Opening Statement

Sunday 30 December 2012

Education Ontario 2012: Final Daze!

["None Dare Call It Betrayal 2" Posted below]

December 30th - 31 2012

If I get a chance I'm going to do a "best of" blog list of my top 10 most read of the year with synopsis and links. I did that last year too. In the meantime teacher news has been very slow to non existent over Christmas, the calm before the storm until after midnight December 31 when Bill 115 is to come into effect. Here's just a few tidbits in the meantime, for anyone who's a news junkie like me. 

Who got coal in his stocking?!? McGuinty: Naughty not nice!

Regretfully News Years Eve doesn't leave us with much hope for the teacher crisis except that it will spiral after the MOE deadline of 11:59 tonight. Nothing has changed. We will probably have to wait until MOE Broten's news conference on Thursday to learn much more. Relax and enjoy yourself til then. Right now we are looking at a very busy protest year ahead!

The latest updated news report on Broten plans as of Dec.31. See: What next?!?

Ditto: Global Toronto News reports: Nada New

Earlier: MOE Broten announces tentative deal reached with 55,000 CUPE education workers. She reminds other unions to get busy before midnight Monday. Minister extends period for CUPE members to ratify contract by 2 weeks. Leadership will meet to ratify first on Jan. 5th, with membership vote to follow during the extended time period. Broten says she will discuss what she is going to do about the other unions on Jan. 3rd. More details will be announced then. CUPE details to follow leadership vote. Whoa!

For the MOE statement on the agreement see: MOE News Release

For the CUPE announcement see: CUPE News Release

First news reports: In the news

The countdown to MOE Broten's Thurs. Jan 3 news conference begins. What will she do about ETFO + OSSTF? The story as of late: MOE News Conference On Jan 3

Here's another account of the impending showdown. OSSTF's President Coran comments on a discussion with Broten before Christmas: Showdown time

Commentary: This certainly doesn't help OSSTF or ETFO as far as I can see. I'm disappointed OECTA rushed to sign our MOU July 5th without a membership vote. Then forced snap membership votes on the local contracts with little time to properly review, consider or discuss the details so they would be signed sealed and delivered to the Minister in time for December 31st. The old "gun to the head" argument wears thin. The short shrift given to a reasonable democratic process and proper respect for the OECTA membership participation in the decision making process is extremely disturbing. What was the hurry? Run rabbit run??? See my blogon OECTA TSU's rushed last minute ratification vote!

CUPE deal: Leaders + members given 2 week extension to ratify! Why the OECTA rush?!?

Premier Dalton McGuinty: Rex Murphy names him worst politician of the year: National Post

Steve Paikin considers McGuinty resignation the Ontario politics news story of the year. Notes the upsets this year but also acknowledges his many accomplishments up until now: Ottawa Citizen

Sun News spotlights PC Education Critic Lisa McLeod as she relishes the idea that the Liberals education problems with teachers will continue well into the New Year because they are not tough enough: Sun News

Top education news story goes to falling out between Liberals and teachers. Hard to think that a year ago from today it was a totally different reality.Here's an overview: Durham 

In Circulation: A transcript of OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer at the Ontario Standing Committee on Social policy Sept. 6 speaking on the MOU, Catholic school boards and an interesting quote about fattening calfs. Check this out:  QP Transcript

Here is a video and text of ETFO President Hammond's Dec 21st peace offering, turned down by the MOE only hours later. One hour of negotiations to date didn't fly with her. However Kennedy and Hoskins had been making similar overtures. IMHO that would be the only real prospect for any labour peace this winter. Guess we will just have to wait to see what happens in the new year. See: ETFO Offer

Raise the Hammer begins a new "Rate My Government" series. Dunno anything about this site + how it will go, but it is a neat idea. See: Ratings?

While we are on the topic check out A@WOL radio's "Smash the State" podcast report. Now 4 something completely different than the Corporate daily news. If you like it there is also a link here 4 more: Smash the State Podcast

OLP Education Platforms? Kennedy + Hoskins have extended olive branch to teachers. Hoskins voted 4 Bill 115. Kennedy wasn't there. Others: from hostile to silent + non specific/ non committal.

Compare the OLP leadership hopefuls education platforms. Slim teacher pickings except perhaps for Kennedy + Hoskins: Peace plans + truce. Wynne plays coy. Poopy hasn't figured it out yet. Murray + Sousa MIA [missing in action.] Takhar plans big education spending cuts to reduce deficit quicker. See for yourself: OLP Education platforms

Kathleen Wynne lays out her progressive education plan for Ontario's schools but is still non specific/ nothing concrete on how she would fix the present mess. Lots of teachers liked Wynne and for good reason, myself included. Problem now is she voted 4 Bill 115. An irreconcilable difference, especially when she is playing it so safe to both sides of the party centre? Dunno Kathleen, I doubt you can have it both ways with teacher tensions so red hot. IMHO outside of the OECTA leadership most teachers will be screaming for Liberal blood come next election unless a real game changer happens real soon. Even then? See: Wynne 2 Win?

Education in Ontario now faces years of uncertainty. See video: The years ahead?

Other news:

New Years Eve in Vegas: sounds like they are trying to steal the show. Wonder if Mayor Rob Ford will be onstage at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto? Ho boy! Janet and I went to a New Years Eve party last night with all our friends who are just going to stay home New Years Eve. Come midnight we raised a toast. Was pretty funny and we had a great time. Got home real real late. Will space out at home 4 New Years Eve. Meanwhile in Vegas?

Time lapse photography: a day on the life of Toronto: the city Ontario [OK. what the heck -Canada!] loves to hate. Hey it's my hometown! No making fun of us! :-) See: City Rising

Don't try to hide Sir Paulie! We know it was you!

