Opening Statement

Tuesday 20 November 2012

News Flash! 6 Tentative Contracts Approved!

November 27, 2012

Late breaking news: OSSTF: York and Niagara vote no! Upper Grand approves contract. Wow! Democracy in action. Bet OECTA Provincial couldn't handle that. In the spirit of the law we could've been given the right to ratify it, but no. More details to come!

How to stack the OLP leaders race while claiming to have a fair election? See which of the 800 ex-officio voters each candidate has in their corner and how that works to their advantage:

November 26, 2012

Blog Trivia #1: My blogsite has just passed 10,000 reader hits so far this month, a new record of sorts. I am pleased to be of service. It certainly goes to show that there is a great teacher need for regularly updated information not just particular to one affiliate, issue or cause. Perhaps a one stop shopping site of sorts? I dunno. I am quite surprised myself. Anyway thanks for your patronage, and please share my link!

Blog Trivia #2: OECTA Presidential candidate James Ryan takes hit in readership polls. Current President's Kevin O'Dwyers "OECTA MOU?' response to "None Dare Call it Betrayal" has knocked both blogs respectively down to the 7th and 8th all time most read reads here on my site. Kevin's "OSSTF Contract"letter also enters the top ten at #10 boxing both other stories in. Significant? Yes or no? James has been lieing petty low in the cyber news while Kevin finally seems to be stepping up to the plate.

York Simcoe and board reach tentative agreement. Job actions Suspended:

Remember folks: let's not forget about ETFO who continue to toe the hard line we were all so gung ho on when we first entered the good fight against the MOE PDT last spring. So many fine words, intent and speeches. Remember CUPE and PSEU too as they fill the front line trenches in the fight against government austerity measures under perhaps even more brutal conditions than our own. Holy smokes! Remember actions speak louder than words!!!!

A decision on Toronto Mayor Ford's conflict of interest charge to be delivered by court at 10 am today:

Winter is Coming: I saw my first snow flurry in Toronto today at Finch and Highway 27. It was 3:12 pm. The snow melted as soon as it hit my windshield. I was driving with the heater on. It sure has been cold enough. Now it is here if only for a little while at first.

November 25, 2012

I have posted a blog on the OECTA MOU verses the OSSTF York contract since I started this one, though for now I continue to add the most recent news links here.

For a comparison chart of the OECTA MOU and OSSTF York contract see:

For my latest blog on the comparison, including the letter from OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer, scroll up to it or click:

More links to follow. More below.....

November 24, 2012

EZ Rock 105.7 reports ETFO stepping up their job actions. That's an interesting news outlet to be reporting on school issues. I guess most parents don't listen to hard rock anymore? Well, as long as they are getting the message. Go ETFO Go! But somebody ask them to play some Jimi Hendix ok? ;-) See:

Yesteryear: PM PET [Pierre Elliot Trudeau] meet John + Yoko. Check it out: Lennon in a suit?!?

Kim Zarzour reports that confusion reigns over teacher disputes in York Region. I suspect sometimes a lot of parents just don't follow the daily news or ask directly whats happening at their child's school. Remember though there are lots and lots of single, and two income working families, who are greatly effected by any sudden changes in their children's schedules before during or after school. Messaging is challenging at best especially with the three different affiliates all seemingly operating differently now. What to do? See:

Picture this: A union rally in a sleet, rain and snow blizzard up in Grand Erie. President Sid Ryan let's everyone know OFL is continuing the good fight. It seems a province wide "Day of Action" is in the works for January. President Sam Hammond reaffirms ETFO is planning to escalate it's fight. OSSTF Vice President Harvey Bischof explains some units are settling contracts in order to protect it's members in the short term but plans to continue fighting Bill 115. Sincerest regrets, but that sounds a lot like OECTA to me. Our provincial leadership doesn't seeming to have been there or didn't have had anything to say. A pretty good snapshot of the state of the unions as December 31st approaches? See:

OPSEU calls government offer "totally unacceptable". Check out the details. See:

Nowadays: PM Harper meets Justin Beiber. No suit?

