Opening Statement



Monday, 1 October 2012

OECTA Neo Real?

Earlier, we looked at the OECTA's MOU or "Road Map", and OECTA's response to Bill 115 within the context of a Vichy Mentality. Now, I would like to also consider it from a neo realistic perspective. None of this is going to be very nice, I know. Please only read on if you have a rather thick skin, and do not easily take offence, whatever your own thoughts and beliefs are about the recent political actions of our different teacher affiliates.

If not, stop reading here. I am sure there is some other bromide somewhere out in cyberspace that will not challenge you or possibly call into question whatever it is you are thinking and doing during the "education crisis". Be content in your own little world, and don't take your blinders off until it's over! I've all ready been quite brutal in looking at my own OECTA affiliate through a pair of Vichy glasses. Now I will be very blunt in putting on a neo real pair, for another perspective, from a different point of view. I will not have many nice words to say about any of the unions, political parties, nor about human nature, in it's most base form. Maybe the view is right, or maybe it's wrong. This is for arguments sake only, to try to dig deeper. We are all big boys and girls here, okay? So off we go.

Neo realism, as we are considering it here, is the view that our political choices are driven by competitive self interests. Forget about all the nice intentions and fine nobbles with which we often exercise our thoughts and actions, as teacher affiliates, be it OECTA, OSSTF, or ETFO. Sure, during good times, we often sing "solidarity forever" and dance around the maypole in love with the notion of working in solidarity for the good of everyone else. However, truth be known, at heart, we are all still political animals in a rather blood thirsty world, often not of our choosing. When push comes to shove, don't doubt everyone can get right down and dirty. Never mind the nit and grit of it all. If need be, we can all go for each others throat to get what we want and need without a nar-de-do. From a neo real perspective that's just the human condition, in it's most base form. It's the way of the world. It's the way we are, all other niceties and such between us now or in the past, notwithstanding.

Maybe someday the world will be a better place. We will all happily be together in Shangrila. I certainly hope so. In the meantime, ours is a conflicting world of political parties, unions, families, special and economic interests. From the neo real perspective, any one of us would be at a serious disadvantage if we didn't act according to the logic of helping ourselves first when all else seems to fail.  We then need to ensure our own survival because we feel threatened, and have decided there isn't other way, but to go it alone for our own advantage. That is the real force influencing our behaviour. Consider it a security dilemma. Each affiliate and everybody else involved in the "education crisis" would distrust each other if they feel themselves at risk. We each want to get what we need, or fear we we will get beat, and end up at the bottom of the heap.

Each union has similar needs. Each political party, Liberal, Conservative or NDP wants to gain power to achieve their own political agenda. Each party quite naturally thinks their agenda is necessary and best for everybody, especially themselves. Our teacher unions think the same way when it becomes a question of protecting our own members, students and schools. I could go on and on, but these are the two groups I want to concentrate on today. Actually, we can pretty much dispense with the political parties for now, except as we need to refer to them for understanding the immediate crisis between our teachers unions over the MOU. They shouldn't get off easy, any of them, far from it. They too have a crisis happening which we could also view from a neo real view as they struggle for power at Queen's Park, jockeying for the public and our teacher's support, to form the next government. Perhaps I will revisit that in a future blog.

In brief, the Conservatives hate us anyway and know we aren't about to help them. They also know the heat is on for teachers as the shit settles to the bottom, for the given economic arguments or whatever else ails. It's an opportunity for them and they are quite happy to just stir up the political pot as much as they can, to make matters worse for us.

Otherwise? Let's get real here and face the truth; both the NDP and now the Liberals have dumped on us at one time or another, when they felt it was necessary. They see us as pawns, if you will, to move around the board, as they jockey for political power. They need public support to win elections, just like we do, to meet our membership needs. We are all public servants, government and teachers alike. Essentially, they need public support to not come at the bottom of the political polls and get beat but good, come election time! As far as ourselves, we can return to the media show we are all putting on for public support of who is right, wrong, or telling the truth at some other time. For our neo real argument, let's just consider the relative position the education crisis puts our different unions in. We can consider the politicians' response in more depth later on.