I don't know about you but I haven't had a good night sleep since the Beatles broke up! Why? Was it Yoko's fault like many thought? Now Yoko tells all: It was Paul McCartney. He wanted to turn the band into Beatles Lite with all his silly love songs!  OMG! See: Beatle Break up         

Here's the full list of the 2012 Order of Canada Inductees: Order of Canada

Thank God somebody has finally done a sociological study of dancing Gangnam style as a pop cultural phenomenon in the global village: Sociological Study on Dancing Gangnam Style

Asian's hot, Caucasian's not! Start practicing now so you can be the life of the party dancing stark raving nekid Gangnam style tonight on the bar with a lampshade over your head. Practice steps below:

Afterwards retire and head off into the sunset in British Columbia where nobody will recognize you, with or without the lampshade! ;-) It also has the longest life expectancy in Canada by about 3 months [but what a 3 three months!]. Just pray our pension plan doesn't get mangled on the chopping bloc this year.  BC Sunset
comes next in 2013. See: BC Sunset

Wednesday 26 December 2012

OECTA: None Dare Call It Betrayal 2

Okay! Christmas is over. That was nice. Now there's no more need to don your gay apparel and sing about being jolly, or Jingle Bells. Whatever. Its back to our business at hand. We continue with another in a series of letters ...

We continue with the public letter debate between OECTA TSU member John Cafferky and OECTA Provincial President Kevin O'Dwyer. The latest missive was first published in the December issue of TSU Highlights. It deals with member concerns over OECTA Provincial Executives ratification of the MOU, the Metro 7's OLRB complaint,  OECTA's legal response, and also some basic union principles.

Here are a number of previous posts which should help put the issues being debated in an easier to understand context.

You will find Mr. Cafferky's original letter to Mr. O'Dwyer at: None Dare Call It Betrayal

You will find Mr. O'Dwyers reply here:  OECTA MOU: Mr. O'Dwyers Reply

Mr. Cafferky's follow up letter is now posted below. A reply to a reply if you will, as Mr. Cafferky expresses his concerns over Mr. O'Dwyer's answers in his reply.

The issues regarding the OLRB complaints and OECTA's legal response are examined in depth on this previous blog: Metro 7 OLRB complaint + OECTA's response

Please know this isn't an official OECTA site if you are confused [?!]

Take it away John: 
I thank president O’Dwyer for his reply in the November Highlights. For some elusive reason, either I have failed to communicate or he has failed to understand the matter in dispute. I will try once more: The MOU suppresses the right of OECTA members to ratify their contracts.
To date, every communication from Mr. O’Dwyer has ignored this grievance—the grievance. Section 79 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) grants all members of the bargaining unit the right to ratify their collective agreement. Mr. O’Dwyer’s MOU, Section N (page 15) prescribes that on January 1st, 2013 every member of OECTA will have a collective agreement that incorporates the terms of the MOU, irrespective of any wish of the membership to the contrary; irrespective of any desire of the members to vote against the contract; irrespective of the democratic aspirations of all OECTA members to have a say in their own destiny. On 5 July 2012 Mr. O’Dwyer and his executive violated section 79 of the LRA and in the process trampled a fundamental right of all unionised workers in this province—the right to ratify their contract. Can I make the complaint any clearer?
Mr. O’Dwyer accuses me of disingenuousness so let me invite him to be ingenuous: He has mounted a vigorous defence of his MOU, claiming: “The overall response received from the various members across the province has been a genuinely positive and supportive one.” If he speaks sincerely, he should have nothing to fear in permitting us to vote. Mr. O’Dwyer is a veteran social justice activist and he knows the fundamental difference between rights and privileges—in hard times, privileges disappear but rights persist. We live in an age in which the powerful intend to curtail our civil liberties: How tragic that our union should lead by suppressing our right to vote.

Mr Cafferky [far left] assists with our much vilified + denounced attempts to present an alternative "Vote no" position on OECA TSU contract ratification night using reasonable + respectful debate, discussions + flyers/ signs. An ETFO member also came to try explain how the contract signings effect the morale + cause of the other teacher affiliate protests raging across the province. Who really are the bad guys here + why are there attempts to silence any dissent? Please also see My blog to be censored?   
OECTA will probably deny their members a vote. This past November, seven TSU members associated with four OECTA units challenged the MOU at the Labour Relations Board (LRB)—the first challenge of its kind in OECTA’s history. The TSU members asked the board to order a ratification vote. Marshal Jarvis, general secretary of OECTA, Paul Cavalluzzo, renowned constitutional lawyer, and Bernard Hanson, the much revered labour lawyer in OECTA circles, represented OECTA. Bernie Hanson argued for dismissal of our complaint without even a passing reference to ratification of the contracts generated by the MOU. Instead, he hid behind Bill 115, arguing that the legislation protected all contracts reached under the terms of the MOU. He claimed that the legislation prohibited the LRB from intervening. Cavaluzzo argued that OECTA Provincial had exercised powers enshrined in Mike Harris’ Bill 160—the same Bill that Cavluzzo and Jarvis some years past had opposed so valiantly.  Arguing against our right to vote, Cavaluzzo claimed that OECTA had a Charter right to free association and as a self-governing local democracy it should be free of LRB intervention. Hanson and Cavalluzo displayed masterful lawyering but their arguments undermined the local democracy they sought to protect—one does not preserve democracy by suppressing a vote.
Mr. O’Dwyer has persistently justified the MOU but interestingly, OECTA’s lawyers refused to defend the MOU at the hearing, hiding instead behind Bill 115. OECTA delivers one message to its members and a very different message to the LRB, suggesting a deliberate lack of candor. TSU’s president has suggested that on both sides of the MOU a consensus had developed “that it would have been better to let members vote.” Indeed, OECTA’s lawyers could have allowed the LRB to order a ratification vote, a strategy that would have provided an elegant remedy. That OECTA fought off a vote with all the expertise their lawyers could muster indicates that this consensus has not penetrated OECTA’s higher ranks. OECTA’s disproportionate determination to prevent the LRB ordering a vote  leads one to suspect that they are hiding something.
On or before July 5th, OECTA’s lawyers vetted the MOU but OECTA has not divulged this legal opinion to the Council of Presidents (or to anybody else). Presumably, the lawyers advised that the MOU violated section 79 of the LRA. However, the government pressed for an immediate and binding agreement so OECTA agreed to coerce its members. Whether we can ever prove any malfeasance, the reality is that come 1 January 2013 OECTA will impose a collective agreement on every member—without a vote.

