Opening Statement



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: www.tsuoecta.org. 
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. 


VOTE NO TO THE CONTRACT! NO MOU!!!

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!

25 comments:

Bill Betz said...

Thanks to you David, for taking and publicly sharing this principled position. I hope that many of your colleagues will also step forward and ensure that their views are heard (even if not respected). I'm not sure if/how OECTA will ever recover from this gong show performance. How can your organization possibly undo or repair the damage created by this betrayal of its own members, Teaching affiliates and the broader Public Sector Union coalition? A very sad state of affairs, indeed.

Anonymous said...

This is even worse. OECTA on TWITTER licking Liberal Minister's boots: Tweet "Ontario labour minister @LindaJeffrey warns Ottawa about 'serious concerns' with union finance bill http://bit.ly/ZI3loG" I guess this makes up for bill 115 right O'Dwyer?

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised by anything anymore!

However to my mind signing any local agreement means endorsing the illegal (unratified by all OECTA members in a vote)MOU! It is either part of the MOU, appended to or attached to the MOU in any collective agreement! I will not sign or endorse any illegal collective agreement on principle until the MOU is legally dealt with ie voted on separately in a separate statutory membership ratification vote!

Anonymous said...

Well said, David!! I just hope more of your memebers are as informed as you and take the same position.
At this point, we'll take any little scraps of support we can get as we in the public education system slugg out this battle for the good of everyone in this province - including OECTA members.

I say in confidence that this is the most BIZARRE, UNDEMOCRATIC, IN OVER THEIR HEAD OR SELF-SERVING position taken by any union leadership in the history of this province and likely country. As I have said previously, if the membership does not elect new leadership for the next round of negotiations, they are just as much to account for this betrayal.

David Chiarelli said...

Thanks! It was very awkward because I have worked for many years closely with our executive and come to highly respect them. Still, when something needs to be said, it needs to be said. That I did.

There have been 2 news article links I posted Monday and today which make reference to our OECTA dissidents. One even considers us a powerful element but notes it is unclear how much support we have. I thought that was quite interesting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks David. I could not have said it any better. There is no need to rush this process. Treat the members as the mature, considerate professionals that they are. Keep the posts and information coming. I fear that the same secrecy and lack of timely info that plagued Provincial may be seeping into TSU.

Anonymous said...

David

Once again you have let your emotions get the better of you. Your dramatic flair and sensationalist comments leave readers scratching their heads. You speak of solidarity in a time when public teacher unions want to see the Catholic system gone. You speak of solidarity yet forget to mention that it was not OECTA who "backed down" after leaving Maple Leaf Gardens. You speak of solidarity but ignore the fact that ETFO held out for more in the last round of provincial bargaining.

I agree that OECTA should have consulted the membership prior to signing an MOU with negative impacts, but I also think that OECTA signed the MOU to accomplish 3 specific goals:
i) protect Catholic education in the province of Ontario
ii) appease new teachers by shoring up hiring practices and maintaining grid steps
iii) attempt to remove certain "management rights" from corrupt school board and trustees

Don't let your memories be so short. Ask yourself where the solidarity was when public school teachers made more money than Catholic school teachers and Catholic school teachers did the same job as public school teachers with fewer resources. Better yet, ask yourself where the solidarity will be in the next 10 years as the public system continues to lose students, shut down schools, and lay-off workers and then blame it all on the Catholic system.

Perhaps a viable solution for yourself would be to quit your job with the Catholic board and go and work for a public board as an ETFO or OSSTF member?

I have faith that the TSU membership will make an educated decision when it comes to the vote. I have faith that the TSU membership will not let their emotions get in the way of their rational thought. I have fatih that the TSU membership will maintain their solidarity with other teacher unions regardless of the outcome of the vote.

As for your "scab" comment, I guess our simple existence as a Catholic system takes jobs away from the public system so by default Catholic teachers are "scabs".

Wow David, that makes you correct on 2 items now!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, its good that they are wondering how much support you have. Some unrest is needed! You will go down in history as resisting this attack on educational workers. The rest of OECTA, who knows. Your pres was very patronising about it all. I heard he called his membership ladies and basically scorned the other unions. He is very self serving and it cant be easy for you. He needs to go! Hope your elective votes him out.

Anonymous said...

