Opening Statement



Sunday, 16 December 2012

OECTA Contracts: PVN + York!


[OECTA PVN has written to say I didn't do my homework enough in the assessment of their CB Notice below. I have invited them to reply with a letter or blog that I will most respectfully post. I have been advised it will be shortly forthcoming. Thank you OECTA PVN! Readers please stay tuned.]

OECTA Peterborough certainly seems under the gun for time within the MOE's December 31st deadline to ratify a tentative agreement. If one is reached members are to get the amended articles and a summary sheet on Monday December 17th within 24 hours of the Tuesday December 18 vote. They can ask the Unit executive and Local Collective Bargaining Team any questions or concerns they might have at the voting stations when they go to fill out their ballots.

Collective Bargaining Update #8 from December 12th can be viewed below or seen at: OECTA PVN CB Notice  All highlights of areas of interest have been added by me. Further comments follow:
The Local Collective Bargaining Committee (LCBC) met for the seventh day with the PVNC Catholic District School Board for contract negotiations yesterday. As a deal was not reached, another date has been booked for Monday, December 17.  This will be the final day for negotiations as legislation requires that local bargaining conclude by the end of December.
We are obviously under a tight time constraint to reach an agreement, have it ratified by both our members and the Board, and have it submitted to the Minister of Education before the Christmas break.  Ratification votes will still need to be held, as previously announced, on Tuesday, December 18 with the following times and locations:
Holy Cross – library – 3:00 to 5:00Pope John Paul II – library – 3:30 to 5:30Notre Dame – library – 3:30 to 5:30St. Stephen- cafeteria – 3:00 to 5:00
The local executive will be emailed amended articles as soon as bargaining concludes on Monday for endorsement of the tentative agreement.  At that point, staff reps will be emailed the amended articles and a summary sheet to be shared with all bargaining unit members.  The summary sheet will also be faxed to each school.   Amended articles will also be available at each of the voting locations.  LCBC members and members of the executive will be available at each of the voting locations to answer any questions.
This is not the ideal way to complete negotiations and inform our members of proposed collective agreement changes, but, again, we are working under imposed time constraints of the provincial government.
The terms agreed to by OECTA and the Ministry of Education in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on July 5, 2012, and enshrined in Bill 115, The Putting Students First Act, are not subject to ratification at the local level.  Any clauses in our 2008-2012 Collective Agreement which were not amended by the MOU or by mutual agreement by the parties will remain status quo.
Here is the York Catholic District School Board's December 14th media release regarding the tentative agreement reached between the York Catholic District School Board and OECTA York. Both the board and the unit President are quoted as being in agreement emphasizing stability and mutual respect. The board will vote to ratify the agreement on December 18th and the members on December 20th. President Liz Stuart notes the agreement with be of benefit to all their members. See the board press release below. Highlights are my own:

York Catholic District School Board reaches tentative agreement with local teachers union
The York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) has reached a tentative collective agreement with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) York Unit representing Catholic elementary and secondary teachers in York region.
"We are pleased that we have been able to negotiate a new collective agreement with our partners in OECTA York Unit which enables us to continue our focus on improving student achievement," said Board Chair, Elizabeth Crowe. "We have always worked together, respectfully with all our employee groups and our successful negotiations with OECTA York Unit reflect that spirit of collaboration. We greatly value those relationships."
"The mutual respect developed with our employer has allowed us to work together to maintain stability throughout the system," said York Unit OECTA President, Liz Stuart. "The new tentative agreement will be to the benefit of all York Catholic Teachers.
Details of the agreement will not be released until it is ratified by the Board of Trustees at their December 18th board meeting and by members of OECTA York Unit on December 20th.
The York Catholic District School Board delivers quality Catholic education to more than 55,000 students in 103 schools throughout the Regional Municipality of York.
Commentary: The following is just my personal read on these two documents and the issues that stand out for me. You can make of this what you will, it is just for you to consider especially if you are in these units or will be asked to vote on a contract before the end of this month.

There is quite a significant difference in the York and PVN time lines for reaching and ratifying a tentative agreement. The emphasis in OECTA Peterborough's Collective Bargaining Update focuses on meeting the MOE deadlines and process. If a tentative contract is even reached it will be ratified very quick. The YCDSB and OECTA York have already reached a collective agreement and the ratification timeline is spread over the next week, with the board voting first to ratify the agreement. The expressed emphasis is upon stability, member benefits and mutual respect. 

Voting records show OECTA York President Liz Stuart voted against the OECTA MOU at COP. Her unit is also currently involved in the OLRB complaint against the OECTA Provincial MOU. 
The records show OECTA Peterborough voted to endorse the OECTA MOU. The unit is not involved in the OECTA MOU complaint at the OLRB.