Today, our union chooses to coerce us; tomorrow our employers will follow suit because the union has unwisely set the precedent. In the game of power, the weaker party must remain true to its principles. Individual members must hold the union to its principles while the union must hold employers and government to the highest social standard. Over the next decade unions will engage in endless struggles to preserve workers rights, struggles against stronger and better financed opponents. We are the union and we cannot afford to abrogate our rights—the gains of a single deal can never justify that sacrifice. For teachers, the first round of the struggle began with Bill 115, a flimsily disguised attack on collective bargaining rights. Regrettably, OECTA  cannot participate in the struggle, having sold our collective soul by suppressing our collective vote on the MOU. Every member of OECTA will live to regret the abdication of principle enshrined n the MOU.

You may comment using the Comment button below: 

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everybody out there in teacher land, in the airplanes in the sky and the ships at sea. In distant lands for the holidays or at here home in Ontario beside the Christmas tree. To all my readers from around the world. Have a relaxing and happy holiday!

God bless + in solidarity, whatever you might believe in your heart. Let's just all look out for each other next year.

I am in and out of my blogsite for Christmas/ Boxing day. I like to check for comments + write back to any readers who take the time to leave a message. They have been real pick me uppers. Thank you. It is very much appreciated after last week. I will be back and posting regularly soon enough. In the meantime please explore the site. I put up lots of photos and decorations. Tis the season!  There's the Zombie Christmas pictures below. A fair bit of art and baby boomer icon/ iconoclasts. Then there is just some throw away feel good stuff. If you haven't scrolled all the way to the bottom of my blogsite recently/ yet, please go explore. I hope you enjoy! Here's to you + yours -good Christmas cheer!    

December 26                      

Christmas dinner was at my sister in laws north of the city in Uxbridge, a little old Quaker settlement that's now mostly a bedroom community for commuters who travel to work down town Toronto each day by Go Train. Her home is at the edge of town. The streetlights end and to go past you drive off into sheer darkness, the roadway a little tunnel through a thick forest of trees. There is an old farmhouse, a creek with fish and farmers fields surrounding the little suburb where she lives.

They had a white Christmas. Toronto had a green one. Either way it was quite cold. There is supposed  to be a blizzard blowing our way this evening.

It was a festive occasion with lot of good cheer. Afterward dinner my brother in law and I went downstairs to see his new 3D t.v. I was quite content to sit there with a happy buzz on until we left later on in the evening, bringing home lots of leftovers. We won't have to cook for a few days. We drove home west along Highway 7 north of the city. I could see the glow of the city lights far south along the vast dark expanse of Lake Ontario, somewhere just over the horizon. There but not there. I always enjoy driving the route for that very reason.

This morning we were awoken early by a call from the seniors residence where Janet's farther lives. He had been taken by ambulance to Humber Hospital because he had a slow heart beat. He is 92 years old and this is the first time he has every been in a hospital. Imagine that! Outside of being rather confused thinking he worked at the hospital, he seemed stable. He's still quite spry. He kept getting out of bed to go to the washroom because he didn't want to pee in a bottle. Quite understandable. Only when he did he pulled out all his monitors, and wires and so on and so forth. I don't think he was too enamoured by the hospital experience. Finally about 6 hours later he got a room. The family is taking shifts staying by his bedside until we know what's happening.

I was with him for while but only so many people are allowed in at a time. I went back to the waiting room and finished reading my cousin Steven Chiarelli's novel, The "Muckyruck Man". Very well written. Good story. Good ending. I've said it all before. He puts me to shame. I think I want to be a writer when I grow up! Finally when Janet's father seemed okay and there was nothing more we could do we came back home for lunch and a nap. The hospital isn't far away if we get a call.

We missed the boxing day sales but I could really care less. It's more like boxing month nowadays. There is very little I need, and besides I don't like crowds. I had thought to go take photos of the mayhem downtown for my blog slide show, while Janet shopped, but she is pretty preoccupied now.

Called my mom up at the nursing home in Sudbury. For the first time she forget my name and thought I was my father. Yikes. Her memory is deteriorating more but she seems to be less nervous and worried. She forgets whatever ails her a few minutes afterwards. Her health is otherwise quite fine and she is very involved in all the activities they have for the seniors, when she isn't sleeping, watching t.v. in bed or going to the dinner hall to eat.

My father on the other hand had a very sharp mind but died of a massive heart attack at home in the middle of the night while we were all over visiting. I guess you can't have it both ways.  He exercised everyday and had few bad habits.In the end it didn't matter. We always thought my mother would go first but she ticks on
in good health. She just isn't quite all there. Guess you never know with life and death. Often it's purely a crap shoot. I think so.        

Christmas night festivities in Uxbridge Ontario            

In Other News                            

I don't know about you but I haven't had a good night sleep since the Beatles broke up! Now Yoko tells all! It was Pauls fault, Mr. Beatles lite. See: Beatle Break up                            

Saturday 22 December 2012

OECTA: My Blog To Be Censored?

AKA: Weekend Before Christmas

It's the weekend before Christmas and school is out. Janet and I stayed indoors today. She headed off shopping or something for a while today, gave up due to her cold and the frigid cold windy weather. Don't blame her. Mostly I sleep, sit in the music room writing, surfing the net, or watch t.v with her on the couch in the living room. Usually do for the first few days of the holidays, unless we are going away. I'll stay in my pyjamas, wear this nice deep blue Japanese kimono I have for around home. I will put off going out for as long as I can. Same with doing anything except what I like which right now is just being here in doors and spacing out. It sure beats being busy busy busy all the time!