Neo realistically, in relation to each other, we have similar needs, often even quite altruistic ones, I believe, a lot of the time. We know we should all co-operate and get along for our common good. Still, each unions capabilities for getting what we need are not equal. Maybe it's organizational, or even just a matter of relative funding and size that determines what each union can and can't do, in relation to each other. Regardless, it is our different capabilities which affect our different position on issues and the limits to our solidarity during a crisis period. Essentially everyone is thinking at what point they should just strike out to their own advantage when the going gets very bad.  At some point, somebody was going to take a gamble and roll the dice; be it OECTA, OSSTF, or ETFO.

This spring when we marched into the PDT discussions together, we were suddenly faced with the MOE's shocking PDT terms. The status quo was threatened. We hoped and even expected that the McGuinty Liberals would ultimately be reasonable about our concerns. Up until then they had been our most powerful and effective Allie in the political power games at Queen's Park. Mr. McGuinty was the self lauded Education Premier, who had won power and held onto it, with our teacher support, and the widespread public appeal of  the good, reliable and peaceful educational system we had all built together.We would talk and the Liberals would listen.We could all try to be "reasonable" and come up with a better solution. Still, what was "reasonable" for each of us, or for that matter Mr. McGuinty? What did each of us need to get?

ETFO needed to regain the 2% in pay they lost during the last round of negotiations. Their PDT team was mandated to get that at the very least, or else walk out of the talks. That discussion was very brief. The wage freeze was definite, as far as the MOE was concerned, while it couldn't be for ETFO. So who wouldn't talk any further with who was actually a mute consideration for both sides. Of course it was the other side's fault. With a good strategy both sides could each try to spin ETFO's walk out strategy to their own advantage.

With push come to shove, both ETFO and the MOE were now stuck a part. Quite frankly, in the political battleground of public support, refusing a 2% salary hike during an economic crisis was a pretty easy fight for the Liberals. However, they would basically have to write off ETFO's support for the PDT process. Both sides closed the PDT door knowing they wouldn't be able to come up with a win-win situation. Somebody was going to have to go down hard, and of course, neither side wanted it to be them.

On the other hand, from our neo real perspective, OSSTF and OECTA could both begrudgingly go along with a pay freeze "pause", so long as there was movement with the other terms. As such, it would seem a solution could still be found with the MOE. OECTA and OSSTF could politically afford to make it publicly known that they would make concessions on the salary freeze, even if ETFO wouldn't. Maybe neither the MOE, OECTA or OSSTF would need to get beat too, if the 3 of them continued to negotiate without ETFO at the table.

Unfortunately, from a neo real perspective, all was not the same or even close to being equal, for OECTA or OSSTF. Most OECTA units didn't have a gratuity, unlike OSSTF. Still, both balked at the idea of less sick days and no more sick day bank. We'd given up a lot in contract negotiations over the years for these gains. Now it would all be for nought. Besides, sick days were hardly a frill in our workplace, and a gratuity is hardly contentious in the business world or other professions. Unless the Liberals were going to cut us some slack these terms were non negotiable. As for our pension plan, the Liberals hardly had a handle on the issue and how the process works. OECTA and OSSTF could delay these talks for the time being and just focus on the other threats to their members well being. ETFO would've also been stuck in the same situation, if they still had a seat at the high stakes poker game being played, but they didn't. Even still, it was readily apparent that no matter what, there was inevitably going to be a lot less pie available at the PD table to be distributed equally for what all of us wanted or needed. The Liberals wouldn't budge.

OECTA saw a slight advantage, despite it's relatively small size and less funding over the years. Our problem for agreeing to a deal for our members, unlike OSSTF or even ETFO, wasn't with the gratuity issue. Most of our units did not have them. Also, our main concern need only be for teacher members. OSSTF included a lot of support staff in it's ranks, who they also had to take into consideration. There wasn't any one size fit all solution apparent for OSSTF in the complex grid freeze numbers game and so on that the Liberals were playing. The different make up of their membership terribly complicated almost any issue on the table. So they became next to ostensibly step aside from the PDT talks. Truth be known, they still maintained a constant observer status at the table, unlike ETFO. Neither OECTA nor OSSTF had to necessarily say a deal was impossible if something could still be possibly worked out. Both were still maintaining the option to talk, listen or negotiate with the McGuinty government at the table.

As summer approached the PDT talks where still pretty much at a standstill. During the spring, OSSTF had proposed a locked in 4 year pay freeze, and a 85 factor golden handshake that would allow the Liberals to get two for one teachers. More new ones, lower on the pay scale, could replace the higher ups, creating good teaching jobs for the growing numbers of OT's, at a decent cost savings for the government. OECTA was making some progress with negotiating wiggle room for everybody within the financial parameters. The MOE rejected OSSTF's proposals. Nothing firm was agreed upon in the OECTA talks, but some movement might be possible as long as the cost savings worked out the same as with the original PDT terms.

