashing around the province, and used this as an opportunity to show just how wasteful this government has been. A great "teacheable moment" on how cuts alone won't save the province, a chance to start a discussion with the people of the province about where they want their priorities set.

I would urge all OECTA members to vote NO on this agreement and fire their union president and executive. They did nothing for you other than create a divide in the province and a public relations nightmare. Now they are trying to force you to vote within a week, over summer break? Something is wrong here, and if I were an OECTA member I would be screaming my head off about this stab in the back.

Anonymous said...

A lot of provisions? It doesn't matter - we're still losing our shirts. Pay grid increases starting 97 days into the school year, unpaid pa days, loss of gratuities, loss of sick days. This contract is nothing but strips! I don't care if there are provisions to "grandfather my banked sick days" or bring any of my sick days beyond the 10 to 90% of my salary. And who is this "3rd party arbitrator" who will make all these decisons. How can anyone think this is an acceptable contract?

Anonymous said...

I am an OECTA member and am saddened by what I've heard about the agreement. Although many things still need to be clarified, what does appear clear is that OECTA has thrown it's most qualified and experienced teachers under the bus. Good luck to the other federations and to the doctors.

Anonymous said...

I hope all OECTA members vote against this! I am an ETFO member and was shocked. Unpaid PD Days???????? Even if I have to pay daycare costs to attend???????

Elle Thompson said...

I am an OECTA member of the TSU and have been on the phone and social media all day talking with almost 30 colleagues at my school. Not ONE of us will be voting for this deal. I think there is going to be a major backlash against the OECTA leadership for being so so wrong on thinking it knew what its membership would stand for.
As for the comment about the other unions not seeming angry - why would they?! So 43,000 SUCKERS will be back at work, and 200,000+ will be standing their ground. Hopefully we vote this down and stand proud and united with the others. In recent years we've been so afraid of "maybe losing Catholic education" that we cower in a corner and take what we're given. OECTA - let's take back OUR union!!!

Anonymous said...

Remember folks, this is a MOU, and we don't get to "vote" on this deal. It will be up to each board to negotiate a local collective agreement based on this MOU. THAT is when we get the opportunity vote NO on this deal that sells us down the river. Even the boards and trustees are going to be angry that OECTA seems to be giving the province a much bigger role in this, and no doubt by 2014 we will all be legislated to be provincial employees and completely under the government's thumb by then. This was just our union's baby step at shooting themselves (us) in the foot. Some call it "creative" and "dynamic". Ummm signed 2 months before our current deal expires...no, it's none of those things, it's an embarassment to us all. The other unions should be disgusted.

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