Opening Statement



Wednesday, 6 February 2013

ETFO at the OLRB Continued!

Latest news links posted on my Feb 3 blog. 

Here we are again, at what is fast becoming a big teacher hang out: the Ontario Labour Relations board offices  downtown Toronto near College and University Ave. Seriously, it's nothing like you might expect. Yesterdays 2nd floor hearing room was huge, drab green and had awful acoustics. One becomes zonked out just listening to everybody drone on and on under the neon lightening, in this Excedrin Headache #9 place, as important as it may be. 



Chair Bernard Fishbein in the yellow OLRB hearing room.

I will be quite frank.(well David :-) I'm sick at home under the weather with a bad cold and whatever else ails me, hopefully not the flu. My class is in good hands. I'm sitting on the couch listening to Jimi Hendrix records. Unfortunately, I won't be going down to the hearing. Instead I will cover the proceedings by phone calls and Twitter to provide you with a summary here on my blog. Teachers are in class, and might only be able to check in irregularly, but that you can do here for the latest updates. Others might just want to review it later when you get more time. Hope this helps.

ETFO's Lisa Mastrobuono is covering the hearings live now at hashtag #ETFO. Hers are the only tweets coming in right now, last time there were a gaggle. So thanks to Lisa, hope you don't mind. As for you my readers, please go check her on Twitter if you want moment by moment coverage, she is tops. Otherwise relax here with me and just read the summaries. And so:

Legal Council for the Trillium Lakes + Upper Canada board complainant is Michael Hines [MH]. For ETFO it's Howard Goldblatt [HG].  Chair Bernard Fishbein [BF] is late. Nothing new here. He puts in very long hours but pretty much comes and goes as he will, sometimes just leaving you sitting there wondering what's going on. On a bad day he's very cantankerous and ornery. On a good day he seems like a decent lad.

Approximately 10 am

The two parties have been exchanging correspondence to clarify the school  boards claim on what "coercive nature" means, in regards to ETFO's bulletin to it's members about ongoing extracurricular job actions + so on. MH [Hines] now will be including a few emails in the discussion to further make his point. Now seems that even if the bulletin wasn't coercive, the emails were. HG [Goldblatt] expresses concern about him now extending his case beyond the bulletin in question. It seems they were also submitted late.

Boy how about that Jimi Hendrix? He sure could play guitar eh?



BF decides they have been attached + mentioned before so gives Hines the green light to proceed. Nobody had called into question the "veracity" of the emails before ...

HG points out the contentious "emails" were but one "email" a steward had sent at one school that was discussed last week. Well shiver me timbers, this is starting to sound like board b.s for sure ...

Chair requests ETFO to make motion about accepting the emails if they so please.

HG notes ETFO would like an itemized list of the documents so he can be prepared for what he will need to address as best as he can in today's hearing.

HG suggests if the Chair makes a ruling against ETFO he also include a statement that individual stewards can make decisions on extracurriculars. Seriously, I'd bet you could find an email from somebody saying just about anything if you wanted to waste your time. I hope the chair sees through this!

HG reiterates that any decision from the chair should only concern the two boards lodging the complaint.


.



Syd Barrett + Steve:could they be long lost cousins or something like that?!? Enquiring minds need to know.

ETFO Council Steve Barrett introduces 2 Supreme Court cases for the chair to consider. I wonder if he's related to Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd on their first album "Pipers at the Gates of Dawn." Do you member? Where you even born? No matter! Would definitely be tres cool if he was! Did you know Syd went crazy? That's what all that mad talk and laughing on the "Dark Side of the Moon" album is all about. But I digress ...

Barrett is arguing that the chair must also take into account the Charter of Rights + Freedoms when ruling on the ETFO case. The chair's role is to consider whether ETFO's job actions constitute an illegal strike. He could also decide not to make a decision based on the Charter of Rights. Extracurriculars are not like the cases of teacher "overtime" discussed last week. They are voluntary and unpaid. Barrett continues to reference the Canadian Charter of Rights and how they apply to the case.

