Opening Statement



Thursday, 9 August 2012

AEFO signs MOU!

FRIDAY A.M.: LATEST NEWS LINKS NOW ALSO ADDED BELOW PHOTO: Includes Franco school boards' claim that they reject AEFO deal, and reports about OSSTF meeting with MOE on Wednesday. 

Thursday morning 9:30: I'm headed to the Media Room in the Queen's Park legislature for a press conference with Ontario's Minister of Education, Laurel Broten. It's on a reader's tip. Somethings up. Nobody is quite sure but by late yesterday the rumours were that the MOE and AEFO had reached an agreement. Outside it's overcast and drizzling, but pleasantly warm. I arrive to a near empty room. A few camera and sound men are setting up as the reporters and guests arrive.

The Education Minister arrives enters promptly at 10 a.m. with two attaches. They stay by the door. Laurel personally greets the guests in a warm but business like manner and says hello to the press. She knows them by name. The guests include Stuart from AEFO. A few observers from OSSTF and ETFO, most of whom I've met. Others say they recognize me from my blog. There's also a lone Conservative member who's come to observe. I don't see anyone else from OECTA. I've known and worked with Laurel for many years, and today, I am here on my own, not in an official capacity. It's a very sparse group. I wait to say hello to Laurel until after the press conference is over.

The Minister announces that the MOE has reached an MOU with AEFO [the french teachers union]. It's based upon the OECTA "road map". An attache hands out copies of the press release. I look it over as the Minister speaks. At first brush, it seems pretty much the same as ours. The Minister points out that it is, except for a few minor differences, with their LTD arrangements, and to make a few french language accommodations.

Education Minister Broten notes that the ministry has now reached MOU's with teachers from about 50% of the province's schools. She mentions OECTA, AEFO, and is pleased that the TCDSB is on board too. She says she looks forward to also reaching agreements with EFTO and OSSTF very soon. She explains that she believes she has given them enough time to bargain locally. The Liberal government will recall Queen's Park and legislate the PDT agreement into effect by the end of month if no agreement is reached. She claims the provincial government can't afford to let the previous contract roll over, if new ones aren't in place by August 31st. She says the province can't give the teachers a 5.5% raise. She repeats the Premiers messaging that we will have to put the pay raises on "pause" for the next while, so the the province can deal with the deficit while keeping caps on class size. Also to keep the all day kindergarten program in place.

She then turns her attention to the province's trustees. She points out they have inaccurate information on fair hire and assessment as it has been worded in the OECTA agreement. She encourages the trustees to actually read the OECTA PDT MOU. She is quite blunt about this and spares no punches. The MOE wants there to be fair, open and transparent fair hiring practices equally in effect across the province. The MOU doesn't say that teachers don't have to do any diagnostic testing. There will be a PPM shortly forthcoming to further clarify the assessment issue. She explains that teachers know their students best. Our professional judgement also needs to be recognized in the student assessment process.


Education Minister Broten is hard as steel, very firm, poised and on top of her game. Her somewhat insecure demeanour the last time we met, at the March OECTA AGM 2012 seems long gone, replaced by a grim determination befitting of her position, as is the business skirt and jacket she is wearing today. Like it or not folks, she seems to have hit her stride.

During question time she is grilled real hard by the press but sticks to her messaging. She refuses to address the legislation issue any further at this time. She will not speculate on the prospect of whether it could be considered a confidence vote, nor the prospects for a provincial election this fall. She will deal with that when the time comes. She emphasizes the need for the school boards to work at having contracts in place by September.She had nothing further to say about these issues at this point in time.


I personally said goodbye to Minister Broten as she left the legislature. She noted she is very proud how OECTA and the MOE were able to work out an agreement, and that the TCDSB, the largest Catholic board in the province, has committed themselves to it for our local contract negotiations.

I always strive to provide honest, balanced coverage in my reporting, regardless of my own teacher and union points of view. So I must say, I sensed that she is on a roll, and grimly determined to see it through. In all fairness, the score would seem to be MOE 2, and the unions 2. A tie? OSSTF and ETFO are the 2 largest teacher affiliates. Still, with the TCDSB on side, she seems to have the momentum right now heading towards the homestretch. I'm pretty sure she knows it but is not about to let down her guard. As Education Minister she has certainly hardened and is not quite the Laurel I've known for the past ten years or so. Still, the consistency of character is there. I think she honestly believes that what she is doing is absolutely necessary. I'd be willing to bet she isn't going to back down come hell or high water. Between now and August 31st is a lifetime in politics. Let's see what happens next.