Here's a youtube video of the ETFO rally outside the Liberal Dinner event in Toronto last week at the Westin Habour Castle. See:

National Post commentary seems delighted that the OLP Leaders Race now has a strong  right wing contender in Takhar, an unapologetic fiscal consevative who promises to balance the provincial budget a year early. See:

Local teacher Cathi Stewart takes on Kitchener Record columnist Luisa D'Matto in a letter to the editor for calling teachers "boneheads". An excellent reply that is easy to empathize with and comes straight from  the heart. Bravo! See:

The Black Friday Walmart Strike: A page of video links gives you the workers story and details of their attempt to organize, mobilize and unionize their workplace. Few of us or the public are aware of the work conditions and pay. Guess who is paying for their much touted low prices? Learn what is going on:

OLP Liberal memberships total 45,000 as of yesterdays cut off date for leadership convention. More than half where gathered on Friday! Some candidates report how many they signed up, others don't. See:

November 23, 2012

TGIF! It's rainy and cold here in Toronto but I understand there are white out conditions north of the city. Snow flurries are fore casted for this weekend. Sigh! Alas! I am not a big fan of winter. I suppose all you skiers, snowboarders and Skidoo enthusiasts must be getting excited. Perhaps it's just life in the city. The first virgin white snow will be like a gentle blanket covering the city rooftops, trees and streets. Then it will all quickly turn black and icy until it snows again. Blech.

First off today, boycott Walmart to support the workers courageous Black Friday strike!!! Walmart workers can be fired for practically even thinking about unionizing and their work conditions and pay are downright bad and unsustainable. For more info:

The latest Forum poll should give the OLP leadership contenders "pause." The NDP has risen to first place, the Liberals second and the PC's third. Gerard Kennedy is the only contender with double digit support, just one point short of those who "none". Toronto Mayor Ford continues to enjoy majority support despite all the reported gaffes, scandals, and flagrant violations of the City Hall rules. Only upside seems to be that more Torontonians now think he is screwing up, rather than blaming the media for picking on him as he ascertains. Still they support him?!?  In the immortal word of Baby Huey the duck, "Duh." For the best and worst of today's news so far, see:

The deadline for running in the OLP leadership race is 5pm today. C'mon! Go for it! We know you can do it! Ha. Perhaps OECTA Provincial will even pay your fee if they are not all ready planning to support Kennedy, Wynne or Pupatello ...........  ha X2! The deadline is midnight to signing up for or renewing a membership to be eligible to vote at the Jan 25-26 leadership convention. For details see:

Harindar Takhar denies he has entered the OLP race as a "stalking horse" gathering support for Sandra Pupatello later on. Sneaky! Sneaky! A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse! He is now the 7th leadership contender. See:

Look familiar? Let the New Jersey teachers know we are here!

Blogger Jersey Jazzman draws our attention to a courageous New Jersey teacher and candidate Mary Corfield. She's running for a seat in the NJ State Assembly that's too close to call. Apparently the big money has gone all out to make sure she doesn't win. Now she is saddled with the big cost of a vote recount so that hopefully there will be a teacher taking them to task over the state's education policies. Listen: I know this is in the US and we are Canucks but wouldn't it be great if we could show some solidarity for our colleagues south of the border? Our problems are like a Sunday picnic compared to theirs, it's so bad for teachers in the USA. Perhaps some members from our different OTF affiliates might want to request a local or provincial solidarity grant to help out? Our teacher struggle should know no international borders! Maybe I am am being "unrealistic" or just one of those "romantics" Kevin O'Dwyer has written about? Imagine that. Oh well, just a thought. Ask to find out more. See:

Local OECTA TSU member Robert D'Addario notes our students are actively engaged in applying Catholic social thought to solving important world issues at this year's CSUNA [Catholic School United nations Assembly]. Despite all the bad connotations and public angst these days Catholic social justice does teach that the primacy of the needs of the poor and the well being of the community are what matters most. It is not self serving nor exclusive. You have probably noticed that I am Catholic teacher, although I do report all points of view here on my blog. I,  like many of my OECTA readers are from the Catholic social justice wing. Please don't confuse us with the other side, please!!! I think they are the ones you really don't agree with or like, and quite frankly more often than not we don't either, especially when it concerns many if not most of the union issues being addressed here. Anyway, I won't preach. See:

Here's a cellphone video of a OT and student fight in Palm Beach High School Florida [I would suppose] that went viral over the internet. By student accounts he was a good guy they seemed to respect and like. Other folk have questioned the context which is not evident in this short clip. Too bad. He's been "terminated" and the student "expelled."  Check this. Reminder: Please don't try this at school ok? :-) See:

November 22, 2012

Today is the 49th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. John Jr. salutes his father goodbye. More photos + a story have been posted on my Nov 24th blog "I Remember JFK.

Pre Ramblin' On

A  welcome to my new Ontario Politics readers! Make yourself at home. Look around. You'll find a lot of all affiliate teacher news and views here. I update the news links on a regular basis.

