Opening Statement



Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Premier Wynne: Letter to the Teachers

Regular updated news links continue on blogs below .


Kathleen Wynne's in the hot seat: Can she pull a deal out of the fire?

The Premier sent out the following chain letter online Wednesday March 27 to "share". We consider all insightful info here, of course, and so:

Dear [your name here]

Last night, we had some good news. I am happy to hear the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) suspended their advice to members regarding voluntary extracurricular activities.

I hope elementary-school students, teachers and support staff will once again enjoy the activities and programs that mean so much to them.

Here's what this news means for you:

We're repairing this valued relationship. That means creating a better process, one that is respectful of collective bargaining.

Our shared efforts show that positive results can happen when we work together towards our goals.

Our government has immense respect for educators — we recognize the important role they play in our children's lives and in our communities.

That's why I'm so pleased by this news and the similar advice given by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) to its members last month.

Of course, we've been working out this issue while sticking to our plan to reduce the deficit.

But I am confident our new government's commitment to fairness, consistency and respect will continue to result in real progress.
Would you please forward this email to a friend?

Together, we'll chart The Way Forward, strengthening a school system that is already the best in the English-speaking world.

Yours,

Kathleen

The Hon Kathleen Wynne, MPP
Premier of Ontario

 COMMENTARY: One is reminded of Education Minister Kennedy's Christmas 2003 letter to the teachers. As our new MOE he let us know that effective immediately he had eliminated the onerous Conservative PD program. We had been required to complete regular courses at our own personal expense to keep our jobs. Not that I or for that matter a lot of teachers ever did, but it was getting tense before the autumn Tory election defeat. The letter was a very pleasant and thoughtful Christmas card indeed. 
Now the situation is quite different. We have come full circle and been in conflict with the Liberal Government since the PDT process in early 2012. A solid year of teacher protests and job actions was greeted with the MOU being enforced upon ETFO and OSSTF under Bill 115. With the elimination of Bill 115, and the OSSTF and now ETFO's decision to lift their extracurricular advisory, we might well declare the protest period effectively over. The problems are not.
The only officially planned actions, that I am aware of, is the ongoing teacher union talks with the MOE, behind closed doors and as in ETFO's case under a news black out. Come to think of it we haven't heard much more about OSSTF's apparent deal either. OECTA, of course, is once again saying nothing. 
We are at any unhappy stand off. It is generally understood that the MOU contracts will remain in place with the Liberal Government adamant that there is no more money available to improve the terms. The sole emphasis seems to be on negotiating a new PDT contract provincial collective bargaining process for our next contract talks to start next year. While that sounds promising, it has come from the Liberals at great cost and grief. It still does not deal with many of the existing problems with the MOU. Will that be enough for our teachers in the classroom who must bear the weight?
Premier Wynne's style of government has emphasized conversation, cooperation and respect, which we see referenced in her letter above. She is obviously eager to rebuild the positive relationship the Liberal Government and she herself as Education Minister had for the better part of the last ten years. The chain letter approach is questionable in that it links teachers together through an OLP website. The political implications are quite deliberate. The email will be resent with the party logo and her personal signature on it to your "friends" 
Her government is hanging on by an NDP thread based upon 6 key goals they demand be met for their support of the upcoming budget. Otherwise the minority government will fall and we will find ourselves in a spring election. The polls have suggested the results could be quite close, OLP, NDP or PC with even a repeat of the situation all three parties now find themselves in. We could speculate endlessly, as one suspects the OLP is doing now, when Premier Wynne sat down to write the letter. Nobody can tell with any assurance what will happen next.
Kathleen's personal touch is familiar if not very calculated here. Of course, it is political and the familiar terminology serves to reinforce the same themes we have been hearing since January 26th. The big question now is whether the teachers will buy it, and whatever else is on the table in the current talks, to create labour peace and union support in the short time ahead? Or is it a case of too little too late?

 
 Pssst! Pssst! Jane! Ask her to give us a break!
 
COMMENT LINK BELOW:

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

David, could you please post the link of kathleen's letter to teachers. I could not find it on twitter and would like to post it on WAFLE. thanks

David Chiarelli said...

Use the link provided on the letter to send/ receive a copy. I then had to cut and paste it for my blog. In solidarity! David C

Anonymous said...

Is OECTA involved in any of these discussions with the MOE re. the process for future PDT discussions?

Justin said...

SHe never even said sorry for taking away our collective bargaining rights. By the way, she hasn't given them back either. Classic Liberal speaks with forked tongue.

David Chiarelli said...

OECTA? My best guess would be yes, but in what capacity? Dunno. They aren't saying anything but I will go find out. Long weekend ahead so might have to wait until next week before I can give you a reply. Keep checking.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that despite a blackout, yet again, the Liberals can break the "rules". I found her chain letter offensive and ignoring the black out. It makes me so angry!

Anonymous said...

The Sunshine List is out: http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/publications/salarydisclosure/pssd/

Anonymous said...

Ummm...what's the alternative? Be careful here....

Anonymous said...

The alternative is a PC government that will do exactly what the Liberals are doing. Either way we
will not be advancing the way we should as professionals. Our contacts will be stripped further and the 1/3 cut in salary (See Wisconsin) is coming. So why give up the only hammer we had. We caved again and we'll cave after Bill 116, 117, Hudak, 118. The assault on the middle class has to stop. Checkout the sunshine list. All school administrators got healthy pay raises in 2012- Where was their
freeze?

Anonymous said...

Are they going to retrun the 2.9 billion dollars they stole from us on July 5th- I would like my 200 stolen banked sick days back personally for starters? This is while all the rest of the public service was just penalized with a voluntary wage freeze. Maybe they should dump the expensive all day kindergarten program like their own Drummond report advised!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping me up to date. I read every day!

Screwed over once again by my own union. Remember: "We wont't back down! We won't back down!" At Maple Leaf Gardens and on the lawn of Queens Park?? Yea, we are being screwed over again. And again. By my own union.

Sad but I'm happy to be retiring in two years. Can't happen fast enough!!

David Chiarelli said...

Thanks for reading! Yes, I remember only too well, "We won't back down!", at both the Gardens + that day at QP.

ETFO held out the longest this time! Let's see what they get. Wynnes got to give on something, IMHO the question being will it be enough + is it too late?

Well,l I'm trying to be optimistic. Like you I can see possibly retiring too.

Anonymous said...

I hope the other unions don't "bargain" like our did on July 5 with concession bargaining with no gains for our side. It was like we didn't have a side at all in the "collective bargaining"PDT process!Soon all of our private assets as teachers (sick days, pension etc)will be gone and we will be fighting to have air. 40 years of cb returns went down the tube the last time without a murmur! When are the sheep going to awaken and when is our new leadership going to be able to lead! I like the impreachment process in the States as it immediately gets rid of liabilities and you can then move forward!

David Chiarelli said...

Yes, I still find it hard to believe that actually happened, but it did!!! I really don't feel like it is my OECTA anymore: the one I worked and fought for.

Anonymous said...

I can't be bought by the OLB. My rights have been trampled on and my efforts as a worker have been disrespected. Many of us will quietly do our jobs in the classroom. I will step up my new ECs. Fighting this government and working with my union to help teachers better their working conditions. There are many of us. The landscape has changed.

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