Board council introduces some new documents alleging extracurriculars are vital to students. Strikes + work to rule are bad for students. Very bad. Yeah well what isn't? Does anybody ever tell them hey! You can't stay up night playing computer games?!? You've got to get up tomorrow to go to school? Then they stumble into class late all dazed + confused. You are supposed to teach them so that they are as smart as a rocket scientist. Plus run around supervising them after school while they hit each other with balls + sticks during some now dumb + pointless game we use to call a sport. Maybe I am being too tight here but lucky 4 them it's almost impossible to fail these days. Or is it really lucky? Oh no! If the student fails we are are going to hurt their self concept + self esteem!! Jeez! Whatever happened to feeling good about yourself because you learnt from your failure and mistakes then did well?!? Think about it .....

Lisa tweets from the OLRB;  the"evidence" the board council is presenting re: union actions hurting kids, is controversial.  Right on Lisa! At the very least!

Barrett argues that MH's "articles" about extracurriculars is subjective and shouldn't be used as supplementary evidence. How is he supposed to figure out how to handle it last minute at the hearing? It takes time and drags the hearing on and on. He asks what the complainants objective is for bringing in an article about extracurriculars  and the transition to middle school to the hearing now? Good question! Duh!

You'd think they'd break 4 lunch but noooo .... Same thing happened yesterday and my stomach was grumbling. I'd have even given my eye teeth for a coffee. There's lots of pretty good restaurants downstairs. You can sit at a window seat and watch all these legal and business types running around in the freezing cold outside wearing court garb and fancy suits while you have a sandwich + use the free internet. Not exactly great fun but good for a break at least.



Meet Mike! Hi Mike! What have you got for us today?!?

Boards' MH [Hines] is now trying to introduce articles into the record alleging extracurriculars [EC's] lessen the drop out rate for students. HG is quick on this one. He says ETFO would be happy to call in some "real experts" in education rather than rely on unvetted articles. Holy smokes! I wonder if these are newspaper or magazine articles?!? One could easily find some claiming just about anything you'd want these days, and just as many claiming not. This is ridiculous. Good one HG!

However, Hines wants to introduce some more "articles". The chair tells him he wants an expeditious hearing. This is now day 6. Why does he want to introduce new material into the record now? Hooray Chair Fishbein!

Hines whines ETFO didn't make a submission to respond to the boards initial application for the complaint within 24 hours as required. Boo hoo hoo! Why doesn't Fishbein just put him out of his pain by saying enough is enough!?

BTW Lisa says the complaint wasn't faxed to ETFO until 3pm on a Friday without any advance notice. This is really bad eh? The same thing happened yesterday at the OECTA OLRB. The lawyers for Provincial started introducing ridiculous long shot arguments ridiculously playing around with words + facts as the hearing dragged on. If I recall correctly they were even trying to claim COP had endorsed the MOU. The OECTA COP voted on the MOU after it had been ratified by the provincial executive, that's a fact. It was nonbinding. Maybe they were referring to the contentious COP meeting in December 2011 when COP approved provincial begin meetings with the MOE at the PDT? Rubbish. Pure rubbish.

All I can guess is the other side is getting so desperate that they just hope to bury you. They try to do so by throwing everything they can including the kitchen sink, so to speak!



Hines "assumes" ETFO can get studies that show EC's aren't beneficial and bring them to the hearing by Friday or Monday. Oh nooo ... Friday? Monday? He claims it's a question of fairness. He should be allowed to present articles from "respectable bodies of authorities"! Is there such a thing?!? Sounds like a contradiction in terms to me by golly!

Furthermore Hines is indignant that it took him a long time to find his articles so he could present them. The chair must review them now. If I were Fishbein I might be tempted to get up and kick him right where it hurts for that hissy fit. Guess, I'll never be chairman of the board like him. Nope. Looks increasingly unlikely, I must admit. This Hines fellow is beginning to really get on my nerves and I'm not even there! You too?

