Opening Statement



Friday, 23 November 2012

The OECTA MOU Verses OSSTF's Contract?

[Saturday's updated teacher news links have been added to my November 20th blog. Scroll below + check Archive if need be]

PS A comparison chart of the OECTA MOU and OSSTF York contract was posted online since I wrote this with many other details as well. You can see it at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.310794895699849.71804.272730816172924&type=1

Here is another letter from OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer. It was publicly distributed yesterday. I am going to print this letter in it's entirety on today's blog. After hearing very little from our provincial office since July 5th, there is now a virtual flood of information. There have been countless critical blogs and member comments here about the OECTA MOU. I think it's only fair we now consider these arguments from Kevin's provincial perspective, as I said yesterday, so we can examine all points of view on the very controversial and troubling situation we find ourselves in. For that reason I am going to have posted three of Kevin's missives in the same number of days. Irregular, but necessary I think to maintain balance and integrity on this blogsite. Here is what I understand Kevin has said to put these in context without agreement, disagreement or prejudice-

To summarize, we have received the following:

November 20: Kevin's letter explains OECTA's role at the PDT table as a part of the collective bargaining process. A foundation was established by those present at the table, in the form of the OECTA MOU. OECTA sought to mitigate the harsh original government terms and also to accommodate our affiliates particular circumstances and needs, most notably in dealing with our often difficult and intransigent Catholic school boards. The "me too" clause is also explained as a typical part of the collective agreement process.

Yesterday's November Highlights Article: Kevin replies to the many outstanding concerns our members have expressed as explained in OECTA TSU member J. Cafferky's open letter to him: "None Dare Call It Betrayal."

November 22: Kevin provides an initial review of the OSSTF York contract details that have become available. He considers the differences and notes many concerns that could discourage OECTA from wanting to accept similiar changes to our MOU, by evoking the "me too" clause. Most notably, he focuses on the complex options and procedures for covering grid movement. Also the changes to the sick day plan in the OSSTF York contract. The carry over of unused extra sick days to be used in the following year is examined as is the new enhanced role of the public school boards' Disability Management Team. He notes information on the number of vested years needed to qualify for a gratuity has now been determined. The same with the payout formula for those under with 10 years or less experience. These final two points were not in the original OECTA MOU.

A Brief Commentary

OSSTF York members will be going over their contract agreement in great detail as they prepare to vote this Monday. The remaining five OSSTF units whose contracts were approved by the MOE Thursday will be doing likewise soon. One would hope they consider it very carefully.

 From Kevin's perspective many of the changes would be undesirable and not beneficial for our OECTA members. My attention is drawn to possible job eliminations, increased class sizes and in particular the enhanced role of the school boards' so called "Disability Management  Team.". I don't like those terms either. I hope our Catholic boards don't try to demand them too now that they are in the OSSTF contract.

Of course OSSTF's members get to vote themselves on whether to ratify their contracts or not, a common democratic practice that our own OECTA members did not have when our MOU was approved. I hope you make the right choice based upon your union members needs. I should think that right or wrong it will be easier to live with your choice since you were the ones who actually agreed to it based upon a majority membership vote.

Here is Kevin's letter:

November 22, 2012

Dear OECTA Member,

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) has reached a number of tentative agreements and continues to bargain with individual boards across the province. Much is being said in the media and online about these agreements and OECTA is analyzing them as they become available.

From the information we have been able to gather at this time, it is apparent that OSSTF’s settlements follow a pattern, that they are tweaking our Memorandum of Understanding, however, with some differences that we believe are not beneficial. The Association will not adopt any provisions that are not in the interests of our members. On the other hand, the government has provided additional funds to OSSTF and any gains they realize as a result may be incorporated in OECTA’s MoU, as provided for in our Section P, “Transferability of Other Agreements.”

I am providing you with an initial analysis of some of the provisions in the OSSTF agreements, however, more analysis of the agreements is underway.

Salary & Salary Grids

Like the OECTA MoU, OSSTF’s agreements are for a two-year term (2012-2014). Salaries will be frozen in each year.

OSSTF will also buy movement on the grid on the 97th day of each year of the agreement from four possible sources of cost saving measures:
•    one mandatory unpaid PD day by all members of the bargaining unit in year 2 of the agreement
•    voluntary unpaid leave days (teachers may apply for up to five in each year)
•    permanent staff reductions by elimination of positions and/or attrition
•    increased class sizes.