David, those who speak truth to power are often vilified by the agents of the powerful. This is what the second last poster was all about. Keep your head up. Jesus spoke truth too.

Anonymous said...

Halton ratifies at 81%?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 3rd last post. ETFO did not exist in 1997. There were 3 unions that announce they were going back ito school (OPSTF, FWTAO, AEFO) - 2 public and 1 Catholic. There are also as many stories about how the 97 protest ended as there are people to tell but in short - nobody was blameless.

Regarding the iequality of salaries and funding in Catholic Ed this was true and it was wrong. Letting ETFO members make 2% less than us doesn't correct this past inustice.

Regarding the threat to Catholic Education at the MOU table, all sides admit this was NEVER an issue.

Regarding grid teachers being protected, like with the social contract we signed away their rights and put a provision in on the "long term sustainability of the grid. Now that is scary.

Regarding ETFO and OSSTF having anti-Catholic policies, this is true. Their provincial AGM's are full of bigots who deserved to be called on their anti-Catholic rhetoric. ETFO and OSSTF members however, need and deserve our support.

Regarding David. Thank you for doing what you are doing. While I dont agree with everything you say, I like most of it and you are providing us a great forum/source of information here.

Anonymous said...

Actually I was there in 1997 and it was your prsident who was the FIRST to back down at Maple Leaf Gardens! Back up your comment which is quite slanderous that ETFO and OSSTF wants to get rid of OECTA! The OECTA members are only looking after themselves, leaving ETFO, OSSTF, CUPE and OPSEU, 1.5 million workers to fight for basic democratic rights for them and their families! Your organization is a disgrace, not David, and most uncatholic, yes I am catholic!

Anonymous said...

David keep doing what you are doing! I will NEVER forget that I was denied my right to vote on the MOU!

Anonymous said...

To the person above who talks of lack of solidarity in the past between unions and the previous wage difference I say "Wake up! You make the same as public system teachers because of US, not despite US. The pros listed for the MOU above are a result of poor OECTA bargaining. OSSTF lifted your working conditions. Now you negotiated a contract that lowers ours! Vote for your saving MOU and wait for the me too clause!"

A disgusted OSSTF member

David Chiarelli said...

Ouch! Dear readers! Not to make any excuses but truth be told all the affiliates have pulled a fast one at one time or another. This is an OECTA dissident blogsite. Most of us are against the MOU + BIll 115; OECTA, OSSTF, ETFO + CUPE.

Fighting among ourselves only weakens us all in the face of the even fiercer attacks that wait ahead next year. We need to find a common ground to march forward.

If you can help with Toronto's contract vote tomorrow please come down to OISIE. Discussion 4-6. Vote 6-9. We need a victory here to defeat our contract to start rebuilding our movement. Sad I know. It might not be possible but damn!

By the way, the sidewalk outside is public space where I will be handing out my fliers. I doubt a lot of our members even understand the effect their vote will have on our colleagues. If you can help me please come.

Anonymous said...

Here's Halton Unit's Response to ETFO Colleagues on Strike in Halton. Dead Silence. No News Release. No directives on helping ETFO pickets in Solidarity. Nothing but an 81% ratification of their tentative contract. Disgusting. Explanation?

David Chiarelli said...

Are you referring to Halton elementary or secondary? Let me know I will go see what I can find out. Also see my updated comments today on my OECTA TSU Contract Vote blog. Thanks!

Timothy King said...

The only way OSSTF provincial could ram a yes vote through our conservative little district was to ignore local and provincial bargaining rules and push it through with the contract in our hands less than 12 hours before the vote. It was dishonest, manipulative and deceitful: http://strawd0gs.blogspot.ca/2012/12/fool-me-once.html

It looks like you're experiencing a similar approach - minimal information and then push for a vote based on blind trust. I'm unclear why our unions are so unwilling to let members make an informed, considered decision on this. At least OSSTF provincial finally began following member wishes (after hanging our entire district out to dry).

I don't know whether I'm more disappointed in McGuinty's betrayal, or my union's willingness to toss their own rules out the window for a bizarre kind of political expediency no one can clearly explain. In any case, I'm feeling mighty disenfranchised and alienated up here in the one OSSTF district that was willing to be led to the trough.

Anonymous said...