 Vote no contract! John, Ian, myself and Frank. Chris took the photo. We spoke out and now this blog is being monitored. Watch for upcoming censorship attempts! No OECTA free speech?

Wrote a long letter to my executive today. Some are royally p.o'ed because of my challenge to the contract. One really took it hard, accusing me of a lack of solidarity and responsibility to the membership and so on. I asked for a guest blog about it, in specific about the concerns in my writing, sharing and discussing my opinions and reports on this site. I will respectfully post it here. I am perfectly serious, not making jokes. If you read me regularly you will know I always encourage different points of view!

Also I have OECTA Provincial snooping round. They called up a reporter who interviewed me on dissent among the Catholic teachers. The official story remains that its not happening. Everything is hunky dory. Although the real story is gaining traction outside of our own teacher ranks, KZ is one of the few reporters who has a good sense of what's been going on among all the confusion. She included it in a teacher story. I thank her for that. Here's what she wrote back a day or so ago:
Received a call this morning from OECTA head office, querying your qualifications as spokesperson for your union. I noted that I'd called you a union rep, not spokesperson, and you were voicing your own opinion.

OECTA's become notorious for trying to put down any dissent since July 5th. The stories Bad Boy Brock could tell you! Also the 4 units who along with the Metro 7 filed the OLRB complaint against OECTA Provincial. Their response? They used Bill 115 against our own teachers to have their case thrown out of court. Then there was the supposed task force investigating MOU concerns to make recommendations for the Spring AGM. Few of my readers had time to respond. The rest wondered how credible it could be with Kevin sitting on the team. I don't now. It's all a big shame.

The silence from the main office remains deafening except for the occasional glib official statement that I've posted here. There's info that's apparently been released but nobody could seem to find. I've posted quit a bit of that too. My best guess is that's ticking them off, as well as my comments to KZ, which by the way came mostly from my blogs. It's quite ridiculous. I know of more than a few reporters who have been regularly following me for quite awhile now. I'd guess OECTA thinks it's better to keep everyone quiet and in the dark until the storm blows over or we hopefully just run out of steam and lose interest. It also helps to sometimes make a few examples of members or units who challenge the status quo. Possibly that explains our member apathy? Sort of reminds me of the Kremlin and the KGB. Or maybe of being in occupied Europe during WW2. I wrote about that too in my Vichy mentality blog.

First snow covering as seen outside our home.

I've noticed my readership has dropped down, probably due to the holidays. Don't really know how long it will be before a few more MOE news bombs drop from the dark clouds of the huge education showdown rolling ominously overhead. We head onwards slowly but surely towards January 1st. Can't see too many contracts being settled now except for the squeamish few OECTA units that are still waiting to sign. Well you've seen the anatomy of one contract ratification if you read my blog on the vote with all those embarrassing numbers. I would guess that is pretty much the pattern. One never sees a list of who settled and what the numbers and percentages of the votes were. Hmmmm. Anyway come the new year OECTA will be happily sitting out the crisis in class. I think for some of us anyway, and for the long term good of our union, that's the worst place we could be. Nope OECTA didn't say that! It's just my opinion. As if you couldn't tell  :-)

Well fa la la. I'm not going to dwell on all the doom and gloom over the holidays. I do what I can plus its so comfy now at home. I think I would be feeling really bad if I had done nothing. Anyway, I'm going to go watch a movie with Janet, and will write again sometime soon, maybe tomorrow. Please know I really enjoy our discussions in the Comment sections below each blog. I have plenty of time now to read and respond. So do drop by and have your say.

December 23

Another very lazy day. We stayed up late but I woke up early. I wasn't tired. I just preferred being awake and lazy. Finally mid afternoon we went to the Superstore to get a ham and cake for Christmas. Everybody was racing around with big shopping carts banging into each other, blocking lanes. They remind me of existential steam rollers. I think therefore I am. You're not. Nobody else exists either. Bang. Ouch!

I started to get an anxiety attack so I gave Janet my credit card and went to sit on an orange plastic chair by the door. It belonged to the Salvation Army man but it looked like he'd left with his pot. Fine by me. I don't like people ringing Christmas bells in my ear. I'd hate to be standing there for long with that going on! I know its for a good cause in his case, so I wouldn't say anything bad. I'd put some money in the pot and wish him "Merry Christmas!" Still it would've been very annoying. So I sat there out of everybody's way on his orange plastic chair just people watching. People of all age, shapes and sizes. Everywhere. It was actually kind of nice for a little diversion before going home to be lazy again. Very Christmasy.

Well I got another email complaint from a fellow local member because I reported the contract ratification vote as 6.2% on my blog,  when in fact it was 62%. Since only 10% of our membership voted my numbers still seem right to me. Rather insightful though, don't you think? We can add that trick to the anatomy of an OECTA contract vote too. Quite frankly though, it is a common strategy. We never seem to get the vote counts or percentage of members who voted, in any of the numbers that are released by the other affiliates either, most of the time. Maybe just locally?

Oh, here's another  insightful observation into the mindset: the reason I have so many readers is that half of them are fellow OECTA members trying to find out what I am going to say next. They need to exercise damage control over my incorrect facts and self righteous opinions about what our union is doing, especially with our contracts. 40,000 of them? Wow! So many of you fooled me dear readers! Especially with all the anti-MOU comments below each blog! Ho boy! Am I red in the face!

Apparently I am also confusing readers because they think this is an OECTA website [?!?] I shouldn't send any links to my readers at their school email address from my own Hotmail account on my computer at home either. I hardly do that anymore. I have no need to. Everyone knows my blogsite address by now. I don't think its breaking any rules how I have done it when I do. I think the last time was once in September and once in December. Not very many either. Hmmm. Anyway, my request for a guest blog to be written explaining the concerns to you my dear readers will not be forthcoming. No way. In no uncertain terms. Same with my request for a meeting together with our President to discuss the concerns. I rest my case.

