Opening Statement



Tuesday, 19 March 2013

OECTA: The New Membership Vote!



OECTA AGM 2013 approved the following motion to allow a "representational member vote" for ratifying any future Collective Agreements:

AGM13-F5-145 That By-laws, Provincial Bargaining be amended by the addition of a new section to read: ”The vote result calculation process shall be:
 
a) The FTE for every unit and/or bargaining unit shall be determined based on the membership calculation used for 2.88 and 2.88.3. The calculation is made by dividing the total fee return for the unit or occasional teacher bargaining unit by the membership fee under 2.87.1, excluding the portion of the fee to be placed in the membership protection fund.
 
For every unit and/or bargaining unit the percentage of “in favour” and “not in favour” shall be determined in the following manner:
 
i) The total number of votes cast shall be calculated; then
ii) The number of votes “in favour” shall be divided by the total number  of votes cast. This will be the percentage in favour; then
iii) The number of votes “not in favour” shall be divided by the total number of votes cast. This will be the percentage not in favour; then
 
The FTE shall be multiplied by the percentage in favour and the percentage not in favour to determine the number of FTE votes in favour and number of FTE votes not in favour for every unit and/or bargaining unit. This shall be the unit and/or bargaining unit result used for the provincial vote tally.
 
b) The results for every unit and/or bargaining unit determined under (a) iv, shall be tallied and shall be the official provincial vote tally

Commentary

Our OECTA member's wanted the final vote on our future contracts to avoid the controversial situation we ended up in last July 5th when the OECTA MOU was ratified by our Provincial Executive. That is what we got. However, it is not in fact "one member one vote" but a "representational vote" based upon the complicated formula above. Mathematics is my Achilles heel, so I will leave it to others to figure out if the numbers will add up fairly.

The motion was passed as a part of an omnibus bill if you will, overhauling the complete CB process. The bill, as presented by Task Force Chair Liz Stuart [York], was the result of a call for submissions  early in the New Year. These were vetted by committee and presented in time for this year'[s AGM to have them approved asap so they could be used for our next contract in 2014.

I don't like rush jobs. I don't like omnibus bills. They require a lot of faith that all is well, especially when we consider the short period of time that was available for debate at the AGM. It was acknowledged that the procedures will need to be fine tuned and amended in the future. It was argued that it is better to have something in place considering the short time lines we are working under.

OECTA York President Liz Stuart is in my opinion a very reliable person to have as chair. Liz's unit was involved in the OECTA MOU OLRB complaint, while she also pursued the development of the bill with the Provincial Task Force. I admire her commitment and integrity in working on both fronts. Indeed the whole committee requires a great big thank you for the amount of work that went into  the project.

As Liz noted in her intro, the new bill as a whole, allows for provincial bargaining, while she, like many of us prefer local collective bargaining. The bill was written up with the belief that was the direction the provincial government would be going anyway, whether we liked it or not.

A representational vote was deemed necessary by the committee to take into acccount the relative size of each unit and the OT's who are also represented by OECTA. I'm not a big fan of percentages, so I hope the final tallies also include how many people actually voted, a number that is often smudged by all the affiliates in announcing any voting results.

I am a fan of online and electronic voting. I see that is  how the vote will be conducted. That can better allow every member a better chance to vote in a more timely, accessible and convenient manner. It can also be abused by setting up organizing voting blocks within a computer lab, for example, and I would suppose a myriad of other tricks that will become apparent as time goes on.

I am enthusiastic for our leadership elections to also be conducted electronically, both in my case at the local level, which we have done at OECTA TSU, but also for the Provincial Executive leadership across the province. I am also interested in the idea of referendum voting on important issues. However in light of the concern raised, I do believe the possibilities will need to be examined very carefully. Still, at the very least I would like to see steady progress made towards setting up a province wide leadership vote for the candidates who will be representing us as paying members. I tshould think that is a basic right, along with our member say on our next tentative contract offer.




I will present more info on the bill and other legislation that was passed at OECTA AGM 2013 in the days ahead. Once again, please kindly note that these are my own opinions. You can also express your own using the Comment bar below.

In Solidarity!

David Chiarelli

Have your say using the Comments link below:

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

There needs to be a membership wide (one member-one vote)referendum vote on creating an OECTA OMBUDSMAN. How "democratic" is this union when that proposal wasn't even voted on at the AGM 2013? Provincial Executive should do it now.

Anonymous said...

I really like the set-up for the all membership ratification vote...The presidents like Kent MacNeil of Sudbury and Liz Stuart of York did an excellent job of building a balanced process with many checks and balances in the sytem! Kudos to them!

Anonymous said...

The reality is that most teachers are not particularly interested in the details and minutae of OECTA business, for better or for worse. In my school, people are simply happy that James Ryan was elected, and that the right to ratify the terms and conditions of their own contract has been codified in the handbook.

Anonymous said...

My school is also delighted with the all member ratification vote provisions and the election of James Ryan who has never concession bargained and does not plan to start now!

Anonymous said...

ETFO has a one member, one vote system for approving any agreements with the provincial govt (eg., MOUs). That's by motion of our Annual General Meeting a few years back. We used online voting for our last political protest vote in December - environmentally friendly, means our members in Northern Ontario don't have to take their lives in their hands driving in snow storms to vote, by-passes childcare and accessability issues.

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