Opening Statement



Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Teacher Protest Stops Bay St.Traffic!

[Today's updated news link follows in blog below.]


OECTA TSU activists help stop the Bay St.  bus! We are back!

Tuesday night was a significant milestone for the teacher movement in Toronto! Our ETFO, OSSTF and OECTA flags once again fluttered together in the stiff breeze of the bitterly cold Canadian night. Teachers, education workers and parent supporters helped hold up our protest signs and banners for everybody to see. Our rally out front of the Ministry of Education at Bay Street and Wellesley even shut down north and southbound traffic in the heart of the Toronto financial district during the busy suppertime rush hour.  

The sidewalk and square around the MOE building was packed with at least a 1000 teacher protesters, if not significantly more. The crowd soon moved out onto Bay Street, the financial heart of the corporate beast in Canada, our Wall Street North, the very corporatistas which helped get us into this economic crisis in the first place. How fitting! The Bay street traffic corridor was flooded with teacher protesters. Buses, cars, + trucks were backed up and stopped while drums played, and our teachers danced, chanted protest slogans, and had a heckova lot of fun with Bay Street ground to a halt! 



OECTA protesters: back in action with our brothers + sisters from ETFO + OSSTF!

It was with great relief to see that there were six of our big OECTA flags fluttering in the breeze alongside those of OSSTF and ETFO. Our OECTA activists were warmly greeted and glad to be back in action. It was a small but significant kick start for our Catholic teacher protest movement, a milestone in the changes we hope to create. 55000 Catholic teachers did NOT sign onto the OECTA MOU. We were NOT given the vote. It was ratified FOR us during the summer holidays when most of our teachers were away. It was important to get that message out so that we are heard. A very important distinction indeed!

It was good to see James Ryan from OECTA Provincial, our local OECTA TSU and TECT Presidents, executive members from OSSTF and ETFO. All the OECTA good guys + gals! No boot lickers here! There were the many education workers and teachers who recognized me from this blog. I was touched. How cool is that? The message must be getting out. Also reader Chris who came down all the way from Timmins to attend the protest with everybody here tonight. Wow! What commitment!



All traffic ground to a halt. We had occupied Bay Street. A great moment of solidarity!

Afterwards we packed a nearby pub and watched as CP24 news reported the Bay Street shutdown over and over again on the bar t.v. screens. All the teachers in the pub cheered. We were big news! Downtown Toronto had ground to a halt. I also sat and talked with James Ryan about his OECTA Presidential campaign, which begins at midnight tonight. Very exciting. Very promising. More on that later. Suffice to say it was just a great pumped up evening. The kind that really makes you feel alive. Where you taking charge. A small victory perhaps, but a victory all the same in true teacher solidarity and action. OECTA is back!



OECTA's James Ryan joined us on the front lines to help lead the charge.

Here's a CTV video news report on the protest rally tonight! See: Bay Street Blocked

This video takes you right out onto Bay Street with us all. Wow! See: Bay St. Boogie!

Later today/ Wednesday Jan. 16: OSSTF pickets MPP offices across the province after school tonight! For details see: Media alert


19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, was O'Dwyer at the protest? Doubt it. I hope that there is a lot of support for Mr.Ryan and none for O'Dwyer.

David Chiarelli said...

I've been calling around and nobody can recall seeing Kevin, not even James. Kevin is not a huge ETFO fan so it would seem unlikely he would be interviewed expressing solidarity. Course now that it's been said why deny it? More likely, the comments sound quite like those made by our local President Rene Jansen. Maybe the reporter misunderstood when Rene said he was the local "President"?!

James is looking good for the presidential race. We had an informal chat, which I will comment on tomorrow. Plus he is quite willing to be interviewed for a feature blog. Maybe I should ask all the candidates if they'd like to do the same? If they say no, well then it's no for them. It is interesting, the race looks pretty much like a split between the yes and no MOU sides. Might resolve this issue one way or another for OECTA.

Listen, OECTA readers! Apply for this years AGM! We need you! It a big job but somebody's got to do it! Time is running out. Contact your local office asap.

Anonymous said...

