Opening Statement



Sunday, 25 November 2012

OSSTF Contract: What Teachers Lost?



Word from the cyber street is that the situation is tense in the OSSTF camp as members consider the first of their teacher affiliate contracts to be ratified or rejected by OSSTF York. The local members have a big decision to make now within the unit. Other OSSTF members as well as the different teacher affiliates and school boards from across the province are watching carefully with baited breath to see the outcome of the vote.

As you will recall OSSTF Provincial has refused to agree and sign onto the July 5th OECTA MOU agreement. The OSSTF membership have been involved in a long, difficult and often quite heroic job action campaign to resist both the MOU and Bill 115 though out this fall. Now a decision with deep ramifications is about to be made by the first OSSTF unit to reach a MOE approved locally collective agreement with their board.

Tensions are heightened since five more local OSSTF tentative agreements approved by the MOE will  soon need to be ratified as well. The MOE has said that all the provinces school board and teacher contacts need to be in place by its midnight December 31st deadline. Few are certain if an important breakthrough, or even a reversal in the OSSTF position is about to be reached. Suggestions are that it will
certainly not be an easy vote decision to make

A comparison chart between the OECTA MOU and the OSSTF York contract has been circulating throughout the weekend on the busy internet lines. Twitter has been a tweet with what critics of the OSSTF York agreement are referring to as MOU Lite. You can find the chart posted here to consider for yourself if the criticism bears weight:   https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.310794895699849.71804.272730816172924&type=1

Late last week OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer  presented reasons for why OECTA wouldn`t want to agree with any changes to the OECTA MOU by evoking the "Me too" clause. Reasons include the possibility of increased class sizes, layoffs, and an enhanced school board role in new 120 sick day procedures. His arguments are presented here; http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/11/the-oecta-mou-verses-osstfs-contract.html

 Regular readers will know that my blog respectfully aims to provide first hand resources from all points of view for us to examine as teacher professionals, as we each consider important issues effecting our paychecks, benefits, jobs and school work environments, regardless of our different teacher affiliates. I have taken criticism from within our own OECTA ranks for the many divergent documents and views I have shared with you since OECTA Provincial executive ratified our MOU on July 5th. Whether we agree or disagree with what is said, I still believe it is important for all of us as teachers to be able to examine a wide variety of points of view as we consider thoroughly and intelligently the very important issues effecting us.

In that spirit I am now posting the latest source document that has become available. It has been written and shared online by members from within OSSTF York as they consider tomorrows vote. I do not have an opposing view here to share with you or I would include it as well as I have with other controversial issues in the past. Here are the concerns of some members:

What teachers lost

Generally Speaking
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->lost the ability to win a strong court case that tramples the democratic rights of teachers, public sector workers, and potentially all Ontarians
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->lost the ability to preserve the current agreement that we have fought for decades to earn
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->lost our position of strength which managed to force the Premier to step-down, forced the government to prorogue, which strains the timeline for the government to solve this issue before naming a new Liberal leader, and which weakens the strength of the Liberal party in general before the next election
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->lost trust in our union leaders who lied to us for months by telling us that “This deal wasn’t good enough for our members,” who told us to “Stand up, stand strong, stand united,” and that “We are going to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.”
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->lost a sense of trust and respect amongst colleagues as we became torn on how to proceed with very ambiguous and often confounding directives from our union

More Specifically
Gratuity
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->frozen for some and gone for others.  Monetary losses of up to $48,000 and potentially more as salaries should increase by the time most of us retire

Sick Days
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->lost 10/year
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->lost the ability to bank and carry them over year to year
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->lost privacy in taking sick days by being forced to answer questions in an EAP meeting
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->this is a concession that hasn’t happened for nearly 60 years.  This eliminates the security that teachers had in case of longer term sickness or injury.  Most of us are healthy now but a day may come when we’ll need the blanket that’s being stripped away

Staffing
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->adjustment of class sizes and ratios (which will cost teachers their jobs)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->reduction of centrally assigned and/or non-credit staff to 6 (which will cost EAs, CYWs their jobs)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->as class sizes increase, the total number of sections decrease, therefore resulting in fewer teachers

Benefits
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->A move toward a Provincial Benefits Plan will cost York Region teachers as it will be less than what we currently have (health, dental, extended)

Salary Grids
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->movement up the grid is delayed by a half year twice, making it the equivalent of a 12 year grid
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->the government has the right to restructure the grid and how people move up it making it harder to do and paying out less each year
  
Bargaining Rights
<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->teachers are forgoing their rights to bargain locally from now on, starting Jan 1, 2014. YRDSB no longer cream of the crop.

Things to consider...

How worrisome it is to know that the government has been able to completely strip us so quickly?

Why do we think we’re not worth what we had?

How are we ever going to get back what we’re giving up?