Teacher's unions are too closely linked to the Liberal Party. Their executives are infested with Liberal Party insiders and lapdogs. If teachers don't demand their union leadership distance themselves from this sick soup were are all in for a stomach ache.

Anonymous said...

Toronto Elementary went is near impasse.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Halton vote. First they held a separate MOU vote which went 96% no with a 90% turnout. The vote you refer to was on local issues only.

On strike support I saw some Halton Elementary members in facebook pics on the ETFO picket lines.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I’m right maybe I’m wrong? IMHO Daulton Mcguinty was a once good man that became corrupted by the politics of our day. At the beginning of his tenure he was the education premiere and he succeeded in admirable accomplishments such as a drastic increase in the graduation rate. The initial gains and success in education, however, caused him to far over reach as the "education premiere" and this led him to initiate his 1.5 billion dollar a year cash cow of FDK. This led to his ultimate demise as the education premiere. He would not, and really could not, back off on this initiative as it was his baby and he ultimately wanted it to be his legacy. Like always in life, things change and through no fault of his own the province was severely in the red due to economic downturn. With credit rating agencies down his back he had to find a way to pay for his FDK legacy. So he turned to teacher compensation after guaranteeing the education community new money would completley fund his FDK project. We first learned this with his Utube video.

I think he knew we wouldn’t go for it and the government went back to an old union busting strategy of divide and conquer both within and throughout unions in the ed sector. It always works and it did again. I think they also saw this as an opportunity to get their majority in the KW by-election. Most unions wouldn’t budge after they set the tone with their bankruptcy lawyers. That’s when oecta provincial came into play for the govt. So desperately needing one deal the govt gave in on fair hiring and diagnostic testing which I understand are important to oecta. The concessions on the other end were monumental and IMHO the oecta leadership was in way over their head. For example, they wanted to protect the salaries of younger teachers, but agreed to a full reconstruction of the grid in 2014. Teachers ten and under also completely lost their retirement gratuity in most boards. It is NOT a grandfather. Also, the 3 unpaid days pays for partial grid movement three times over – it’s simple math. That extra money will go to board coffers. To say this was done to protect catholic education in this province is nonsense – no govt. currently has the balls to do this and especially the “education premier”.

Having got their deal, I’m sure Broten and Mcguinty were sipping sodas and O’dwyer has his eye on a bureaucratic position in some future liberal govt. Having negotiated a deal with one union (they could sell this to the public – and, oh dear, they have, this is Laurel Broten’s NUMBER ONE talking point) they now were confidant Bill 115 would survive a legal challenge and they could legislate contracts. OSSTF members voted on principle and rejected ratification on their local “sugar coated MOUs”. It looks like oecta members can’t resist minimal local gains or simply don't understand the implications and are now ratifying locally. An extremely painful dagger for the rest of us in the trenches fighting the good fight! Now the unions are fighting amongst each other and within (re: the post above). Once again I see Broten and Mcguinty sipping sodas as they see us fight within.

How will this end? Who knows? Will we go down? Probably. Will it be worse in 2014? Yup! But some of us will go down swinging.

The moral of the story? NEVER make multi billion dollar promises (I’ve never taken a economics class and this is common sense to me) and don’t try to shape your legacy before you are out of office.

These two mistakes have lost this govt the good will of teachers (who are the most precious resource in the education sector) and extra curriculars for our kids. Is that a good trade-off for FDK? You can decide?

Do I still think Dalton Mcguinty is a good man at the end of his tenure after the scandals and prorogation? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Anonymous said...

Sudbury Secondary ratified their CA by a margin of 59%.

David Chiarelli said...

Thanks for the interesting analysis. Lots to think about. I especially like the part about going down swinging, if we must. I am with you all the way. By the way special thanks to the like minded ETFO + OSSTF protesters who came out to help us explain to the OECTA members what's wrong with this whole contract ratification thing. In solidarity! david

Anonymous said...

OECTA units ratifying their local contracts is absolutely disgusting. A combination of politics, stupidity, and apathy. OECTA members should pay close attention to what happens now, and think long and hard about the implications (for all education workers) of not supporting OSSTF and ETFO. Not ratifying local agreements was the ONLY way that OECTA members could have come out of this with a shred of dignity and integrity. Can't express how disappointed I am in both the PE and all OECTA members who voted yes.

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