These measures do not rule out layoffs that may result from declining enrolment. As well, these cost saving measures will be used before imposing additional mandatory unpaid days.

The demographics of a board will affect the measures required. If the board has many teachers still on grid, it will be compelled to implement more or even all of these cost saving measures to reach the savings target. More mandatory unpaid days by all teachers in some boards, including for teachers who have volunteered to take unpaid days, remains a possibility. This also means teachers in some boards may bear a heavier cost for increment restoration rather than seeing the equalizing effect from spreading the cost across the whole province.

A reconciliation committee consisting of equal representation from the union and the board will track savings and expenditures. If savings are not on target to meet the overall goals by a specified date, the committee will determine which measures, including additional mandatory unpaid days, will be required to create additional savings in the 2013/2014 school year to meet the target.

If the board overshoots its savings target, it will be compelled to return to the union funds based on those teachers who are not yet at maximum on the grid. The union will in turn distribute these funds derived from the efforts of all teachers, but only to members still on grid. Funds are to be used for technology or professional learning.

Short Term Leave and Disability Plan

OSSTF has given up an important right by placing the adjudication process for their short-term disability plan under a board’s Disability Management Team. It is this team that will determine eligibility for the STLDP subject to the terms and conditions of a board’s Disability Management Program. This type of program includes Employee Attendance Support policies. While this does include a third party adjudication process, boards will be able to secure detailed medical information about employees covered by these agreements.

In contrast, OECTA’s MoU provides for a third party adjudication process with the Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP). Catholic boards will not have access to teachers’ medical information and any Attendance Management policies will not come into play.

The government is funding a top up provision for the STLDP. For the current year (2012-2013) a sick leave bank of two days will be provided to every teacher. This can be used to top up beyond the 10 days at 100 per cent, for either a 90 per cent or 66.67 per cent absence.

In subsequent years, the top up would consist of any of the 10 sick days at 100 per cent that were not used in the previous year.

In addition to OECTA’s top up provisions for medical purposes, the OSSTF provisions would allow for access to the 90 per cent top up for all absences beyond the 10 days at 100 per cent with medical support.

Retirement Gratuity

OSSTF’s provisions are the same as OECTA’s, along with two improvements funded by the government. The vesting of sick days will take place at 10 years of service, which will benefit OECTA members in the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington, Hamilton-Wentworth and Huron-Perth Catholic district school boards. When teachers retire on pension, they will be entitled to a gratuity based on their accumulated vested sick days and salary as of August 31, 2012.

In addition, for employees with less than 10 years of vested service, the OSSTF provisions call for immediate payout of their accumulated days at $.10 on the dollar based on their salary on August 31, 2012, subject to a formula based on years of service and sick days.

As mentioned, this is a preliminary analysis covering the main components of what we know of the OSSTF agreements to date. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Sincerely,

Kevin O’Dwyer
President

Related Reading?

My Oct 3 blog on "A Meeting With OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer": http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/10/a-meeting-with-oectas-president-odwyer.html


My Oct 1st blog on "OECTA: Neo Real?" is at: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/10/oecta-neo-real.html

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am an OECTA member.The MOU dissolved my 175 accumulated sick days. Where's my lump sum payment of $0.10 on the dollar??

Anonymous said...

Still nothing from O'Dywer on Bill 115. Nothing on the Liberal government who he continues to fail to name simply referring to them as "the government" while specifically naming the NDP at every turn. OECTA should nominate him for the "holy ghost" award because he is so transparent.

Anonymous said...

Your lump sum is coming likely because even though your union didn't stand in solidarity and sold out makeing it impossible for ETFO and OSSTF, you did include a me too clause. So the rest of us are fighting, getting crucified in the media to gain whatever improvements we can and you will collect them.

David Chiarelli said...

I myself, like many if not most of my OECTA readers are opposed to the MOU deal and how it was ratified. I am not summarizing and presenting Kevin's positioning in a straight forward manner because I approve of it or agree. On my blog we consider all points of view. If anyone is searching for the dissenting viewpoints please go through the blog archive at the bottom of this column. You will find a plethora of them. Overall I hope the whole PDT debacle is getting a very thorough treatment here. At least that is the aim with my blog coverage. Please keep following and share my link. I'm honoured so many new readers have. I'll keep the coverage coming!