A link to OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyers letter to members about the OSSTF agreements is being provided here for quick access. For some reason the site does not allow members to post comments. The text is reprinted in full and available for comment in my blog above. See:

There is now also another blog above with OECTA President O'Dwyers latest letter on the OECTA MOU. After being silent for so long he suddenly sure has a lot to say! Maybe he's been spending a lot of time with Justin Trudeau on the farm? Some pretty high falootin' stuff in these letters. Too little too late? With reservations that I don't want this blogspot to become a mailbox for his letters, I will give Kevin full coverage for a bit to hear what he has to say. You will recall I always try to provide balance on my blogsite. We consider all points of view. Hopefully we can better get to the real truth of all the confusing issues these day. Well, hang on .... There's still a third letter coming!

Contract + Work to Rule Updates

Laurel Broten: "Okay, you can change them this much!"

Just In: Minister of Education Laurel Broten has approved 4 more OSSTF tentative contracts for these OSSTF units: Thames Valley, Avon Maitland, Niagara and Hamilton Wentworth. Link to follow.

OSSTF D25 + Ottawa - Carleton Board have reached a tentative contract deal! D12 President Dan Maxwell comments on their board working together with teachers to reach the deal. Maybe somebody from OCDSB can have a chat with our Catholic boards and explain to them how that is done? What's that?!? Oh yeah, they don't listen to anybody but themselves. "Catholic" boards? This is beyond embarrassing. See:

ETFO Trillium Lakelands set to begin work to rule November 26. See:,%202012.aspx

ETFO Rainy River begin work to rule today. See:

Nope. No OECTA Job Sanctions or protest. Perhaps Bad Boy Brock and the Halton Elementary crew will rock the status quo for us at the OLRB hearings scheduled for this Friday.

OECTA Halton`s Bad Boy Brock dares speak out again at November COP. What next?

An uncomfirmed rumour suggests that why Premier McGuinty announced the MOE's approval of the York agreement on Tuesday ahead of Minister Laurel Broten was in case she changed her mind. All affiliate relations with the minister herself remain very terse. Hmmm.....?

Timothy King's a strong blog writer who gets the graphics thing. Read his Dusty World blog on Bill 115 at:

The OLP Leader's Race

Late breaking news report that Harinder Takhar has resigned  from Cabinet. Gee why? You get 2 guesses, first doesn't count. Dwight Duncan has been tagged to take on Harinder's Ministry of Government Services. See:

Harinder: "How many days left?!? ............................. well then. Twist my arm! Ouch! OK! OK!"

The National Post's Scott Stinson weighs in quick on Harinder! He's a definite Liberal right wing contender like Pupatello and Sousa. He's a hard noser who believes in legislated contracts. He knows what to do from his own experience as a businessman and being on a school board. Has a full campaign platform ready to go. Ho boy! See:

Blogger James Bow posts his interview with Gerard Kennedy about how he wants to change the dynamics of the OLP. See:

U of T Liberals endorse Kathleen Wynne as a progressive who espouses core Liberal values:

4 more MPP's from across Ontario endorse Sandra Pupatello:

CUPE Corner

CUPE will fight to protect the private sector if need be. Should the Hudak Conservatives form the next government they most certainly will have to, us as well too. Fur will fly in a fight to the finish. A feisty CUPE President Fred Hahn takes off the gloves in this rock 'em sock 'em Welland Tribune article. See:

Remembering Nov.22 1963 and so on: 

There are certainly quite a few layers to every aspect of the Kennedy legacy to support the public myth that the early sixties were a golden era like Camelot. He was the king. America was on a quest to save the world and on the home front everything was hunky dory. I could go on and on but it`s not really true. I don`t think so. A lot of`the truth was probably silenced forever in our lifetime by a bullet or two on November 22 1963.
[See my November 24 blog "I Remember JFK"]

November 21, 2012

ETFO teachers and friends rally outside Liberal Dinner at Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto last night.

Teacher Contract News Etc.:

2 more tentative deals; OSSTF D18 + PSSP, also education support workers at Upper Grand. Details forthcoming!

First details on MOE approved York Region Contract: 1 mandatory unpaid McGuinty day and up to 5 voluntary ones! "Gratuity Wind Up Payment" for teachers with the board 10 years or less. See:

OSSTF York teachers to ratify this Monday. See:

New Contracts ?!?!?!?