What are they going to come after next?

How does all of this put student’s first? 

Conclusion...

We have nothing to lose if we fight bill 115.... voting YES is a loss starting this year.

If we don’t fight to repeal Bill 115 now, it’s not going away... It stays in place for the next “negotiated agreement” 2 years from now, and so on.  It’s a bill and it doesn’t have a firm expiry date.

90% of us voted to strike a while back...  90% of us need to vote NO to ratification!!!

Pass this message along to everyone you know in D16 before Tuesday!!!


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

In fairness, if OSSTF members vote no to the agreement they may end up striking (without pay) and then being forced back to work via bill 115. In effect they would end up with the same deal or worse forced on them by the MOE. It is a smarter move to ratify the deal and join the OECTA sell outs. However, in good conscience I am voting no.

Anonymous said...

I'm voting no, too. Thank you for this excellent synopsis of how OSSTF capitulated.

Is there any will out there for consolidated school boards to save the education system money? Or is that the real reason OECTA fell first?

Anonymous said...

I'm an ETFO member and I think we should go out. It's not about a smarter move, it is about conscience. I'd rather be forced than to settle for something so untenable. We are standing up to the bully. I'm proud to be part of ETFO. You should be taking your unions to task. Looks like we might have to do ll the hard work for all th workers of Ontario and its not about the sick dys or money or popularity. Sometimes in all our lives its about standing up. I'm prepared o make the sacrifice. I have a mortgage and bills and I'm te sole provider. In the end I have to live with myself. We meet tomorrow and I know what I will ask for.

David Chiarelli said...

As an OECTA member who opposed the MOU I think I know just how you feel. My conscience is my guide too. I only wish we could've met to discuss, ask questions and ratify the vote or not like OSSTF and you can. Bravo for you principled stand.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, wish us luck! Making history is tough work.

David Chiarelli said...

It is tough but it has to be done. I would rather go down fighting any day and take an honour guard with me rather than grovel on my knees. Muchluck!

Anonymous said...

IMPEACH O'DWYER!

Anonymous said...

Interesting times in this union. There's one side mad at not being allowed to vote on the MOU.Makes sense. Then there is the other side who didn't allow them to vote and are even madder that the first side realizes it. Peace might not happen.

Anonymous said...

Dear OECTA members... here is what was mailed to me. A copy of the new OECTA MEMBERS' 6 Step Bill of Rights. Or the 6 Steps to Put OECTA MEMBERS First Act.

1. All OECTA members get to vote on any future tentative agreements before signing by OECTA Provincial President/Executive.
2. All OECTA members get to vote on all people running for OECTA Provincial President/Executive Office.
3. Any OECTA Provincial President not following the above rules be required to immediately resign from office.
4. Ban all OECTA political party contributions and variable fees. Refund money saved back to members.
5.Creation of an OECTA Provincial Executive Sunshine List to allow transparent and accountable disclosure of all salary and benefits compensation of every OECTA Provincial Executive member.
.Next OECTA Provincial President to issue a letter of apology for actions of OECTA'S Provincial Executive members on the signing of the OECTA MOU/PDT agreement to OECTA members and OSSTF, ETFO, and CUPE members.

This Bill of Rights needs to be adopted into the OECTA Bylaws/Operating Procedures to fix our divided union.

Anonymous said...

The OSSTF contract was explained to ETFO members today. what?? What are the leaders of OSSTF doing? The clear lack of leadership in OSSTF and OECTA is alarming. Did OSSTF not feel the love in the strike votes? Why are you ignoring your members ? It's even worse for OECTA because they didnt get to vote. It was a huge issue and they should have been given a choice. wake up everyone this is about Workers rights and the decimation of them. Don't buy it OSSTF and ask for a new leader. ETFOs holding firm. There are worse things than going down in a fight, hypocrisy is one. What is CUPE doing? Join us people, we need to be united against this Antidemocratic legislation.

Anonymous said...

Puts the 'fun' in dysfunctional, doesn't it.

David Chiarelli said...

Many thanks! This is too important to just leave in comments. I have posted it immediately as a blog. Solidarity!

Anonymous said...

OSSTF has suspended negotiations. York and Niagara voted no! Too bad about Upper Grand. The good fight continues!

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness...and thank YOU (all) for paying attention!!! This is our only chance to act before being painted as law breakers and greedy deviants. We have our reputations as careful, thoughtful educators (caring parents ring a bell?)...let's spend some of that capital on reminding the very citizenry we aim to develop that we ALL have to play fair--and in fact, we will insist on it

Anonymous said...

From a sad and discouraged OSSTF Dist 18 Upper Grand member: There are many here who still support the rest of you in holding the line. Many felt the deal was rammed down our throats and voted against it. We have yet to see the ratification numbers but I feel our union was too eager to settle.

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