Unfortunately the Liberals were basically sticking to their original terms. By their own neo real political calculations they decided at some point to risk writing off their long time teacher support at the PDT table, to regain their majority government status, by beating the Tories and the NDP in the by-elections this fall. It was a miscalculation, and a very bad and costly one at that. With a cost savings and tough guy gunslinger stance they gambled on winning over a sympathetic soft Conservative right of centre vote, by pulling the promised balanced budget argument out from under Tim. Relatively speaking, faced with the Conservative and the Liberal's hard line approach to the public service cuts, the Liberals thought the teachers would have nowhere else to go anyway but back into the Liberal fold anyway. Should the polls be right in projecting a two way Liberal Conservative election struggle, McGuinty figured the Liberals could still get the teacher support as the lesser of two teacher evils.

The NDP hadn't been especially vocal in support of the teacher unions so far. They had even been trying to moderate their left wing union positions at the NDP's spring make-over policy meet. Mr. McGuinty decided to roll the political dice. Strong union support wasn't absolutely necessary, and might even be detrimental in any election with the conservatives fought to the fiscal centre right of the Ontario political spectrum. Should the NDP veer back left, the whole political centre was wide open for a McGuinty verses Hudak showdown, that Dalton guessed he could win.

Towards the end of June, Mr. McGuinty was convinced by some of his cabinet, that maybe he could still break the stalemate in the PDT talks. His cabinet was showing cracks in the fight against teachers, who had been reliably onside up until now, a very safe bet. Convinced that the sick day terms were in fact quite unreasonable for teachers, be they cut to six or ten, McGuinty finally gave his PDT table team some wiggle room to see if a breakthrough in the talks could be reached here. Also he knew, like everyone else, that the NDP had screwed up with an inequitable grid freeze and paid dearly for it in the 1990's. Not to seem unfair, who wants to be like that, he conceded that some alternate cost saving agreement might now be considered to let everyone keep face. Hopefully, for what it was worth, with some good will he might still reach a win-win position for the Liberal government, OECTA, and OSSTF. So what, let ETFO stay away and get screwed. The government side didn't feel any pressing need to worry much about their demand for a 2% raise.

OECTA was still pretty much alone at the table but at least we were talking, while OSSTF mostly just watched and listened. Through his neo real shaded glasses Mr. McGuinty noted OECTA kept clambering it wanted to work within the cost parameters to find some alternatives, in a lot relatively smaller scale than OSSTF would. OECTA was the smaller union in the wants and needs department, and so in what it might settle for. OECTA had been very consistent in working strategically with the Liberals, since before the 2003 Conservative election defeat, so they might seem still be a good bet for Liberal teacher support, and even to help swing a deal with the other unions. OSSTF was still hard stuck in the political mud with the grid and gratuity issues, and a larger very diverse membership for which it needed a lot more Liberal concessions to close any deal. ETFO had either boxed themselves into a corner, or been boxed in with their 2% salary increase limit, depending upon whichever side one was on. Maybe the Liberals and OECTA might work something out, which both sides considered "reasonable".

McGuinty was determined to put his foot down anyway. He'd bet he could still impose the original PDT terms through the legislature by this fall. He was focused on Hudak and not the NDP, figuring they'd have to take an unpopular stand for the unions, further pushing them back into Ontario's  left wing hinterland. Guns cocked, his table team came back to the PDT table to talk to OECTA and play let's make a deal. This then would've been the gun OECTA saw pointed at it's head, when it decided to go it alone allowing our contracts to be stripped rather than die on the altar of ethics, local collective bargaining and union solidarity.

From OECTAs perspective, in my neo real analysis, we were stuck in a real mess. OECTA was highly unlikely to get out of it anytime soon with ETFO, or for that matter even OSSTF. If the end result was also going to be a mess, better it be a mess on our own terms than on anybody elses. Being a smaller union, OECTA might have gotten hammered if OSSTF and ETFO had been able to reach a deal first on their own specific terms, to meet their greater, more complicated membership wants and needs. Perceiving the PDT crisis as a do or die fight, it seemed better to go it alone for OECTA's own advantage.