OECTA York's time line considerations and focus on benefits and stability seem commendable. York seems to be taking a balanced approach in both fighting against the OECTA MOU and in reaching a tentative agreement on local non MOU issues. I would assume they probably want to change some local issues of concern from their previous contract which will roll over "as is" in every way short of the MOU terms which will be imposed December 31st.. 

OECTA Peterborough's timeline and actions do not reflect the same balanced and unhurried approach as far as I can tell. The unit seems in quite a race to expressedly meet the Ministry deadlines. As I read it they are prepared to have the members quickly jump through hoops with a minimum of information and time to consider a tentative agreement if it is even reached tomorrow. One would assume that the articles to be approved, like with York, concern the non MOU terms they want to change in their previous contract. Still  for members to have to ask any questions as they go in to vote seems quite objectionable to me.

One realizes that the MOU terms are non debatable. A reasonably cautious member would still want to examine the tentative agreement carefully, ask any questions they have, and then carefully consider the answers. They would be prudent to examine if the MOU language is included or being acted upon within the tentative agreement. Any changes, even on non MOU issues would quite reasonably require membership discussion and debate. I myself would never agree to anything concerning our union without doing so in an harried manner, especially now due to the gravity of the situation we all find ouselves in. After all, it is our contract. We have every right to do so regardless of any other pressures simply as professional, thinking, responsible and well informed union members, and not sheep.

Furthermore, I myself as an OECTA dissident member could not on principle sign anything in any way, shape of form, that is being done under the duress of the OECTA MOU. That is because of basic union contract stripping issues and the provinces moves to limit our collective bargaining rights.  I could not nor would not have consented to it's approval in the first place as an OECTA member. I especially could not do so now while our brother and sisters in the other unions across the province are taking a strong stand against these aggressive moves by the MOE. At the very least I wouldn't want to give the province the satisfaction or ammunition in using our consent to justify, excuse or exercise as a weapon against our colleagues. OECTA was once a proud, well respected teachers union.  If the MOE or anybody else wishes to enforce this unacceptable behaviour or compliance upon me anyway, then so be it. I would rather go down fighting with my head held high! How about you?

OECTA Ottawa still to come ....

Comment bar is below:

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Call up Sam Hammond and see if you can join ETFO! Our leaders RESPECT their members and allow the democratic process to take place!OECTA teachers need to STOP thinking about themselves and look at the "big picture". Since they are acting in very "uncatholic" ways, wake up! How many times do you need to be told. You are in the same category as LB and DM.

Anonymous said...

We would welcome you! ETFO stands strong. Wed rather go down fighting then be sold down the river. Come on OECTA! Dont let them use you!

Anonymous said...

Halton Elementary same thing: File an OLRB complaint, do a Symbolic MOU NO vote and then recommend that today we ratify the tentative contract? But then-do nothing to allow individual unit members the right to vote on any provincial OECTA matters?-Have the unit executive create unit bylaws to limit who can run for Unit President (only those on the executive) without any member consultation or vote or transparent information release before those bylaws were changed-can they be repealed David?-Unit President's way or the highway-VOTE NO on today's ratification! One member one vote on everything or let's form a union that believes in individual member activism and empowerment!

Anonymous said...

ETFO is not without its problems. President David Clegg never consulted his members when he offered up their salary increases for additional prep time. Nor did he ask their opinion when ETFO research made the comment "an elementary teacher works ten times as hard as a secondary teacher". They also don't appeal to OECTA members when they have a position calling for the defunding of Catholic education.

OECTA members know they have a problem and they will fix it themselves.

Anonymous said...

"OECTA members know they have a problem and they will fix it themselves." comment from above. Yes we can see how OECTA members fix it themselvs, they THROW 1.5 million workers and their families under the bus! ETFO, OSSTF, CUPE and OPSEU! And then sit back and watch their family members being attacked! Shame on EVERY member who voted a yes for any agreement. You are a disgrace to the unions of Ontario!

David Chiarelli said...

OECTA Dissidents need not get into a fight with other union members. We've got our work cut out for us all ready. I want my blogsite to remain a friendly constructive place for all teachers who support the teacher unionism movement in the fight against the MOU + Bill 115. Solidarity!

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with the OECTA MOU. I was merely pointing out the hypocracy of ETFO. The ETFO and OSSTF leadership has thrown Catholic education under the bus. When I say we will fix OECTA, I mean OECTA members. OECTA has traditionally always been a leader; it is the current OECTA Provincial leadership that is the problem.

Anonymous said...

So let's fix our problem with an impeachment bylaw. We can call it the Santa Clause or the O'Dwyer Clause.

Anonymous said...

That impeachment by law needs to go to Liz Stuart and that survey monkey that came out a little under 2 weeks ago - you know the one that not every unit passed onto their members and the ones who did, well, we has barely 2 days to fill of out! Oh, the 'O'Dwyer impeacent law' .... Not going to happen since he is on this bloody committee. What an exercise in futility! The questions made absolute no sense.

Anonymous said...

Ottawa voted yes to ratification.

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