Anonymous said...

"He notes information on the number of vested years needed to qualify for a gratuity has now been determined. The same with the payout formula for those under with 10 years or less experience. These final two points were not clarified in the original OECTA MOU."

David, it's not so much that these two points weren't 'clarified' in our MoU - they didn't EXIST in our MoU. There currently is no payout in the OECTA MoU whatsoever for teachers who don't 'qualify' for their gratuity, and the gratuity qualification threshold (number of years) is all over the map in various OECTA units that have a gratuity in their contract. For the past 4 months Mr. O'Dwyer has been consistently saying that the gratuity issue was a non-starter and that the government would not agree to negotiate on it. Well, by waiting, OSSTF DID eventually get them to negotiate on that issue. It seems interesting things happen when you actually wait and force the government's hand rather than rolling over, and putting yourself in the position of having to hope for the scraps to fall off the table from the other unions' gains. As an OECTA member, that is not something I am proud of, and it has only increased the anger of various factions of the public system towards the Catholic system. I saw a tweet from an OSSTF teacher who said re. O'Dwyer's comment that the Catholic school boards have often historically been difficult to negotiate with - his response was that there is an easy solution to that problem - get rid of them. I really think with the strategy used this contract, OECTA has shot itself in the foot on two fronts - we have angered the public school teachers, and we have sold out our political capital to the Liberal Party, which is dead in the water.

Anonymous said...

We need to make the new OECTA MEMBERS' BILL OF RIGHTS part of OECTA's Constitution and operating procedures or the OECTA Handbook.

David Chiarelli said...

I still have not received a copy of the OECTA Bill of Rights. It strikes me as odd because this site has been getting a thousand reader visits a day. That's a lot of exposure for something that sounds this important.

Anonymous said...

check your union mailbox...not email.

Anonymous said...

I was just reading the PDT DEAL Discussion group on FACEBOOK hosted by Kent MacNeill and others...James Ryan belongs too..interesting group but pretty much status quo, keep defending the same system that caused the whole MOU problem...no power checks on a OECTA Provincial President...and also, just for laughs...someone named Andrew on there blames other affiliates, the media, anybody but OECTA Provincial...and says you are biased! Yeah Right!

Anonymous said...

Did you get your OECTA members Bill of Rights yet?

David Chiarelli said...

Nope. I picked up my mail and asked but no. Very strange. I would suggest it might not be best to send me info at the TSU office. Contact me by email, or if you a have a pdf word file or scan
and send. See my email address at top right of my blog page. I would like to see asap.

Anonymous said...

These are ridiculous comments. I've been to 5 AGMs and they were very democratic, and I'm proud to say so.

I don't like the MOU but I do like the way it was handled by leadership. You have to trust in your leadership during times like this. If you don't approve of what Kevin did then don't vote for him at the next AGM - that is democracy.

What is undemocratic is how Kevin is being villified on this forum. We have the right to disagree with him but we should not be admonishing him for what his professional judgement and mandate was. This blog seems like its the FOX News wing of OECTA and I'm embarrassed as an OECTA teacher and union member of what I'm reading.

Anonymous said...

I believe he should be villified for screwing the membership. The deviant. Are you his mother? Do you know the ramifications of what he has done?

Anonymous said...

If you believe that villifying another union member is ok I suggest you leave the union. That is not what we are about. The ramifications of his actions are good considering the political situation in Ontario. It was a rational decision to accept the MOU and I'm glad Kevin et al did so. Is it a great contract? No, of course not. Is it the best we could do at this point? Yes, absolutley. That is called good leadership. These attacks ads on Kevin are exactly what the government wants; the union infighting. I agree with recent post from someone that said they are embarrassed by what the are reading on this blog. I am too. I've been to only 3 AGMs and felt it was also very democratic. What I read on here is just non-sensical reactionary stuff and I hope this year's delegates see through all of this mud-slinging.
In solidarity!

David Chiarelli said...

Love me or hate me, my readership is over 124,000. Why? Far as I can tell this blog is the largest clearing house for the free flow of info on all points of view, from all our affiliates + members. Now yours is posted here too. Am pleased to do so, thanks + solidarity!

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