Ha ha ha! Barret says that Hines type of "evidence" is not a part of any legal system ETFO would participate in. Bravo! Barret also adds that in any case involving the restriction of constitutional rights there's a heavy onus on justifying the restrictions. Nice one two punch to the ol' kisser there for ETFO! He says articles need to be examined for veracity, validity and relevance, they just can't be introduced, submitted and accepted. He's got MH in the corner of the ring here I think. He points out education is notorious for fads. Well trained, motivated teachers are the most meaningful factors in student success!

HG jumps in the ring! This debate isn't about EC's. What relevance are these "articles" to the case? It's the case is what matters. He also asks that to expedite the hearing Hines explain when an infringement of ones Charter Rights is okay

Hines snivels that he needs to "get instructions" from the school boards on how to proceed.

Approximately 1:45

Fishbein adds that he hopes both parties can agree on a concrete course of action. He adjourns the hearing until 2:30 pm for lunch.



Approximately 2:50 pm

I recall a similar hearing during the province wide teacher protest strike of 1997. The Harrasites likewise introduced "articles" to prove we should be ordered back to work. They had this stupid fistful of wrinkled cut out newspaper clippings that they wanted to present like it was Current Events time in a junior grade class. It was not tolerated for nearly so long as today and the Torys lost their case. Wonder why Fishbein doesn't just put an end to the madness and tell Hines to put his articles away? 

1:50 pm: The Chair returns + commences hearing twenty minutes late. He wants to clarify how the hearing will proceed and what he is being asked to rule on. If Hines articles are submitted, then ETFO is denied "natural justice" without being able to challenge them.

Barrett argues that these subjective, evaluative articles are not the equivalent of the legislative fact history ETFO presented last week.

The Chair muses that he is struck by how a hearing is different than a court with respect to strike situations. The discussion continues on a possible ruling or remedy by the chair. ETFO argues if the chair decides to apply a remedy, or have ETFO take some sort of action, is a violation of their Charter Rights. The chair can decline to offer a remedy. ETFO also notes that in a BC case the labour board ruled withdrawing EC's was not subject to review as an illegal strike action.

MH [Hines] claims that declining to perform EC's or other teacher duties are the same thing. A teachers job cannot be reduced to a list of duties. There are also "conventional expectations". Everything a teacher does impacts the students. The majority of the things a teacher does is outside the course of the school day [so what about teaching classes ?!?] Also his client boards have become collateral damage in the fight between ETFO and the OLP, I wonder, so what are they doing getting involved here in the jobs action dispute if they are not involved in the fight too?!]. 



MH follows this up with a cloying "we were all children once" sentimentality routine. It's true in so far as some of us still are I think. He does not believe ETFO's argument that EC's are voluntary because they are unpaid duties. Teachers are paid a salary, so there are no limits to our work day. Hey dear readers, I told you the school boards are evil + not our friends in the good fight!]. ETFO shouldn't claim EC's aren't "valuable duties".

HG jumps in asking whoever said that?

MN continues, now claiming that there is a "collective expectation" that EC's will be done by teachers. One wonders, this is all evaluative + subjective, where is it supported by credible evidence and points of law?!

A teacher tweets that this is so disgusting. She's never felt so unappreciated and undervalued. Restoring goodwill with the boards won't be easy. Hear! Hear!

I hope these are closing statements. This is really becoming unbearable, an all time low for anyone who considers themselves an educator. I know MH is doing his job but he really sounds despicable to stoop so low. This is a major embarrassment!

If I was there I'd be tempted to get up now, looking very officious, and go beside Steve Barrett to ask him, very quietly, if he was related to Sid. At least that would be interesting! You'd be surprised sometimes what you can do if you look like it's okay.



Syd Barrett: It would've been good just to get up + ask!

MH continues with a claim that his "robust" cases compared to those of ETFO just goes to show how weak ETFO's case is. Methinks maybe he should get together with Hudak then! They could both be robust + bold, like a good cup of coffee! ;-)  Whew! Am I at the same hearing here!? 