So there's at least one member who doesn't want any more contact with me! I feel like Dr. Evil plotting to take over OECTA unless you give me a million billion dollars! [Insert Dr. Evil laugh here]

Do I sound like Dr. Evil? It will be very interesting to see what happens next. Stay tuned. Seems the witch hunt is on. OECTA is after me! What's with all the censorship anyway? It really is the wrong way to go in the information age.

Anyway, we stopped to get some take out food for dinner on our way home from the grocery store.
Everybody in the line up was pushing and butting in! The cashier served whomever got up to the head of the line up first! I went to sit in the car, listen to the news and check email on my cellphone while we waited for our order of Portuguese chicken with rice and potatoes. They also make a very good hot dipping sauce. Last night we just ordered a pizza.

The Christmas frenzy seems to be in full gear. Non stop Christmas muzak is being piped through the speakers everywhere. Crowds everywhere are spending lots of money. The Christmas lights seem back after years of little or no Christmas lights. They're on big buildings, skyscrapers, stores, and in huge lawn displays. The lights look nice, especially in a city this size. There are so many of them. Maybe we should go out for a drive to see the Christmas lights. Naw. I don't think we have to go outside again until Christmas, so I'll try not to too.

I should clean up around here at home. It's not dirty, just cluttered and untidy. I usually am the one doing the house cleaning because otherwise it drives me nuts. Janet cooks. I can burn water.

Recently she tried the old "little train that could" trick ["I think I can! I think I can!" it chugged going up the hill]. Remember the book when you were a kid? I do. That and "The Littlest Angel". I actually found my copy when I was cleaning out the family homestead after my dad died. I still have it! Good catholic boy eh? I digress ....

I cooked up some burritos and pulled pork sandwiches that were actually inedible. Janet even said so. She seems to have put that one on the back burner again, so to speak, for now.

Truth be told, I can make a good grilled cheese sandwich with chips. Also a bowl of cereal. I got the touch. I make a dynamite cup of java. Lot of cups. Drink them and you will grow hair on your chest or something like that, they are so strong and aromatic.

Janet also does the laundry. I mix colours. Everything will turn pink. Good for Pink Shirt Day at school, but not much else. Have you every put a nice wool sweater in the washer and dryer and it comes out real small? Looks like its for a doll? I have. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to fix it. It's quite disturbing.

I do clean up the home very well and am very thorough. Except for now because I feel too lazy to do anything. Fortunately we aren't having everyone over here this year. Whew. I use to do the yard work and shovel the snow but now we live in a condo. No need for that. However I am on the condo board. Sign checks. Make decisions. Go to meetings. And so on. I am just acclaimed every year now. The same thing happened with my union position too. The condo board people are a lot nicer. We talk and smile. Nobody gets angry at me. We contract out to union companies. We have two staff, a superintendent and an assistant superintendent. We pay them very well. I like the condo board. OECTA however, is definitely getting on my nerves with all the b.s.

December 24

It`s lunch and I`m sitting on the couch watching Criminal Minds. I am also finally tidying up. I really am enjoying all the reader comments. Please keep them coming. There are so many interesting questions and observations worth developing further when one isn`t wearing blinders or trying to censor each other! My teacher news links will continue when they do.
Comments? See Comment bar below:

Friday 21 December 2012

MOE Broten: No Peace Treaty! No Truce!

Hot off the newswires. MOE Broten says NO! to Peace Plan or Truce! Commentary at bottom. Please use the Comment button below to send us your thoughts!

[Reprinted in full -thanx LT!]

Christmas MOE + teacher union peace plan offers dashed. The New Years Contract deadline is 10 days away at Midnight New Years Eve.

Teacher protest: Education minister pushes school boards and unions to make deal in next 10 days

Published on Friday December 21, 2012
Louise Brown
Education Reporter

The McGuinty government seems unwilling to bow to mounting pressure for a truce in the fight with teachers. Education Minister Laurel Broten said Friday afternoon she still wants local school boards and unions to hammer out a deal in the next 10 days, in spite of calls from within her own Liberal party and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario not to impose new contracts after the Dec. 31 deadline.

ETFO President Sam Hammond promised his union would will not step up job action or hold any more one-day strikes if the provincial government holds off on imposing new contracts until after the Liberal leadership convention Jan. 25-27.

The union proposes that both sides — teachers and government — step back from the brink of more labor turmoil until a new Premier can sort it out. That approach was endorsed Friday morning by Liberal leadership contender MPP Eric Hoskins, and also echoes a proposed “peace plan” made earlier this month by former education minister Gerard Kennedy. That makes two of the six contenders calling on McGuinty to dial down the volume on the teacher troubles.

OLP Leaders Candidates Kennedy + Hoskins had called for a peace plan or a truce.

Hoskins added his voice to the call for a truce just hours after ETFO President Sam Hammond invited Broten, in unusually conciliatory tones, to “take a pause, step back if you will, and allow us to work with the new premier to find a resolution.”

Hoskins said ETFO’s offer “presents an opportunity for the government to hit reset on negotiations. A negotiated settlement is always better than a legislated one. The agreement we reached with Ontario’s doctors proves it’s possible.

“I commend ETFO’s offer to halt further strike actions on the condition that the government does not implement Bill 115.”

Similarly, Kennedy’s “peace plan” released last week says no contracts should be imposed before a new leader is chosen. In exchange, unions would agree to stop further job action and school boards would promise not to lock out staff.

However, Broten released a statement Friday afternoon saying: “Today, I spoke with (union leaders) and urged them to use these final 10 days to focus their attention on working with local school boards. I am calling on the ETFO, OSSTF and CUPE leadership to … reach locally negotiated deals before the December 31st deadline.”