Education Minister Broten announces the MOE AEFO MOU at Queen's Park today. A hat's off to those of you who have said that you saw me on the t.v. reports today. ;-)

NEWS LINKS:

Francophone school board announcement rejecting AEFO agreement because they were cut out of the deal:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-francophone-school-boards-reject-union-deal/article4472807/

Here is the English translation of the AEFO announcement. French text link is below it on AEFO page:
http://www.microsofttranslator.com/BV.aspx?ref=IE8Activity&a=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aefo.on.ca%2F%2FNouvelles.aspx%3FSID%3DE6A8224D-381A-4174-AA95-FF16F1A6C64F%26NewsID%3DwiuaH4C0%2FeAueYv3mDat2g%3D%3D

Here is the AEFO Press Releasehttp://www.aefo.on.ca/Docs/2012_AUG09_PRESS_Agreement.pdf

Here's a Canadian Press report on the announcement: http://www.cp24.com/news/deal-reached-with-francophone-teachers-union-1.908615

McGuinty responds to protest on Windsor visit. Also to ETFO President Sam Hammond on MOE deadline: http://www.ourwindsor.ca/2012/08/mcguinty-and-duncan-tour-local-school-protesters-oppose-legislation-for-teacher-contracts/

Ottawa Citizen article reports OSSTF and ETFO not about to budge over announcement of AEFO deal:
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/777633--catholic-board-won-t-back-province-s-deal-with-teachers

Here is a Star report on the "inaccurate information" that raised the Minister's ire during her speech:
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/education/article/1239086--catholic-teacher-deal-could-affect-student-achievement-school-boards-say

A London Free Press report on trustee complaints also includes quote from Broten that she was meeting with Ontario public high school teacher union on Wednesday. [must be OSSTF?]:
http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/08/08/20082111.html

London OSSTF D11 President responds to London Free Press columnist's teacher attack:
http://www.lfpress.com/comment/2012/08/09/20086216.html#.UCUjaFhymTY.facebook

A Local London OECTA unit press release on the situation with their board: http://www.oecta.on.ca/wps/wcm/connect/89a2b3804c4333459630d7abab267fa8/NR-LondonDistConciliation-Aug3.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&lmod=30231023&CACHEID=89a

OSSTF President Ken Coren says OSSTF will accept pay freeze but has proposed new benefits plan and early retirement incentive to help cut costs: http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2012/08/08/teachers-union-says-it-will-accept-pay-freeze

Local OSSTF and ETFO negotiations continue in Hamilton: http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/08/09/hamilton-teacher-negotiations.html

Hamilton Catholic board rejects PDT terms over non monetary issues:
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/777633--catholic-board-won-t-back-province-s-deal-with-
teachers

Niagara Catholic Board rejects MOE time line, will continue scheduled talks with local union this fall:
http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/2012/08/09/board-will-not-meet-deadline

McGuinty comments on court and party challenges to legislation imposing contract during Kitchener Ottawa visit:
http://www.therecord.com/news/canada/article/777866--mcguinty-won-t-take-no-for-an-answer-when-it-comes-to-deals-with-teachers

This CBC report considers the prospects of a fall Ontario election. It also reports on the Conservatives and the NDPhttp://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/08/09/toronto-teachers-broten.html

Here's the Catholic Register report on the TCDSB agreement: http://www.catholicregister.org/news/toronto-gta/item/14940-tcdsb-ratifies-labour-deal

Keep checking here for more links to come!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I suspect OSSTF will be the next to agree to MOU roadmap. ETFO, unfortunately, is in a tough spot given what their leadership gave up during the last round of contract discussions. It is doubtful that ETFO has learned from past mistakes. There is something to be said and living to fight another day. Let's hope for everyone that they see the light.

Anonymous said...

Lucky for Laurel Broten she had a cowardly and deceitful OECTA 'leadership' who were willing to sell out their membership for OECTA's own vested interests. With all due respect, Broten hardly had to be 'steely' while dealing with the wet noodle OECTA 'leadership. Did Broten take OECTA to the woodshed? No sir. Our leadership invited her in and handed her the axe.

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