Opening Statement



Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Collective Bargaining RIP: A Funeral For A Friend!


Today's news links continue below this blog. I felt it necessary to edit these previous comments into a separate posting.

It was a very moving Education Workers' Funeral for Collective Bargaining Right's Funeral Tuesday night, before Bill 115 was passed into law, at Queen's Park! CUPE, OSSTF, and ETFO were in attendance. A rousing funeral march, eulogies, candlelight vigil, great media photo ops, were all pulled off with aplomb. The symbolism of the funeral was hard to misunderstand or miss. The evening finished with a rousing chorus of Solidarity Forever, the best I've heard since last spring at OECTA AGM when the Ed Minister left our assembly after getting the silent treatment. Hmmmm.

I stand by my principles. Stripping collective agreements is wrong. I rarely start fights, but I know how to end them. It is not my natural inclination, so I do not commit lightly. Once I do though, I won't back down. It was sad being there alone, but it brought back many strong  memories of similar vigils during the Harris years. Definitely stirred my blood, and I am ready for the good fight again. I have been since last spring's AGM. Through thick and thin OECTA didn't back down during the Harris years. But now! Whoa! MIA! Guess who's missing in action?

I am an OECTA member, and a proud one at that. I heard another member criticize our union at the speaker stand. She was quite right, many of us are very upset about the MOU. Now? OECTA Provincial has said that Bill 115 was "unacceptable". Unfortunately, that was about it. However, when she said that OECTA doesn't deserve to be considered a teacher's union, I kept my silence and winced. OECTA has done a lot of great work for our teachers students and schools over the years. We helped lead the protest throughout the Harris Years. I was there, I have seen us at our best, and we were second to none. And now? Well, it's our union, and it is worth fighting for. Still that fight needs to be taken up on the home front.

I salute my many ETFO, OSSTF, CUPE and EA brothers and sisters. The funeral at Queen's Park on the eve of Bill 115 passing into law was an A+ event all the way. It was like a funeral for a old tried and trusted friend; our collective bargaining rights! When the Liberal and Conservative alliance passed Bill 115 the next day, we all heard the cries of "For Shame" echoing from the Queen's Park visitors' galley across the province. Please know that I, and I'm sure many, many more of our members, aim to continue helping fight the good fight for our democratic rights. This is not over yet!

You can read for yourself what happened on Wednesday, when Bill 115 was passed by the Liberals and Conservatives into law. The transcript is recorded in the Queen's Park Handsard. Check these Hansard links. For the MPP's voting records see: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/house-proceedings/house_detail.do?locale=en&Date=2012-09-11&detailPage=/house-proceedings/transcripts/files_html/11-SEP-20

For the debate between Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty and the NDP Party Leader Andrea Horwath see: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/house-proceedings/house_detail.do?locale=en&Date=2012-09-11&detailPage=/house-proceedings/transcripts/files_html/11-SEP-2012_L077.ht

For shame? For sure!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

David, in this blog you have eloquently expressed how many of us in OECTA feel regarding the actions of our so-called leadership - disgusted, shamed, embarrassed, and angry. What is particularly galling now is the trickle of mailings that are starting to emanate from the Provincial Office telling us what a "great" job they did on our behalf with the MOU and how they will 'continue' to communicate with us. Huh? I'm sorry, David, but I agree with that speaker you referred to who no longer considers OECTA a 'union'. Unions don't cynically divide and conquer their own membership and then tell everyone what a 'great' job they did. No, they stand united, together, and fight. You may be willing to salvage what is left of OECTA, but I can assure you that there are many, many people who will NEVER trust the leadership of OECTA again. The breaches of trust this summer have been that serious.

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