While she did not say what she would do if they do not reach deals, many expect her to begin imposing deals as early as Jan. 2.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents some 55,000 school workers across the province in all school boards, also has threatened one-day strikes of its own if she forces a contract on them after the deadline in Bill 115, rather than let local negotiations run their course.

The elementary teachers’ union, the country’s largest teacher union, has promised a one-day “political protest” in the new year should the government get heavy-handed, and public high school teachers have been voting this week on a similar action.

Hammond said that if Broten imposes the new contracts in January, the union will hold a day of political protest involving all teachers in Ontario.

He said teachers also will protest at the Liberal leadership convention “to send a message to the Premier-elect that we’re not going away.”

Should contracts be imposed, insiders speculate that teachers, as well as CUPE, may choose to walk off the job Jan. 25 — the first day of the Liberal leadership convention being held in Toronto, which also happens to be a professional development day for the city’s elementary teachers.

Hammond said the education minister “has a choice; if she decides to take a precipitous action it will trigger further disruptions and aggravate the situation for schools in every community across the province, which is something no one wants to see, and I don’t want to see.”

Hammond said his peace offering was not a sign that labour actions have failed, but “it’s an opportunity (for a new premier) to take a fresh look and find a respectful solution.”
He also tackled what he called the government’s “fib factory,” citing government suggestions that the fight is about money, not democratic rights.

He said ETFO has never put any monetary claims on the table, although the union walked away from provincial talks last winter long before Bill 115 existed and the government’s offer was largely about a wage freeze and reduced sick days.

Christmas + New Years this year do not promising for cheer + good will in Ontario politics. 

However, none of the other six candidates vying to succeed McGuinty seems likely to deviate much from the governing party’s stance. Five were at the cabinet table when Bill 115 was pushed through and the other, Sandra Pupatello, has voiced her support for the restraint measures.

Liberal insiders asked why the union would bother offering an olive branch when it hasn’t shown interest in bargaining with Premier Dalton McGuinty’s administration.

The teachers and education workers are opposed to Bill 115, which limits their bargaining rights and the right to strike, as well as freezing wages, slashing sick days and ending payout of unused sick days. It does allow for newer teachers to bump up their pay as they move through a salary grid.

In response to CUPE’s request for more time, Broten noted the province has been negotiating for 10 months and already has deals with the province’s 55,000 Catholic and French teachers, and more than 4,000 support staff.

“In addition, we have seen almost 40 agreements reached at the local level. Local agreements are possible and I encourage CUPE to stay at their local tables to reach agreements before Dec. 31st.”

CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn called the deadline “arbitrary and unreasonable,” and warned that Broten’s “hardened position” on the deadline “will make this crisis much worse.” His union’s members work at all boards, so a CUPE walkout would hit all schools.
Broten has also been cool to calls for meetings with union leaders and school boards over the holidays to try to resolve issues before students return to school in the new year.
“Dec. 31 is an impossible date. We bargain 114 different collective agreements. And for many of those school boards we have just begun the bargaining process … we need more time,” Hahn told a news conference at Queen’s Park.

Meanwhile, the Toronto District School Board is holding disciplinary talks with elementary teachers who refused their principals’ requests last month to add enough comments on report cards to meet board standards.

Teachers at roughly 15 per cent of the board’s 474 elementary schools followed the advice of ETFO to add only as many comments as they felt were needed — even just one — to show their opposition to Bill 115.

At the time, teachers were not in a legal strike position and the board told principals not to sign the report cards or send them home if they considered them incomplete. Principals asked teachers who refused to write full comments to reconsider, and some did, but nearly 1,000 refused and now must meet individually with school officials over the possibility of having a disciplinary note added to their file.

Here is the ETFO media release offering strikes to stop if Bill 115 not used to impose contracts. It would've been in effect until after the OLP chooses a new party leader when talks would resume: ETFO truce

Here is the Ministers statement as released to the media:

Statement By Minister Broten On Local BargainingDecember 21, 2012 1:15 pmMinistry of Education
Today, Laurel Broten, Minister of Education, issued the following statement about local bargaining:
"We started discussions with our partners in February - almost a year ago. Some unions decided to stay at the table to work toward solutions, while others made the choice to walk away. The agreement with Catholic teachers and the government is based on over 300 hours of negotiations. In total, the government spent hundreds of hours bargaining with teachers, education support staff and school trustees associations. I personally met with unions and associations 80 times.
After 10 months of negotiations and hundreds of hours at the table, we have seen agreements reached representing 55,000 teachers and over 4,000 support staff in the province. In addition, we have seen almost 40 agreements reached at the local level. Negotiated agreements are possible and they are the preferred approach. By reaching negotiated local agreements that are ratified by teachers and support staff, we can see a return to peace in our English public schools and can re-focus our efforts on what matters most: success for every student.
When the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) left the provincial discussion table after less than an hour of talks, we heard from them that they wanted to bargain locally. Unfortunately, they have not brought forward a single local agreement. It is important to remember that ETFO and other teacher unions had six months to bargain locally, before the Putting Students First Act was introduced. I encourage all of our partners, including ETFO, to get back to that work at the local level. That's where those discussions need to take place and there are still 10 more days for agreements to be reached.
Today, I spoke with Sam Hammond, Ken Coran and Fred Hahn directly and I urged them to use these final 10 days to focus their attention on working with local school boards. I am calling on the leadership of ETFO, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to put students first and to reach locally negotiated deals before the December 31st dead line.

 Does this mean all out war with the teachers after olive branches were extended by ETFO this morning? Or was it just too little too late? Seriously, I don't know how you reasonably could reach contracts for all the local units across the province between Christmas and New Years anyway. It just doesn't work that way. When it does you get rush jobs like OECTA TSU last night. There's hardly time for a reasonable timeline to be followed. 

