Opening Statement



Friday, 13 July 2012

OSSTF Rejects New PDT Talks!

[Saturday Postscript: Today's "In The News" links have been added at the bottom of this blog.]


OSSTF has withdrawn from the PDT table. The first meeting back was yesterday July 12th. OSSTF afterwards released a Collective Bargaining bulletin, citing differences with the Ministry table officers over alleged labour relation and labour act irregularities in the OECTA MOU. Here is the text of the bulletin:
Below, please find our latest bulletin on bargaining. We endeavour to provide the most up-to-date information, but due to the confidential nature of bargaining we are limited as to what we can share openly. Please find PDFs of Bargaining Issues Backgrounders below, and previous bulletins in the Related Attachments section at the bottom of the page.

July 12, Issue 16

Good afternoon
Dale Leckie, Brad Bennett, Vaino Poysa (in-house legal counsel) and Ken Coran attended an informal meeting with three representatives from the Ontario Government: Pat Sorbara, Chief of Staff to the Minister of Education; Gabe Sekaly, Education Finance and Paul Boniferro, legal counsel at McCarthy Tetrault.

The intent of the meeting was to better understand components of the OECTA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and clarify its implementation and possible impact on OSSTF/FEESO members. The meeting lasted approximately two hours and little, if any, clarity was provided. We criticized the bargaining process initially and the OECTA MOU is proof that it is flawed both in terms of process and structure, as well as content and implementation.

It is apparent that the MOU is also inconsistent with any existing Labour Relations Act and Education Act provisions. We did ascertain that the government is committed to meeting its financial targets by September 1, 2012 and that the parameters contained in the Ontario Budget are the driving force and must be included in any government approved settlement in the education sector.

Many questions remain unanswered; however, we are providing these points of clarification regarding the OECTA deal pertaining to the two issues members most frequently ask about: the retirement gratuity and the grid freeze.

A reminder that this deal was struck by the OECTA Provincial Executive and applies to OECTA members only.

Retirement Gratuity

The retirement gratuity is frozen at its current level. The numbers used in the calculation are the numbers in existence as of August 31, 2012No components of the formula can be increased. The government also indicated to us that other retirement incentives such as RRSP Plans will be eliminated as of September 1, 2012.

Partial Grid Movement

The partial grid movement that takes place on Day 97 and onwards, in both Year 1 and Year 2 of the MOU can be better understood through the following example:

A teacher completing a second full year of teaching who is expecting to move up one grid step in September, will not do so until the 97th day of the school year. There will be no retroactive payment of that grid movement for the first half year of service. The teacher will be paid at this new level for the next full calendar year. Therefore, the teacher will not be compensated for that second year’s regular grid step until the 97th day of that second school year instead of the first day of the second school year. Hence, they will have forfeited 50% of Year 1’s grid movement and 50% of Year 2’s grid movement.

To fund the partial grid movement, the OECTA deal includes the following concessions:
  • The Secondary Staffing Enhancement for additional teachers, scheduled to commence September 2012, will not be funded.
  • Previously negotiated elementary professional development funding has been suspended.
  • Three unpaid professional development days in the 2013-2014 school year where staff are not expected to attend. This amounts to a 1.5% reduction in salary.
It again is apparent that there will be no local ratification for the MOU and its inclusion in local collective agreements. The Government continued to reiterate its September 1, 2012 deadline and its expectation that there be consistency across the education sector regarding agreements.
It was made clear to us that in this MOU, OECTA has given up individual members’ rights to:
  • conciliation
  • sanction/strike
  • ratification
  • unencumbered local bargaining
Giving up these rights is unacceptable to OSSTF/FEESO and our members. We will be proceeding with the provisions outlined in the Labour Relations Act and will move forward with local bargaining.

Kenneth Coran, President

Education Minister Laurel Broten has since refuted the claims that any labour acts are being broken with the ratification process. She noted that  ratification is, "...subject to the governance structure of each federation." 


Education Minister Broten expressed disappointment in the breakdown of the OSSTF PDT talks. I hope to include that letter here later. If perchance you have an open file or link kindly forward it to me for publication purposes.

