OECTA? OSSTF? ETFO? MOE deals? The Grand Poobah sees all! Kinda Sorta. OK then. Let me look into my crystal ball! Aaaaah! What do I see ... ?
Sooner or later the OSSTF + ETFO leadership will get a tempting offer from the MOE. They will need to take it to their membership to be ratified. At March Break will be the OECTA 2013 AGM. The leadership did not take the MOU to the membership for ratification. Now the members are coming to see them. I see "trouble" spelled with a capital T-R-O-U-B-L-E either way .....
Let me tell you the story of life with the lions. When situations spin out of control how does one get lions to do what they want? With a whip? Or fresh meat?
For the purposes of my story, our teacher member unions are the lions. Roar! Roar! The leadership is the one with either a whip or the fresh meat ....
Do you see where I am going ..... ? No worry. We need to go back a few steps until we get to where we will all soon be. To organize our union members into political action requires three steps: 1] Education 2] Agitation, + 3] mobilization. In good times our teachers are too busy + engaged in class to often give the big issues of the day much thought.
A good leadership will need to make sure we are educated about the problems and issues ahead. That will often be enough to mobilize us with information alone to support any short + quick actions that require our attention. We are smart. We can think. Enough of us will do our good part, thank them, then get back too work. Problem over, for now.
When the situation is very very bad, agitation will be needed. Our members need to be told in no uncertain terms about the threat. We will be encouraged to get prepared through rallies, protests, + demonstrations, perhaps even some initial job actions too, depending upon how serious the situation might be. That will get us up on our feet.
This my dear readers, is called "letting the lions out of the cage". Our anger + passion is aroused for bigger goals that will require us to really get worked up [ie ROAR!]. We feel we want and need whatever the goal of our political actions will be. We are personally engaged through our time and commitment to be ready to strike. We are primed up and out for the kill. However, don't forget: Lions need to be fed. We will definitely need something to eat! Then we can willingly head back into our everyday lives + classes nice full, and content!
Now. Let's say our lion leader's don't get the lions what we set out for? How will they get us back in the cage? They could try to crack the whip and play the union boss, like the newspapers call them, instead of a union leader, who of course we choose to lead. However, the lion is very angry and hungry now. We need to feed, one way or another. Seems that there are only our leaders around. There are lots + lots of us. Even a big whip won't be much help. Guess who we will eat?
Or let's look at the dilemma another way. Let's say the union leadership decides to play boss from the get go. The members are educated a little bit, just enough. Agitation comes in nice forms if at all, by let's say for example all singing "Solidarity together!" as we give the Minister of Education the silent treatment at a spring AGM, still all nicely locked up in our cage. We are raring to go just a little bit, just in case we might need to get primed up to strike, preferably not.
Wow! Guess what? That doesn't become necessary because the union boss has made a deal on their own. They have no need to open the cage door to let us out. Indeed, our lions will walk around in circles unable to get out, before soon falling asleep, especially if a dark blanket is thrown over the cage. The lions can't see + hear anything wrong. The lions are perhaps miffed somehow sensing the frustration of being aroused for no good reason from our slumber back to which we retreat.
Come next spring, the bosses finally need to come into the cage with the lions, as a regular part of their duties, let's say for example like at another Spring AGM. The lions have been lieing around a long time now, and even though the boss made a deal so they didn't have to go out, they've got nothing to show for it that we can eat! The lions will still need to feed one way or another. A whip against so many lions all trapped within a cage is little protection. The lions are hungry! Who will we eat?
Now let's go back to the union leaders who let their lions out of the cage expecting something to eat. The leadership has returned empty handed, with a few table scaps and a promise of more meat some time later on. Can they stop our hungry lions from eating them alive by cracking the whip? Or will they end up the same as the lion bosses who have come back into the cage of hungry angry lions?
Altogether now! We are lions! Hear us rrrrroooooooooaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrr!!!
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