Opening Statement



Sunday, 2 September 2012

Behind the Scenes: OCSTA + COCP

[You'll find more weekend news links at bottom of today's blog]

Without doubt many OECTA members along with the other affiliates are very critical about our OECTA PDT MOU. We need to be fair and objective as OECTA members, however one might feel. It is very important to consider why two of the non monetary gains are so important for us as OECTA teachers at school; Fair and Transparent Hiring Practices and the recognition of Teacher Professionalism. I'm not saying they justify the deal, just that in and of themselves, they are often very significant and badly needed at school.

Both are big gains that we wouldn't want to lose, whatever happens next. The other affiliates need to understand their significance. As Catholic teachers we must examine them extra carefully. They explain why the OCSTA Catholic trustees are involved in the protest, both against our PDT deal, and Bill 151 [the Liberal legislation]  Also why some OECTA units are now holding strike votes. All is not as it might seem!

Essentially, OCSTA, the Catholic trustees, and the COCP Principals and V.P's are attempting an end run to change the terms of the OECTA MOU out of sheer, naked self interest, and also to cover their own legal and political butts for whatever happens next. By applying for conciliation, before local Collective Bargaing talks have barely begun, is offensive, disrespectful and especially diabolical, whether the public or us realize it or not!

OCSTA is fighting to have the Fair Hire and Teacher Professionalism Assessment clauses removed from our PDT agreement, to protect their special management rights and privileges. Tim Hudac protected the public boards by having these removed from the legislation this week at Queen's Park. Our boards want to be exempted too! Furthermore many are keen to torpedo the whole OECTA PDT deal. Why? When we consider local contract negotiations, as folks in Mexico would be apt to say, they'd get the whole enchilada too. They are now losing the ability to screw us around with the funding dollar numbers, and school facts and figures, a persistent CB problem for many years.

Consider recent news developments: OECTA North Eastern president Louis Clausi calls the the board trustees on their nonsense and calls for a strike vote. The news reporters, columnists, protesters, and even ETFO and OSSTF are having a laugh fest; an OECTA unit on strike?!? The North Eastern board is one of about 13 Catholic school boards seeking conciliation to block the OECTA deal. The MOU opposition is often not necessarily coming from the local units, but rather is being created by the trustees when they request conciliation at the very beginning of the CB [Collective Bargaining] process. To protect themselves, our OECTA units are then forced to call a strike vote strictly because of the trustees actions. Louis provides a very excellent overview of the situation and the many other problems we often  have faced with our Catholic school boards. Note his no bars hold criticism of management rights and privilege: http://www.moosefm.com/chmt/news/11465-president-of-the-northeastern-arm-of-oecta-makes-official-statement

The OECTA Peel Catholic Elementary unit has also decided to hold a strike vote. Why? They need to protect themselves because their board applied for conciliation too. Conciliation? Who'd want to be the board's buddy indeed?!? See: http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/peel-catholic-elementary-teachers-vote-in-favour-of-strike-1.938419

Go to the OECTA provincial website. It provides a much more thorough explanation of the strike and conciliation process than I could ever provide. This link should take you directly to their excellent info piece: http://www.oecta.on.ca/wps/portal/!ut/p/c1/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3jDIBNLI2cfIwP30GBjAyNLdyNzc4sgQ3cvI_1wkA6zePdQJ9dQI0N_A3_jQDMDI49QC

You will also now find two excellent OECTA position papers explaining in careful detail the two MOU non monetary issues. Their loss of privilege really cheeses OCSTA off. To uncover the fox in sheep clothing in the OCSTA news links and COCP [Council of Catholic Principals] secret letters since spring, go to www.oecta.on.ca and see:

#1] Why Fair and Transparent Hiring Practices are necessary in our OECTA schools:
http://www.oecta.on.ca/wps/wcm/connect/62c658804c86a5a789ecff9b24a4ce8a/FairHiringFINAL.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&lmod=1928689341&CACHEID=62c658804c86a5a789ecff9b24a4ce8a&lmod=1928689341&CACHEID=62c658804c86a5a789ecff9b24a4ce8a&lmod=1928689341&CACHEID=62c658804c86a5a789ecff9b24a4ce8a&lmod=1928689341&CACH

Nepotism is totally unacceptable in a modern publicly funded school system. Unfortunately it's still often common in many of our school boards' hiring practices, when hiring is based upon who you know, or becomes a favouritism game. Some boards still insist on only hiring Catholics, another red hot button issue! Frankly ask yourself, are our school boards really acting Catholic in how they exercise their management rights and executive privileges? With their hiring practices? Staff scheduling? The open position lists in our schools? As Catholic teachers it's wrong not to be critical, and seek redress for such immoral corruption at our schools. Let's be frank, it needs to end! The Fair Hire clause of our MOU is a good first step in that direction.

The lack of proper accountability and transparency in our boards' hiring practicesOECTA MOU, provincial has scored a major coup! The rest of our corrupted staffing processes can now also start to fall into proper place from there.

