Opening Statement



Thursday, 18 July 2013

OSSTF: Let's Talk Politics!

OSSTF member Andy Wilson has offered me a copy of his recent article on "OSSTF: Let's Talk Politics" to post here as a guest blog. I have been unable to do so for technical reasons concerning the format and type, the answers for which allude me despite numerous tries. However you can read it on his blogsite @ Writing From the Chalkboard


Andy is in it for the long march ahead!

I thought that it would be also be great to post here as it's a fine complementary piece to Tim Heffernan's blog on "OSSTF Betrayed" below. Andy considers the dilemma OSSTF members are now in. The same issues often effect the rest of us as all the teacher unions to various degrees have been following the same "Anything but the Conservatives" political strategy he describes for about the last 10 years. The strategy did work very well, fostering a positive working relationship between the teacher unions and the Provincial Liberal government since 2003, when we helped defeat the Mike Harris Conservatives, after two hellish government terms of his all out war on teachers.

Unfortunately, during the last series of PDT talks we found ourselves come full circle. The previously friendly McGuinty Liberals started to strip our contracts and our bargaining rights under the MOU road map and Bill 115 respectively. When we consider that the NDP government in the 1990's imposed a "Social Contract" on us, freezing our wages across the grid and cutting our salaries with unpaid "Rae Day" holidays, teachers can now say that all three main Ontario political parties, the OLP, the NDP and the PC's have ultimately turned out to be hostile towards our collective bargaining and other basic democratic union rights.


Andy's blog considers the difficult situation this poses for us all in the contract year ahead. The teacher readers here on my site, from at least two of the affiliates, OECTA + OSSTF, have felt betrayed by their Provincial Executives over the past year. Considering our unease with both our Provincial Executives and all three political parties, we are facing an especially challenging 2013-14 contract year ahead. There will also be a provincial election quite likely within the same time span, or shortly thereafter. What is to be done since our strategy as it was being used has now failed?

This is a grassroots independent all affiliate teacher blogsite. We have many rank and file readers from all three affiliates here as well as education workers who visit regularly. You might also be surprised if you knew who else reads the blogs and commentary regularly, from the union Provincial Executives, and also within Queens Park and the Ministry of Education. Be that as it may, my blogsites focus is on freely developing and expressing our own teacher points of view, taking into consideration as many of the different ones out there that is reasonably possible, as a part of the thinking process.

Our teacher unions are supposed to represent us, the members. I hope Andy's blog, as well as some of the others posted here regularly, can help us work from the grassroots back up for progressive change and ideas that will create the prerequisites for renewal. We are the teacher unions. Perhaps it is time to rightfully reclaim them as our own, if we are to be strong and united, and not just the member pawns in the executive decisions our unions will need to make in the year ahead.


How can we avoid the Harris Hudak PC spectre without falling into another party trap?

Here is some related reading to also accompany Andy's blog link available through my site:

Andy's blog on "Ken Corans Liberal Candidacy" is @ this link

Tim Heffernan presents Ken Coran's perplexing 2005 OSSTF presidential election materials @ Ken Coran NDP? Also scroll down to his blog on "OSSTF Betrayed" 2 posts below here.

What is to be done? The Anatomy of a Sell Out @ REWT

Peter Hasek's guest blog on how the OSSTF MOU painted teachers into a political corner is @ Vote No!

Rob Scott's guest blog on how the OSSTF MOU represented complete surrender is @ OSSTF MOU too

Would you like to write a guest blog too? More info @ Guest Blogs!

See my blog on the London West + Etobicoke Lakeshore By-elections below.

PS: I am happy to provide my readers with links to any other progressive teacher blogs, Facebook pages, websites etc. involved in the good fight we all share in common.


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