I DM James this morning to wish him good luck, follow him on twitter. I hope for OECTA's sake, Kevin O'Dwyer and all of his cronies are booted out. This your time OECTA to get it right!

Anonymous said...

Hi David...Congrats on 100,000+ hits. You are one of the true heroes of OECTA today! And now for something completely different...this disclaimer for attending the OFL Jan. 26 Rally was attached to a news release email:

Please read and be aware of the following disclaimer:
 OECTA members attending the Democratic & Economic Rights Campaign rally at the Ontario Liberal Leadership Convention agree to assume all risks of travelling to and from Toronto and of participating in the rally and march on January 26, 2013 and agree to RELEASE and SAVE HARMLESS OECTA, their officials, employees and agents from any and all liability, claims and actions in respect of injury, loss or damage to their person or property wheresoever or howsoever caused including, negligence of OECTA or their officials, employees and agents arising out of or in connection with taking part in the OFL Democratic & Economic Rights Campaign rally.

I don't remember disclaimers being used in the Harris years Protests. Another Proud OECTA moment! Time for a leadership change in OECTA? Can someone explain this bizzarre approach to creating solidarity with other unions?

Anonymous said...

I know it might be hard for many OECTA company men/women types to realize but it appears as though despite the best efforts of Kevin and his Liberal PE the teachers protest movement has managed to steal the focus of the Liberal leadership race. Therefore the protest is a success. Check out this great clip from Ontario News Watch! http://ontarionewswatch.com/onw-news.html?id=495

Anonymous said...

Halton school board weighs in on bill 115! These guys have stones! Wonder where the rest of the boards are at? http://www.insidehalton.com/opinion/letters/article/1566575--board-chair-expresses-frustration-with-labour-situation

Anonymous said...

The chant that echoed across Bay Street was amazing: "WHAT'S DISGUSTING? UNION BUSTING!! THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!!" The slogan was borrowed from the recent Chicago teachers strike where community grps. and teachers won a victory for public ed.
In solidarity~Davis Mirza ETT Political Action Committee

David Chiarelli said...

That was a very successful event + the message will be hard to ignore. Glad you are following my blog. It was an honour to atteNd the rally! Til next time! Solidarity!

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Chiarelli Free Press has more hits and readers than the oecta.on.ca site!

David Chiarelli said...

Ha. ha. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

Hey David. TVOs the Agenda is looking for teachers to be on the panel. You should totally put your name forward and speak the truth!

Anonymous said...

I would echo the last comment David would be an excellent panel member.

Anonymous said...

I echo the comment that you should put your name forward to the agenda! Go! James! Go! boot O'dwyer out and maybe, just maybe unionized workers in Ontario may have a chance!

Anonymous said...

TVO's Agenda is looking for teachers to be on what panel? Also....OECTA overall needs to keep members better informed consistently across all units. Information like how to apply as a delegate for AGMs, how to run for unit or provincial office, etc.,needs to be transparently available. Where can members get that information easily today so that they can take a more active role in their union in the future? And what is with that OFL Rally OECTA disclaimer? Can someone explain that? Did CUPE, OSSTF and ETFO attach disclaimers too?

David Chiarelli said...

Well OECTA has a website and a communications department so I'd think you need to start asking there. As far as the J26 disclaimer goes, this is the FIRST time I've ever heard of anything like this.

David Chiarelli said...

I'm not sure what this panel discussion is about. I'm concerned it will be about teachers who don't want to be in a union as a part of the whole Right to Work [for less] movement. Otherwise why go over the union to ask for individual teachers to come speak?

Anonymous said...

The unions can't be trusted. We need to hear from grassroots on the TVO panel. OECTA, OSSTF and AEFO will only spin proLiberal rhetoric. Nobody trusts union spokespeople. Including the rank and file members. The union movement has become an all you can eat buffet for the privleged elite. They serve themselves first.

Anonymous said...

"The union movement has become an all you can eat buffet for the privleged elite. They serve themselves first." Unlike the school boards, trustees, and ministry who always put teachers and students first?

David Chiarelli said...

We need unions. We need to fix ours. Thanks 4 all the great comments + insights. Keep them coming.

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