In the meantime here is OECTA President Kevin Dwyer's letter to our members explaining our ratification and collective bargaining process now that the MOU has been approved by our Provincial Executive and COP:


Dear OECTA Member:


To clarify the next steps in the local level bargaining process:  


On Thursday, July 5, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between OECTA  and the government, and was ratified by the Provincial Executive that same morning. The Provincial Executive was required to ratify the MOU prior to release of any information to Unit Presidents.  


The MOU will be incorporated into local collective agreement proposals. The parameters of the MOU 
cannot be changed and will not be subject to local ratification.  Following ratification by the Provincial Executive, on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 a meeting was held seeking endorsement of the MOU by the Council of Presidents.


As per the Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA), each and every member will have the opportunity to 

vote on local issues in their local collective agreement. Following the expiration of all collective agreements on August 31, 2012, local bargaining with school boards may commence, but must be concluded by December 31, 2012. If a tentative agreement is 
reached between an OECTA unit and the school board, a membership ratification vote takes place. If the majority of members vote for ratification of the locally agreed changes, the agreement is implemented.  
 
Collective bargaining ends December 31, 2012. If there is no agreement, status quo prevails, which 
means the terms of the 2008-2012 agreement are extended for the next two years, except for the terms of the MOU. Between August 31 and December 31, 2012 (during bargaining), there will be no job action or strikes by teachers, and no lockouts by school boards. This is one of the parameters agreed to in the MOU. Boards cannot apply for conciliation, which means boards cannot unilaterally change the terms of the current collective agreements.  

In solidarity,
 
Kevin O’Dwyer/
OECTA President

In essence if you will recall from my July 10th Blog, "OECTA PDT: What Next?" our members ratify or reject the terms of the MOU by voting on their local contracts. See the blog for further explanation.



In The News


The Globe + Mail reports on OSSTF action: http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/high-school-teachers-abandon-talks-with-mcguinty-government/article2411140/?service=mobil

Here's the ETFO report:  http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-teachers-feel-betrayed-by-education-premier-union-says/article4101990/?service=mobile

Here's a report on what the Education Minister had to say: http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-education-minister-warns-teachers-school-boards-about-local-bargaining/article4099698/?service=mobile

Another one: http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontarios-elementary-teachers-strongly-urged-to-return-to-bargaining/article4099523/?service

This article examines some of the pros and cons of our MOU and examines it within in the context of province wide bargaining: 
http://www.lfpress.com/comment/2012/07/13/19985216.html

Saturday Commentary: The wider debate here would certainly seem to be focusing on local verses provincial wide bargaining, and the Ministry's hardline stand on Aug.31st when our cotracts expire.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Even if local contracts are voted down, the conditions of the MOU get applied to the expiring contract. OECTA? Shameful.

Mike E. said...

Every newspaper reports OECTA as "traditionally the weakest link" - Yeah, well, we certainly proved it this time didn't we!?

I am DISGUSTED by my union's (OECTA) behaviour during these negotiations. They gave up our right to conciliation, sanction/strike, ratification and basically local bargaining. THIS GOES AGAINST THE LABOUR RELATIONS ACT...the provincial government is not our employer.

Then O'Dwyer has the nerve to say "as per the OLRA everyone will have the opportunity to vote on local issues" yeah...with this gun pointed at our head. I tell you, this whole deal is absolutely disgusting. If I were a member of OSSTF or ETFO I would sit back and laugh at what a joke our union is.

I can only say one thing: I hope O'Dwyer and the rest of the executive enjoy the time they have left in their offices...because it's coming to an end - quickly. They should all be fired ASAP and get people in there who actually fight for us.

I will vote NO on any ballot that is put in front of me, and my colleagues seem to be telling me the same thing. Maybe we can nullify what our union has done to us!

Anonymous said...

David, I am an ETFO member and I just want to compliment how objective and fair your blog reporting is in this contentious and divisive bargaining environment. I don't like the OECTA deal for the most part, but I think you have provided an informative and balanced reporting.

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