We know as teachers that it wouldn't be appropriate for somebody to get up + bop him in the nose right now. I can't say he wouldn't deserve it though. Nope! However if I was still up there talking to Steve, I'd just go back sit down or maybe take a washroom break to cool my jets. C'mon admit it; it would be tempting but then what? Just my luck I'd probably end up on the front page of the Toronto Sun. An officer of the peace would have me in a head lock. Everybody would go "Oh look there's David. What did he do?" and so on .... Janet would be royally p.o'ed. I'd never hear the end of it! However, I ramble ...

MH is drawing an analogy between work to rule and the "secret button" on a man's pair of pants?!? Holy cow! Lisa says she's going to have to get one of the guys to explain that. I don't know. I don't want to know. This is getting very weird!



Somebody should go have a chat with MH when this is over? Would he write a guest blog?!?

MH is now discussing a case from 1903. He says there was "literally" a "blizzard of lower court decisions" about something or other. Nobody seems to know quite what. Maybe he means he has friends in low places? You know ... you can have friends in high places .... or even middling places .... but does MH have them in ... never mind. I don't want to know! This sounds like a "Murdock Mystery"? Why doesn't somebody ask him what he was smoking at lunch? Seriously!

MH talks about Mike Harris and Bill 74. Tweets are all claiming they can't make any sense of what he is saying.

Finally! The chair says he is having a hard time following him. The hearing will resume Friday. No. Wait. He is also going to look for "other" dates. I wonder: Is that a nice way to say don't call me I'll call you ....? ;-)

To be continued ... Confirmed: Friday Feb.8 at 9 am with next Wednesday meeting possible too!

I plan to cover Friday's hearing, so check back to see what happens!

The Friday ETFO WTR OLRB log is here: The Next Hearing
Next Tuesday ETFO WTR OLRB Blog is at: Next Tuesday court date

PS: Check out my Syd Barrett Videobar below the blogs for more info!

Comments Bar below:

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Because it's the Ontario LRB does it have any relation to the Ontario government?

Anonymous said...

Hope you feel better soon David! Love your Syd Barrett reference! 1903. What!?

David Chiarelli said...

I believe it has an arms length relationship with the province. It bears the official crest of arms. It just rules by points of law according to the terms of the labour act. It would be a part of the judiciary i should think tho the chair was commenting in brief about the difference between a court and the board. Anybody else know more about the olrbs status?

David Chiarelli said...

1903? One wag twittered something to the effect that oh no! Does this mean we are going to have to open up the school house and chop firewood in the morning to keep it warm?!? ;-)

Wendy Jackman said...

I was SO confused by the secret button on men's pants comment. Is that how lawyers make their cases? How does that fly (pun intended) in a legal proceeding such as this? Is this an "old boys club" reference that only the old boys get?

David Chiarelli said...

Ha ha! I'm totally perplexed too. Perhaps even naive. Is the secret button on the back of his pants?

Anonymous said...

Do all Boards despise their own employees as much as these two appear to?

Anonymous said...

FYI, the hidden button is an archaic way for men to look thinner and more well endowed than they actually are. The button can be found a little to the left of the zipper and about 1/3 down from the top of the same. Nowadays men use spandex sewn in the right way to achieve a fit and well endowed look. I suspect Mr. Hines is mixing his metaphors or committing a Freudian slip. IMHO

Ms. Gregersen said...

Oh. my. great. goodness. you are THE funniest blogger I've ever read...and astute, mind you i don't really read blogs, just yours and I AM A FAN... I also know Lisa and I'm a steward (just hoping it wasn't one of MY emails that knob was using) I miss the bell from one of your other entries, though. And I'm really loving the memes on that pic from Charlie and the CF... too too funny. Thank you for making my night!
Michelle

Anonymous said...

Wow! thanks for taking us into the hearing. Can't wait for an update!

Anonymous said...

Don't paint all boards with the same brush stroke. It's 2 out of how many boards? That says lots right there.

David Chiarelli said...

It is only 2 small boards. However my sense is that a number of the other boards are watching with great interest. If a precedent can be set by a ruling they will have something to build upon as they pursue their wish for mandatory ECs further.

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