An OECTA MOU agreement was reached on July 5th. As a result, everyone now would have to follow the OECTA PDT road map. OECTA could argue it's a better deal than what was originally on the table. OECTA could argue it felt we had a gun to our head and we were going to get beat anyway The other affiliates were just holding us back. The union negotiation score card was not looking good. Maybe come fall our membership would just be glad to get back to school with a deal along our own lines. OECTA would also take the safer looking political bet. If the Liberals regained their majority in the by-election fight they could continue to keep Hudak's blood thirsty Conservatives at bay for us.

As for union solidarity, OECTA could argue that this wasn't the first time an Ontario teachers' union broke solidarity. ETFO backed down during the 2 week 1998 Teacher's Protest Strike, knocking the feet out from under us all. Now here they were, stuck up to their ears in an intransigent position they were not going to get out of anytime soon. Even if they did, could they be trusted? What was union solidarity really worth to ETFO? They'd blinked when we'd all been standing eyeball to eyeball with Mike Harris. Fair is fair. When they decided to back down in their own self interest, they too had left us all in a lurch. I warned you the neo real perspective could get pretty nasty! [Dear ETFO and OSSTF readers please know I love you!]

In June OECTA had met with ETFO President Sam Hammond in good faith to bring him up to speed on the possibly shifting PDT parameters. He had gone it alone to leak the discussions to ETFO's own advantage. OECTA looked bad for staying at the table, but not ETFO.  They weren't going to back down now, because they wanted that 2% raise or no deal at all. OSSTF was still interested enough to be sitting at the PDT table, even if it was as observers, though nobody could quite figure out how to cut them some slack with their complicated dilemma.

It seemed highly unlikely that any of the other affiliates were going to reach a deal. As good neo realists, OECTA, forecasting doom and gloom ahead, and uncertain about the other affiliates' prospects let alone their negotiating skills, wasn't even too sure how reliable they would be in an end game with a perceived Liberal gun held to our heads.  Were ETFO and OSSTF truly intransigent, not about to concede anything, or were they just inept at negotiating a better deal at all? OECTA agreed to a PDT MOU deal on terms that would be more favourable to OECTA than the ones currently on the table. It guessed that the other two mired down affiliates, even if they could get out of the mud, might likewise agree to terms that would've been in their best interests also. So OECTA decided to roll the strategic dice, and go it alone for it's own advantage. The only question was when?

The last obstacle still in the way of an OECTA agreement was OCSTA. They did OECTA a big favour neo realistically speaking when they walked out of the PDT meeting late July 4th. They were willing to throw the principals and VP's, who they alone represented, under the school bus of a 1.5% cut, to be paid for by 3 unpaid McGuinty days like us, but no more! The MOE refused to remove class caps and limits on teacher supervision, along with OCSTA's long wish list of self serving perks they were ridiculously trying to insist upon for themselves. They wouldn't concede fair or transparent hiring practice restrictions either, despite OECTA's complaints on behalf of our OT's. Not a good bluff. Nor was it particularly astute or indicative of any negotiating skills whatsoever, except for the most basic of bullying tactics. Once they walked out on the night of July 4th, the last major OECTA roadblock to a deal opened up. Now there was only the MOEs original PDT terms, and whatever else the MOE and OECTA could agree upon themselves.

The MOE agreed to cut OECTA some necessary slack to deal with the proverbial problems we have with our quite obviously nasty school boards and trustees. They would include a clause requiring fair and transparent hiring practices. Also a recognition of teacher professionalism in the school level decision making process, even if it only applied to diagnostic testing for now. Small crumbs perhaps, but for OECTA it was a start. A corner had even been turned in having the Ministry recognize our problem with the Catholic boards. No big deal perhaps for the public school unions, but a deal OECTA might otherwise not get.

So what other gains or advantages were there for OECTA? Neo realistically, if one figured there was a gun being held to your head, the two year pay freeze seemed like the best of any number of possible pay cuts the Liberals or a Conservative government might come up with over the next couple of years, during this period of economic uncertainty. OSSTF had even been willing to lock into a perhaps safer four year contract by suggesting a four year freeze earlier in the PDT talks. OECTA and OSSTF might've both agreed that was acceptable. However OSSTF wasn't talking, the MOE had said no, making it as unlikely as ETFO's demand for a 2% raise. OECTA could accept the salary freeze per see.