My best guess is she is playing hardball. What gain there is so close to the OLP leadership conference when both Kennedy and Hoskins are extending olive branches, alludes me. Is it an internal tip 'o the hat to the party right so they can still look tough and hardline? Are they taking their cues from Tim Hudak and trying to pull the voters carpet out from underneath him again?

 If so it would be quite a misguided notion, I should think. Didn't work before, so now damn the torpedoes + try it again? I look forward to hearing what the NDP's Andrea Horwath has to say! Hope she's on top of her game! It looks like a very interesting New Years ahead!

Please use the Comments bar below to share your thoughts and analysis with us all here on my blog!

Monday 17 December 2012

OECTA TSU Contract Ratified by 62.2%

[Ontario Teacher Strike Week 2 updated news links continue below]

This blog was updated/revised at 12:00 pm Dec. 21

OECTA TSU Vote results:

OECTA TSU ratified the contract by 62.2%
Members disapproved of the MOU by 85.7%

Approximately 10% of the members voted.

Vote No Contract! John C. Ian, me, Chris P.

Our OECTA dissident side lost but took a good chunk out of the ratification vote with only 24 hours to mobilize. 62.7% of 10 % of the membership does not guarantee any bragging rights for ratifying the contract. Of course bottom line is that it passes. :-(

A 85.6% disapproval rate for the MOU is just downright embarrassing whatever way you cut it. 14.4% are all right with losing their sick day bank and the grandfathering of their gratuity?!? Wow!

10% member turnout shows widespread apathy and /or an effective compressed timeline and robo-phone call communication strategy.

Thanks to the voters that showed up who read my blog regularly. I was honoured and also note the regrets. A lot of our support couldn't make it on such very short notice downtown from across Toronto and the GTA in inclement weather the last school night before Christmas holidays. However you could cut that either way. I would guess it looks/ doesn't look good for my re-election prospects. I'm pretty sure I can kiss most of my TSU executive support goodbye in challenging the OECTA status quo. Ha ha. Well, it needed to be done. Whatever happens so be it. Hopefully folks will still respect me in the morning. ;-)

We had a great crack team. John Cafferky [ None Dare Call It Betrayal blog] asked the best questions. Special thanks to the Metro 7 members who helped out. Promise I won't tell your names! I hear there was another well known TSU member + long time arch nemesis who was busy sending out his own emails whom certainly helped. The OSSTF + ETFO members who protested outside the  meeting hall and then the voting area? One would've hoped it would remind our members what they are doing to our brothers and sisters in the other affiliates by ratifying a contract at a time like this when they are on work to rule and rotating strikes.  Kudos to Ian from ETFO and also Tim H. from the grassroots OSSTF group, if you will,  REWT [Toronto Rank + File Education Workers.] You are certainly a good example for us to re-build our movement on. Hopefully sooner or later we can snap more of our members out of their apathy and re-learn what solidarity means in times of crisis. Just goes to show how sadly we need to develop an effective teacher protest movement again. Speaking of which it was great to see those left from our TSU PAC glory days show up. I've really missed talking and working with you. It's good to see the flame hasn't been entirely snuffed out!

Well, when you've hit rock bottom you have nowhere to look but up. Nobody ever wants it to happen, but sometimes these are the most genuine and constructive times that we later will remember best.

Big question now: What if the MOE were to accept ETFO's truce + not enforce contracts come Dec 31 under Bill 115? Where does that leave the OECTA units who have all ready ratified a contract? Ho boy!!

More later...

The story to date: Autonomy of an OECTA contract ratification: 

[These are how I received the details + originally posted them on my blog]

OECTA TSU executive has ratified a tentative contract agreement with the TCDSB. It will be voted on by our membership Today Dec 20 at OISIE [Bloor + Bedford]. Discussion between 4-6pm. Voting 6-9pm. Much more below. Hope to see you there!

Well it looks like I've hit the big times! ;-) Thanks Kim Zarzour for getting an accurate report out there. The OECTA dissident position needs to be told. Not easy to include in a news article with all confusion these days. She quoted my blog as well. See: OECTA: All is not well

Flash Report! OECTA TECT [Toronto Elementary] members tell me negotiations have broken down and TECT will now wait until January. Bravo! It is the right + principled thing to do! OECTA TSU is being offered nothing that can't wait.

OECTA's Silent War for the MOE/ OLP: 40 tentative contracts reached/ 20 ratified to date! Can we at least get a no vote in Toronto? A long shot: too few people 4 a good fight, members with too little info, and too little time. No idea of broader implications. Still  you never know. Let's give it our best shot! We have nothing more to lose! Where's the cavalry? Please come help! It's over the top we go!

The OECTA party line as I understand it is as follows. I call it living in the glass balloon. The ETFO + OSSTF Provincial and local Presidents know and understand what we are doing. Both affiliates are still negotiating behind closed doors with the MOE. After Dec 31 OECTA will be able to say, look what we got for you! The original MOE would've been a lot worst. All will be well between us. Still we are not quite sure what the Minister is going to do to you, so we better get those contracts signed and into her fast just in case, so at least we have something/ anything to our locals advantage locked in place.

Maybe you can confirm what OSSTF + ETFO are doing? I wouldn't rule out anyone pulling a fast one to their own advantage if they can [see my Neo Realism Blog!] but I don't know. With OSSTF you had a grassroots rebellion when you got your version of the MOU and the members rejected it. OECTA is badly split, with a lot of distrust + just sheer apathy. I think a lot of the affiliates leadership is living cut off in the glass bubble out of touch with how stirred up feelings are at the membership level. It can get explosive! They think the members will be on side and trust the leadership knows what to do. Follow their plan.

Also think: What happens when a glass bubble tips over and falls? The tipping point as I see it would be a paradigm shift of sorts. Maybe many. Much too abstract for now, I know. I will develop this later, maybe over Christmas in my blogs. Suffice to say there are sharp splits developing  at various stages inbetween and within our different affiliates whether the leadership wishes to acknowledge it or not. Often not. Definitely an unbalanced scenario as we face the very difficult year ahead!