Congratulations OSSTF? Yay or nay? Your members will now get to ratify their contracts as they are approved by the MOE. York will be the first next Monday. As an OECTA member I can only applaud this very democratic union process. Still, how are these contracts otherwise substantially different than OECTA's in principle? Also what happens to ETFO now? I've been very hard on my own OECTA affiliate, but I must admit, this is getting increasingly hard to sort out. Are our contracts not still being stripped? Is union solidarity not further eroded? Please do not take offence, but as always I intend to ask the hard questions that I think need to be asked, of anyone and everyone to try to get to the truth. Only the truth can set us free from all the confusion all around us. Please use the Comment button on the bottom of this blog for any constructive insights. Solidarity!

Meanwhile at the OLP:

Toronto Star gushes over OLP "love in" Dinner last night but omits mentioning the 100 strong teacher protest outside. Much leadership hopeful grandstanding, except for Gerard Kennedy who wasn't there. Might seem minor, but does he have any current cabinet support? Let's face it, the upcoming leadership conference is anything but a grassroots vote. See:

Liberal Dinner a great success!

A Liberal Dinner protest photo album is available for viewing on Facebook at:

The OLP leadership contenders are off and ............ stumbling. Kennedy is directionally challenged [PS: me too! I can get lost going to the corner store ... ] Pupatello wants to prorogue some more. Wynne kicked teachers out of her campaign launch where she pledged to work with teachers, just not with them there I guess. All this and more.Quite a list of fumbles and bumbles that makes for an amusing read. Kind of scary though when you consider the job that's up for grabs! See:

Other Items of Interest

OECTA TSU members are advised that a memorial mass for our colleague Steve Hnatiuk, who died this year from cancer, will be held at the CEC on Monday November 26th at 7pm. A lot of the staff from JCM [James Cardinal McGuigan CSS] and his other TCDSB schools plan to come together to share comfort and pray for the repose of Steve's soul. Please join in.

A memorial mass for Steve will be held at the CEC Monday November 26th at 7pm. Steve was a young, promising and popular JCM teacher who suddenly died of cancer this year.

I wrote a memorial blog about Steve last January. See:

Also, for a slideshow on Steve's life see:

Prime downtown Toronto elementary school play yard properties are up for a cash grab. The profits would be a one time infusion towards paying off the TDSB debt. Whew! With real estate prices downtown so high these days one should make sure the board doesn't sell themselves short or have any insider deals going on! Good for McGuinty:. He insists the parents must be consulted. Where will the children play? Toronto has so far managed to keep a lot of inner city green areas and open spaces. Is this about to change in the hands of the property developers? They are not stupid if they see a huge opportunity like this! Short term gain for long term pain? See:

Santa conquers Martians. What about drunk devils though?

Drunk man with devil horns arrested at Windsor Santa Claus parade for telling kids Santa doesn't exist. What an A.H.!!! Check out his list of past offences! Doesn't seem too interested in seeking help to me. Oh well let's not violate his rights! Pah! Sometimes I think it's too bad they outlawed a good swift boot in the derriere. See:

A Forum Poll shows that if a federal election were called today, the Liberal Party lead by Justin Trudeau would beat the Harper Conservatives 39 to 35%, with the NDP trailing in third place at 23%. Of course it's still very early to safely call. See the breakdown in the numbers and read the tea leaves for yourself:

We love you Olivia! Come kick the Ford Bros right wing butts 4 us in 2014!

The first shot in the Toronto Mayoral battle of 2014? Councillor Doug Ford, Mayor Rob Ford's "smarter" brother, says Olivia Chow "is no Jack Layton." Olivia has not ruled out a run for the mayors job. Both Jack and her were pretty smart cookies and worked very closely together. She can be my mayor any day! See:

49 Years Later: Wednesday November 22, 2012!

McGuinty has announced the Minister of Education has approved 2 OSSTF tentative contracts for York and Upper Grand District. He refers to them as a beacon for others to follow. So now we've got a "road map" and a "beacon". There is reference to them working within the government's parameters. We will have to wait for more details before knowing what that means. OSSTF members must be breathing a sigh of relief . You can look it over to ratify or not. In OECTA that was done for us by our provincial executive. For now? Congratulations! The Canadian Press reports:

Both the school boards and OSSTF have been cautiously optimistic a breakthrough would be reached before December 31st. Let's see. Go to:

Now they are talking! Ottawa board resumes negotiations with OSSTF local. See:

Over 100 ETFO, OSSTF teachers protest outside Liberal Dinner tonight at the Westin Harbour Castle. Glen Murray came out to speak. McGuinty got standing ovation from 800 guests. See photo:

CUPE votes 88% for strike action. In our schools, they represent EA, ECE, CYW, info tech and other support staff. It should get real interesting if they take job actions. They haven't announced what they will do next yet. Wait and see:

PC conditions make wage freeze legislation deal between OLP and PC's impossible until after leadership race:

The Toronto Star reports on Hudak's plan to "adjust" public service sectors pensions to help tax payers. The bankers, big business and himself is more like it. See:

Some fancy PC footwork to get the "right" people nominated in "strategic" ridings, while tooting own horn on fair democratic process. Truth be told it's a pretty common practice. See:

11/22/63: JFK + Jackie ride off and into the history books. Commemorative memorabilia has been posted throughout my blogsite this week. The myth of Kennedy's 1960's Camelot in many ways continues to sustain the baby boom generation.

Letter to the Editor challenges Windsor Star's bias in reporting about teachers using loose facts. Important work! Needs to be done! Toronto Star was under fire too a few days ago .See:

Provincial public sector pension fund. CPP verses PRPP. Getting go check out these acronyms and get used to them. Big public sector fight ahead! Right up the National Post's right wing alley. See:

In Other News

Hill + Knowlton  Strategies provides an overview of the OLP leadership race with analysis and "brand" of each candidate. Excellent explanation of endorsements, next steps, including how to lobby each. None of that just happens out of the blue. That's what they do for you, so it's a sales pitch for their lobbying services, but a must read;

Strategy, lobbying and media advisory services are basically apolitical. Like it or not these are the  widely used political techniques at Queens park today for winning minds and influencing people. How much so? Consider lobbying, social media and info graphics: Who the top Queens Park Twitter influences? By politician? Journalist? Party? See:

Why is there such widespread public apathy in Ontario politics? Is it because there's a disconnect between Queens Park Question period and issues which actually interest voters? How so? Consider the following:

Are the internet and social media a platform for social and political change? Revolutions need to congeal before they succeed or are move in a desired direction. To paraphrase Pepys, the social media is the thing nowadays. In politics you need to make it happen. See:

The unions are learning that this is the way the game is played.. Here is an interesting analysis of the US unions key role in Obamas re-election:


Anonymous said...

Who are the members of the new COP task force to look at new proposals to address or fix the problems of province-wide collective bargaining in the future? They need to read a copy of the New OECTA MEMBERS' Bill of RIGHTS, circulating around the province like an old style chain letter. Controversial, but needed, proposals for steering this union straight.

Anonymous said...

RE: "Gratuity wind up payment" for teachers who do not 'qualify' for their gratuity in OSSTF York District (10 years service needed to qualify): ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION, OECTA PROVINCIAL?

Kulture Kult Ink said...

I can't believe this. I get inside tips that would make the eyeballs roll around in your head but I don't have a copy of the OECTA Members Bill of Rights chain letter. Could someone please forward me it at my gmail address on the top right of my blog or use ? Solidarity!

Anonymous said...

The issue, David, boils down to the simple fact that OSSTF members will be given the choice whether to accept or reject the deal. Had OECTA shown that simple respect for its own members, there would not be near the outcry that there currently is. And yes, a 'gratuity windup payment' is substantially different to those OECTA teachers who took an absolute shafting on that issue, yet were also required to give up 3 days pay to pay for teachers on grid. OECTA Provincial needs to be aware and cognizant of the fact that they, and the negotiating team, are made up predominantly of people who DO 'qualify' for a retirement gratuity, but took it upon themselves to make an agreement that deprives others of a gratuity. OSSTF at the very least has addressed this issue in some way with the 'windup payment' as you call it.

Kulture Kult Ink said...

Thanks for the feedback. I agree with your arguments about provincial and the wind up payment but wonder, do the agreements still mean contract stripping?

Anonymous said...

The reported details from the York OSSTF deal indicate that the retirement gratuity issue WAS in fact negotiable, which is absolutely contrary to what Kevin O'Dwyer has been saying to OECTA members for the last 4 months. To say I am livid is an understatement. Just what the #$@& is going on here? Also - would I rather have the choice of taking between 1 and 5 days off, rather than being forced to take 3? I think I'll take the latter option. The York OSSTF deal puts the OECTA PDT agreement to shame, yet here we have Mr. O'Dwyer crowing about his 'achievements' via email, all the while touting the 'me too' clause. It's absolutely shameless and sickening.

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Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

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