OECTA especially wanted to help protect our members on the salary grid from a disproportionate cut with the 2 year grid freeze. Take off three unpaid PD days in the second year of the contract, roll grid increases back to the second semester of the year, and OECTA had another more favourable deal than the original PDT terms it saw the Liberals holding to it's head like a gun, cocked to go off and explode.

Conceding 3 unpaid PD days also okay since even OCSTF had agreed to it for the principals and VP's before they walked. Put them before Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter during year two of the contract to make them more palatable. Since the principals and VP's had to take them off too, it was unlikely anyone would be cohorsed into actually going into school for "PD" on those days too.

Neo realistically speaking OECTA could argue that it actually made gains with the new sick day plan. Losing the members accumulated sick day banks, as questionable and disturbing as that might be, could be offset with up to 120 days off every year at 90% for anybody with a qualified medical need, 67% without. Then no more days were also lost between when they run out and LTD kicks in. Furthermore these absences would be investigated by a neutral third party. That would eliminate the many nasty problems we often had with our school boards when a member experiences a long term or intermittent health problem, but didn't have enough days in their sick day bank until they qualified for LTD.

Essentially, the plan might be considered more of a face saving plan for the Liberals than a bad deal for the teachers, unlike the original PDT sick day cuts. Considering how complicated and costly this new plan could be, the government might conceivably lose more money than if they had just left our sick days at 6, 10 or even 20. Still, they could save face by looking like they were hanging tough on the sick day cuts, and also keep OECTA on side during the by-elections ahead. McGuinty must've danced about the Premier's office on his twinkle toes at finally closing a deal that could show he had stood tough on his demand for cuts!

The new provincial medical plan, to be managed by the teachers, could conceivably develop into a huge cash cow, not unlike our pension plan. Also we could tender our health insurance plans from a position of strength, considering the vast amount of money from all the affiliates' contributions that would be thrown into the same pot. OECTA could even arguably claim that the Liberals had sweetened up the settlement with these last two concessions.  The OECTA table team must've swayed back and forth, arm in arm, singing holy praise for their good fortune!

Finally, there was the Liberal's hard line position on eliminating gratuities. From a neo realist perspective the gratuity need not be a big sticking point for OECTA, unlike OSSTF and ETFO. Few of our members had these anyway. To most, though not all of OECTA's units, a grandfathered gratuity could be massaged as little more than collateral damage, considering what it could be traded off for with the other concessions. Here the neo real darkens. OECTA's two bigger units, TECT and TSU in Toronto, had good gratuity plans that were now being sacrificed on the PDT altar of cuts and savings. Also an excellent LTD plan they owned themselves. Quite understandably their presidents would vote against the MOU at the Council of Presidents. Unfortunately for them, they had but two votes and the majority rules. Come Spring OECTA AGM, they wouldn't have the majority of votes either, so long as the other units were no longer upset with the MOU.

With time, other inequities could still well materialize too. OECTA had agreed for our new teachers to loose half a semester with their increments since they now took effect January 1st. The sick day plan is a very complicated idea with very few actual details worked out, and as we know, the devil is usually in the details. Ditto the health insurance plan.  Also, what if OECTA takes a gamble, signs the MOU, but the other affiliates later get a better deal? No problem! The Liberals included a "me too" clause. Anyway the terms would be legislated come September, if ETFO and OSSTF didn't finally follow along the OECTA Road map. On July 5th there was no indication that would be accomplished with anything as undemocratic as Bill 115, but the Liberal government would be trusted to come up with something and OECTA could be expected to just sit quietly on the sidelines until everyone else was, one way or another, coming our way

Regrettably, OECTA had gambled and let our contracts be stripped of our sick days and retirement gratuity, but worse was yet to come. We've examined how the French Vichy mentality led them to make a deal in hopes of holding off the gun that was held to their head during World War Two; the Nazi invasion of Southern France. That didn't last for long or work out well for the French. Nor did appeasement work out well for OECTA either. When the school boards and other public school unions would not follow us by signing onto the OECTA road map, and the Liberals enacted Bill 115  in an attempt to force them to, OECTA would get screwed in principle just like all the other union. Bill 115 stripped our Collective Agreement rights from the Ontario Labour Act too, regardless of whether we need them right now or not.