Here's the info as our unit has received it:

9:30 Dec 19 Email: OECTA TSU executive has ratified a tentative contract agreement with the TCDSB. It will be voted on by our membership Thursday Dec 20 at OISIE [Bloor + Bedford]. Discussion between 4-6pm. Voting 6-9pm. Much more details to follow.

 During the post "in camera" section of the executive meeting I asked that my name be separately recorded as having opposed recommendation of the contract. My reasons for opposing ratification had been spelled out in detail beforehand on this blog. 

3:30 Official TSU Announcement: Pretty close to the 24 hour limit. The Contract details are out but are confidential and not for me to release, especially as an executive officer. What to think of the tight time lines?!? Everybody is in quite a hurry and so little time! Especially when the Ministry is holding a gun to our head. Oh my my! Oh my! Underling mine. See the letter below:

The TSU OECTA reached a tentative agreement with the Toronto Catholic District School Board in the early morning of Tuesday December 18, 2012. The Board had provided only 5 days for Bargaining and the last 2 days went late into the next morning. The language was signed off late last night after the Executive voted to send it to members for ratification.
TSU and the TCDSB have worked to reach an agreement that will address some of the concerns of members and issues for representation of members. As you are aware, the Unit was constrained by the provincial Memorandum of Understanding and Bill 115. Local negotiations were not able to engage compensation benefits and monetary cost or the other items dealt with by the MoU /Bill 115.
This has been a difficult and challenging process especially with the Ministry imposed deadline of December 31st, 2012. Although we would have preferred to give the membership additional time to review information in order to secure the few gains made, we must ratify by December 31, 2012. According to local Unit by-laws, members must receive 24 hours’ notice and will vote by secret ballot.
Last night a voting location, the OISE auditorium, was confirmed and this was shared in the TSU Newslist. We are working as quickly as we can today within our by-laws restrictions to add information. Updates and information will be shared later today through the Newslist and TSU Website, including details about the language agreed to.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Negotiating Team for their time and valuable input as we move forward for the members of the Toronto Catholic Teachers. I would also like to thank the membership for their support and understanding throughout this stressful time.
For timely and accurate information, please register for the Newslist on our website at: 
Next notice. The contract details are confidential until after the ratification vote. Big. Big secret! Actually it's mild stuff that could easily wait in light of the current situation we are all in. The implications for approving the contract now are great, not just for TSU itself but in the effect it will have upon our solidarity with the other unions we will need to work with in the very difficult year ahead. The following details can and need to be noted:
There will be two ballots tomorrow:
Vote on ratification On The Local Tentative Agreement I vote to: APPROVE or DISAPPROVE
 Vote on the MoUOn the Provincially negotiated Memorandum of Understanding I wish to express my disposition as: APPROVE  or  DISAPPROVE 
The MoU vote is a plebiscite that has no ability to alter the MoU and is for members to express their disposition on the MoU.

My "David Chiarelli School Edition" logo. That means that yup! This is just my opinion!

Here is my statement for our members tomorrow night. I think it's important to share now, so you can consider carefully what we are about to do. Please distribute it as you see fit. Yes, it is a rewrite of my previous statement to the executive but it has been carefully revised to be used with what I hope will prove to be maximum impact.  Anyway, that's how it's often done in this biz, especially when the timeline is so riduculously short. 


To ratify a contract we need a frank, informative general meeting and discussion. We ALSO need more time to read the new contract in full, think and then also talk about it  with our colleagues at school. The school board hasn't been in any hurry to reach an agreement. As it now stands they have reached their long term goals of eliminating our sick day banks and grandfathering our gratuities under the terms of the MOU anyway. It is the law no matter what we do.  Tonight’s ratification meeting is highly inadequate to properly ratify an important contract, especially  just before Christmas.
 Our ETFO and OSSTF colleagues are picketing and involved in work to rule. Any contracts  approved now are really bad for union solidarity, which I for one still strongly believe in. Our yes vote will serve to feed and support the Education Ministry's claim that all is good between the 55,000 Catholic teachers and the provincial government. Quite clearly it is not. Both our unit and TECT voted against the MOU at COP. Many of our OECTA units have been involved in an Ontario Labour Relations Board complaint over how our Provincial Executive ratified the MOU in the first place!
We could try to secure this or that non MOU advantage for ourselves by signing a last minute contract deal. However it is wrong to require our members to jump through hoops to meet any imposed midnight MOE deadlines for our own units gain while other teachers take a strong union stand and protests rage across the province.  It is very unprincipled and disrespectful to do so. We still need to work with at the TYLC, OFL, CUPE, ETFO + OSSTF, very much so in the year ahead. 
Remember: Provincial Executive ratified the MOE without letting us see the final agreement and have a discussion or vote first. Still we will bear the brunt of the anger and disrespect from the other unions over OECTAs actions on and since July 5th. It is a fantasy to think that all will be well after the OECTA MOU is forced upon everybody come midnight December 31st. OECTA has very little credibility and respect left. Let's show a little solidarity ourselves as a unit and wait until after New Years rather than race to kiss the Ministers butt now after all we have been through. When she says jump, do we ask when and how high? That is not the OECTA TSU I know and stand for.

We shouldn’t  hurry to ratifying a last minute contract while belittling ourselves in the eyes of our teacher and labour union colleagues , when they are taking a strong stand, watching and feeling the ill effects of everything we do. It is too shameful, despite whatever other good intentions we have or other individual unit gains we could make. That is not the principled OECTA TSU I know.
Vote NO to the contract. Vote NO MOU!  We should not be betraying our union principles and integrity.  Let’s stand bravely in solidarity with our other teacher union colleagues and the OFL/ TYLC!  We need to still be able to continue our fight with our heads held high! 
In solidarity!
David Chiarelli
Look forward to seeing everybody there. It's important work. We need to do it! Vote No Contract! No MOU!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

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

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!