For more info on why the MOU's recognition of teacher professional assessment is so necessary in our OECTA schools, also see: http://www.oecta.on.ca/wps/wcm/connect/e8bad0004c86a68989f9ff9b24a4ce8a/DiagnosticTestingFINAL.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&lmod=19287866

Teacher professionalism, in the OECTA PDT MOU, only refers to diagnostic testing. However, it is our boards' lack of appreciation or respect for our teacher professionalism that is the much bigger problem it starts to address. You are a highly trained, qualified and dedicated professional. You usually know your students best. Endless, senseless student diagnostic assessments might help some paper pushers higher up justify their well paid jobs. There is often a whole paper treadmill of statistic based edu-babble "analysis" that thrives and perhaps only exists because of the constant flurry of testing and retesting in ad nausea. Of course, as a result you get an often huge, exhausting and demoralizing additional paper workload. It takes time away from actually teaching your students. You can also suffer mental stress and burn out! Many members do! What for? The huge dollar amounts being wasted as we are called to tighten our fiscal belts? The OECTA MOU is an important first step in addressing this nonsense by in effect telling the boards' to pull up their pants, tuck in their shirts and show us some professional respect as Catholic teachers.

Please don't ignore these two very important OECTA MOU gains, whatever else you think about the deal. The Ministry is agreeing to support us with these first steps. We are finally getting up from under years of school board abuse hidden by their so called "rights and privileges". This represent a huge change of perspective in carefully calling to question OCSTA's often senseless and misrepresented management rights and questionable funding figures at our PDT meetings this year, and in our local CB negotiations of year's past. Know OECTA has done very well in finally bringing this to the MOE's undivided attention.

Let me be clear. Of course not all our school boards are bad, nor are our trustees, principals or VP's either. Our Catholic schools are often full of very highly trained, ethical administrators and teachers alike. The MOU, despite all it's shortcomings is also a big step forward in helping OECTA take a stand against the abuses of power and authority where and when they happen. Unfortunately these are often not uncommon either. OCSTA and COCP aren't being completely honest and upfront when they publicly protest against the MOU and Bill 151. Our brothers and sisters in the public school unions may not well understand OECTA's very troubling relations with our boards. Perhaps your school boards' are often not so draconian and abusive as ours can be. Our own OECTA members might be often overlooking these issues too in the war of words over PDT, MOU, and Bill 151.

Don't be fooled! It's absolutely necessary to be very aware of our special problems with OCSTA and COCP, whenever they hop on the protest band wagon. In the smoke and mirrors of educational politics, all is certainly not as it might seem! At school we hear a lot of talk about Catholic values, faith, and a sense of social justice. Lets live it instead! As Catholic teachers we can make a difference! Our actions must speak louder than words! Let's not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. There are many important fixes that need to be made in our schools! Keep that in mind as we continue to fight the good fight to truly make them Catholic!


Will OCSTA and COCP have the final say? Not if Principal Weatherbee is any indication...... :-)

More to come later....

Teacher Union News links for the Labour Day Weekend:

Monday Sept.3rd

My photos of the Toronto Labour Day March are being posted in the top left slide show on my site.

Some others:

Toronto Labour Day with OSSTF D12: http://yfrog.com/h7bxaetj

Labour Day with OECTA in Windsor. See: http://yfrog.com/h8d9yrij

Labour Day in Sudbury with ETFO: https://twitter.com/mabweinberger/status/242668055333851136/photo/1

Hamilton Labour Day with OSSTF D21witter.com/Alex__Johnstone/status/242652175690514432/photo/1

Andrea Horwath at the Waterloo Labour Day Paradehttp://twitpic.com/aqtfqj

PS: Send me pix of your group + I'll be glad to post!!!

In The News: 

Star Editorial examines the state of the Canadian unions on Labour Day 2012: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/1250018--labour-day-pressures-burden-unions-but-workers-are-marching-on

Check out blogger Darcy Casselman's Flying Squirrel on the ground review of the K-W by-election. An excellent local overview of all the candidates [including Green and Communist] concluding with  his own well considered and explained perspective of both the big picture, and how he will vote. Probably best read I've seen yet on K-W. Really nice weblog Darcy! See: http://www.flyingsquirrel.ca/index.php/2012/09/02/by-election/

Next Day??????? Some scuttlebutt and a hot scoop from the Labour Day Parade! Stay tuned!