I doubt OECTA had any idea how draconian Bill 115 would be. However, neo realistically speaking now the MOU was a done deal. When the Liberal guns went off in August, OECTA Provincial didn't need to worry too much. At the very least, Bill 115 wouldn't be required against the majority, if any, of our local units. The majority had agreed with the MOU terms at COP. Maybe it was bad news for OCSTA and the Catholic school boards, but not too many of us were going to cry anything but crocodile tears for them. Also, wouldn't you know it, the ratification process agreed to in advance, let provincial easily go ahead with the PDT deal. They were not required to take it directly to our members, whom they were elected to represent, for ratification purposes. As we have recently learnt, they had no intention of even considering the outcome of the COP vote. How neo real can you get? OECTA had it's deal with the devil. Now, it could sit quietly on the sidelines during the protests and boycotts. How safe and convenient! Or is it?

This fall's polls find both the Conservatives and the NDP within a few points to form the next government. The Liberals have sunk to a distant 3rd place. The other angry teacher unions abandoned the Liberals in mass scale to help a resurgent NDP prevent them from regaining their much needed majority in the September by-elections. OECTA made a symbolic protest by endorsing the NDP in the K-W by-election. Too little too late! Growing public cynicism with the Liberal's parties dubious "education crisis", along with all the protests and discontent, is still helping clobber them in the polls. Wither too OECTA now? Have we any credibility left?

OECTA Provincial has become stuck quietly alone supporting our road map and laying low on Bill 115. The deafening silence from the OECTA offices is becoming unnerving for many more of our members. The implications of the OECTA MOU and Bill 115 are now sinking in, despite their media strategy. The Liberal minority government could quite conceivably be defeated by either the Conservatives or the NDP,  in an election that could happen at any time. Tim Hudak's Conservatives have been handed a very useful tool with Bill 115 for completely gutting and dismantling our Collective Bargaining agreements and our union certification once and for all. Perhaps Bill 115 will expire in 2014 and all will be well, if you trust the Liberals, and the Conservatives don't get in. I wouldn't bet on it though.

Maybe ETFO and OSSTF are right in thinking we would be better off gambling on a NDP victory. The teacher and student protests are only increasing in intensity. The NDP could soon be tied in the polls with the Conservatives. If we were stuck in a mess on July 5th, our situation has only continued to deteriorate into an even bigger one. The possibly good outcomes don't look nearly so appealing now, with our neo real glasses off. What is reality anyway, but a perception? Perhaps OECTA shouldn't have gone it alone. What real advantage is there when the whole scenario unravels, and OECTA is stuck sitting on the losing side of history with the Liberal bad guys, who might not be around for very much longer?

Please don't shoot me, I am only the neo real piano player performing for you this song of woe. Perhaps, if the Tories form a government, OECTA did gamble on the lesser of  two teacher evils. If an NDP win doesn't happen, maybe OSSTF and ETFO's protest strategy is just another bad gamble too, especially if they lose public support with the extra curricular boycott and all the other problems happening now in the public schools. Perhaps we have all brought ourselves full circle back to 1995. Tim Hudak could finally get  his revenge for the Great Tory Defeat in 2003 from a fed up public, only too ready to give him a chance to reign the big bad unions in.

 I'm don't think neo real was the right way to go, if that was how OECTA Provincial viewed the PDT MOU and Bill 115. If  the MOU seemed like it could work out to OECTA's advantage, that still doesn't mean it was a good idea. Like the Vichy mentality, our agreement with the Liberals still smacks of the foul order of appeasement. We  have allowed the government to strip our contract of sick days, gratuities and now with Bill 115, our collective bargaining rights too. Vichy? Neo con? Ones nice reflection in a shiny pair of coloured political glasses, when it comes at the cost of our most basic labour principals is totally unacceptable to me. It's always important to try to live by ones principles. If we are all defeated in the fight ahead, I'd rather be holding my head high, and have my principles intact.

I'm a Catholic teacher. I believe in social justice. As a union member our collective bargaining rights are a sacred trust protected by the sweat and blood of many, even ourselves, during the Harris years. The future looks pretty grim right now. That is our cross to bear. I'd rather go down fighting, taking along a honour guard of nasty politicos with me anytime, rather than surrender our union's heart and soul. Our beliefs and principles should never be gambled away. If the ugly prospects we now face can be understood from a neo real perspective of our OECTA dealings with the Liberals, that is very sad indeed. We are seeeing the demise of a once great teacher's union. If not, then we still have a lot of deep soul searching to do anyway. Let's hope for our OECTA teachers across our province, that doesn't happen too late. We cannot afford to sit idly by on the roadside of our Ontario union legacy any longer.