Saturday Sept.2nd

 Some kind words of support for us:

Public Response Labour Analysts + Digital Agency in the K-W Record:
http://www.therecord.com/opinion/columns/article/791313--labour-movement-must-be-defender-of-all-workers

Ottawa Citizen Column on why we need unions:
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/Column+need+unions/7175496/story.html

PR 101: Good article on why our unions have to focus on how we represent ourselves to the public. Also interesting commentary on the relationship between unionism and the middle class: http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/1249944--is-decline-of-unions-leading-to-decline-of-middle-class

Toronto Ex-Max Webster Axeman Kim Mitchell rocks for teachers. Thanks Kim: https://twitter.com/osstfd28/status/241897630806974464/photo/1

Meanwhile back in the trenches:

ETFO's Sam Hammond claims more teachers are retiring as legislated austerity looms: http://www.thestar.com/article/1250258

Putting Dollars First! This column packs punch! See: http://www.thespec.com/opinion/editorial/article/788176--the-province-s-putting-students-first-act-who-s-kidding-who#.UELCXVAFA2e.twitter

And back on the K-W by-election front:

Martin Regg Cohn's prognostics of the possible problems of a by-election loss for Dalton + Tim. Short on rhetoric. A good read: http://www.thestar.com/article/1250258

A Record Editorial on why Ontario's fate is in K-W's hands. Gosh I love this stuff!!! A yummy political strategy read: http://www.thestar.com/article/1250258

O.K. here's where I p.o everybody. Let's look at propaganda verses counter propaganda aka nasty election campaigning:

Lib flyerhttps://twitter.com/PatGrew/status/242011103515799552/photo/1

NDP tweet: https://twitter.com/anthonymarco/status/242022530934796291/photo/1

Commentary: The election rhetoric is being ratcheted up to the old fall back techniques every politico uses at some point, while getting indignant about the other side using them too. One's the plain truth, and one's just lies, depending upon what side you are on. Yawn. First brush would suggest to me the union NDP caucuses are having a field day over the Liberal woes.The Liberal are worried the NDP is going to split the vote, letting the Conservatives win. Suppose I'll stroll down the middle. An NDP win is by no means certain but would further spice up the parties political games- man/woman-ship. A Conservative win? Either way, might make the Libs regret having written off the reliable teacher support they've enjoyed since 2003. Which is worse for us though as teacher's, the Libs or the Cons? With equal respect to my union brothers and sisters on whatever side of the by-elections, I just hope this doesn't ultimately lead us back to another debacle like the Tories 1995 provincial election win. Final analysis? Personally, I've pretty much always favoured minority governments. They have more give and take with less all or nothing results. Still they are unstable. I fear if this one falls the Tories will be back with a passion to eat teachers raw just for lunch. Ouch! I hope not. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Here's an example of social media being put to good use for rallying the teacher troops to help Fife. Most everybody loves Facebook. I also love the wham bam touch with Mulclair. The NDP are good at putting their all into one riding by-election wins, so who knows? All the details at a very convenient glance. Not much is missing in action here. See: https://www.facebook.com/events/339002559527730

Agree or disagree I've always respected TECT President Bernardo's logic. The local K-W unit is neutral from what I understand, even though provincial has endorsed Fife. Toronto is the city the rest of Ontario loves to hate. I wonder about the local response with us knocking on their front doors to tell them what to do. Will need to pick Mario's brain on this one: http://yfrog.com/h4df1cgoj

Here's two great teachers blogs you should read. Check them out more often if you think I'm getting to ornery. First helps the reader empathize with the teacher over hard pay and sick day cuts when she is at school, often above and beyond the call of duty, to help their kids. Bravo! See: http://everythinghappens2011.blogspot.ca/2012/08/theres-volcano-in-my-tummy.html?spref=fb

Mrs. Weir comes across like a real trooper too. Very nice! She's a hard working but badly and unfairly treated school lady in a personal just plain folk anecdote about getting a bad rap by the Libs. I'd guess she remembers what the teacher bashing was like with Harris, and gets the message across bang on without even saying so. Score + 1 for the teachers, 0 = the Liberals and anyone else who doesn't like us! Nice work! ETFO take note. See: http://everythinghappens2011.blogspot.ca/2012/08/theres-volcano-in-my-tummy.html?spref=fb

More below. More to come!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In front of 100 people at the Winter COP Keith Boyd told all, including Nina, that the delegates at AGM could not be trusted to have a say because they do not have a clue. This was done in open session. I trust the AGM and our delegates far more than I would trust any unit president. Too many local presidents want the 170 thousand dollar jobs like Kevin O'Dwyer enjoys. It is widely known that over 25 local presidents want these jobs. They then bow down and obey the top commandant so to improve their chances of getting these jobs. These are great jobs. Secretariat members never lose a minute of their time. Despite getting paid 170 thousand dollats a year, they also get time in lieu for every minute they work in the evenings or weekends.
Nina has obviously bought into Keith's demeaning view of OECTA rank and file members.
It is time to send a message and let them know we will not tolerate the lies anymore and give a zero increase to our fees. We are expected to live within our means and so should OECTA Provincial. The weakest union in the history of labour does not deserve a raise. We are being sold out to the Liberals and to OTIP. For what? Who knows, but someone is making a ton of money while we the members are losing ours.
We are now losing the few good people that were running and are being left with concessionairey persons who sold us out last time.
Is Angelo listening? Is he still running or is he withdrawing too?
Are we waiting for OSSTF and ETFO to save our behinds yet again? Yes we are? How embarrassing. Who is leading this mess?

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