RELATED BLOGS: A readers quick reference guide

OECTA: Cracks in the Wall: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/09/oecta-cracks-in-wall.html

OECTA Sudbury Letter: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/09/my-oecta-tsu-news.html

Vichy Mentality? http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/09/as-the-many-protests-when-bill-115-law.html

RIP Collective Bargaining: Funeral for a Friend: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/09/collective-bargaining-funeral-for-friend.html

Behind the Scenes: OCSTA + COPC:  http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/09/behind-scenes-ocsta-copc.html

Brock Breaks OECTA Silence: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/09/behind-scenes-ocsta-copc.html

OECTA PDT: Catholic Principals  http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/07/oecta-pdt-catholic-principals-object-to.html

OECTA PD: A Study Guide: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/07/pdt-your-study-guide.html


Full circle?!? Anybody going my way?????????????????????????

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Being a smaller union, OECTA might have gotten hammered if OSSTF and ETFO had been able to reach a deal first on their own specific terms, to meet their greater, more complicated membership wants and needs. Perceiving the PDT crisis as a do or die fight, it seemed better to go it alone for OECTA's own advantage."

Perhaps, David. But the problem is that the deal OECTA struck is just plain lousy contract stripping and is only to the 'advantage' of a select number of OECTA members. Neo-real? Yes, specifically in the sense that OECTA leadership sacrificed the interests of some of their OWN members for those others within OECTA (leadership included) with VESTED INTERESTS in return for a deal with a political party that is on its deathbed. The word 'union' has a little French word at its core - 'One'. Neo-real universe or not, that OECTA 'set the dogs' on a group of its own membership is unforgiveable. I'm not oblivious to the realities of the world, David - but rationale such as yours in this particular blog, and much of the 'reasoning' I've heard from O'Dwyer et al, really makes me upset that I'm paying $1000 a year for this kind of 'leadership'.

David Chiarelli said...

Hmmmm. I think that is what I was trying to say. I didn't consider OECTA Provincial's vested interests
tho, just that they bought the deal. Thanks for your insights!

David Chiarelli said...

I have re-edited the final few paragraphs in hopes of being more clear. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Wow..a long read. The union doesn't have to die...just rise like a Phoenix from the ashes...the voting structure must change to allow each OECTA member to vote...and Provincial Executives who voted in favour of the MOU need to be replaced by candidates who will serve there membership.

David Chiarelli said...

Ha! A long read indeed! I had thought of posting it in sections but needed to get it off my editing desk. Am expecting some more BIG stories [not necessarly in length tho ;-) in the next week or so! Yes, we need to arise from the ashes. Love the Phoenix reference! Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

oh no a spelling error...in the last post I meant their membership...not there

Anonymous said...

I just had a light bulb moment....David Chiarelli for our next OECTA Provincial President. Are you in?...could be the next Justin Trudeau....you seem able to tell the truth and be transparent....

angryoectateacherOTTAWA said...

Hi, a teacher from OECTA Ottawa here. On Friday, we were told that the local unit would be 'sporting the OECTA blue flag" at the Liberal AGM protest. Does anyone have a photo.

Yes, David for OECTA Provincial Pres....we need to get those three who signed this 'deal' out of office NOW

David Chiarelli said...

Thank you! If you can get a jpeg of the OECTA flag at any rally please share it with me for the blogsite. Solidarity!

S. said...

Interesting to read from a teachers point of view!

Xx
/S / http:// mydarlingsolitude.blogspot.com

David Chiarelli said...

Glad you like, i will check out your blog too, one i get a few free minutes.

Anonymous said...

Why are there not more of us speaking out against our rights being trampled on? Do you think it's going to get better in the future? McGuinty obviously found the weakest links to divide the labour movement...and they marched right in line...completely forgetting those they were supposed to represent...Halton and Sudbury shouldn't be the only units...OECTA members...demand that your units across this province file complaints against the OECTA Provincial Executive under the Ontario Labour Relations Act! Wake up before it's too late!

angryoectateacherOTTAWA said...

Hi Dave,

I am attaching the link to the Ottawa Citizen article. My bad, there were more than 700, not 350 as my previous post stated. Read it and feel free to post it. I am glad that this outrage is getting some press coverage. Several flat out asked for his resignation, to which is said "NO."

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