Voluntary Extracurriculars? The school boards would like to sock it to you!
Basically, at issue is a school board complaint from Trillium + Upper Canada that the local ETFO units improperly advised its teachers to withdraw from extracurriculars during last winters MOU/Bill 115 protest. They want to establish if teacher extracurriculars are optional and whether the ETFO units violated the Ontario Labour Relations Act.
10:10 am: The hearing has begun with a review of the case to date. Chair Fishbein is discussing the issues of "volunteerism" and the "ETFO Charter Sec 1challenge" with the complainants [School Boards] and the defendants [ETFO]. I m sitting here with Lisa Mastrobuono who is reporting the case on Twitter. We are the only two observers. I have forwarded her hash tag link to those who follow me on Twitter. It is also posted above for those who don't.
10:35 am: The hearing has adjourned for today! A record short session! The complainants will provide further evidence at a future meeting. No date was set. The boards lawyers will seek evidence to show what is not voluntary for teachers at school and why a ruling in their favour would not result in a charter breach of the union members rights. Their OLRB complaint centres on whether the ETFO locals for these boards can and have advised their members to withdraw from EC's. Mr. Fishbein has questioned whether the OLRB is an appropriate forum for charter issues. The board lawyers can present all the further evidence they want to support their case but he didn't think that charter issues are within the mandate of the OLRB to rule on when he is making his decision.
I covered the story quite extensively on my blog last spring. It was more pertinent then, but remember, the school boards are trying to see if they can set a precedent of sorts on on whether you can be required to do extracurriculars! It was a big issue during the teacher protests against Bill 115 and the MOU. Same with during the Harris Eves Years. You can count on it being so the next time our teacher unions are involved in a work action. Remember that 2012 to 2013 is a contract year. You know how that went last time!
Board lawyers: Wonder what they are costing the boards??? You can bet they aren't cheap!
Just my opinion: I was talking to the ETFO lawyer, Mr. Barret, after the hearing. He did not seem altogether unhappy with the outcome. I am musing. ETFO threw in the Charter Challenge. The school boards Mr. Hines is demanding more time to respond as is his way. Chair Fishbein has said he can't rule on this matter, so really it is a waste of time.
If Mr. Hines complainants are happy to keep paying indefinitely for his services than so be it. Chair Fishbein was clear he had enough to make a decision on the case. The result of his accepting Hines request is that we now have an indefinite open ended date for when all three parties can meet next. Fishbeins decision will now be delayed further. How relevant is it even now? The ruling will only apply to the specific case in question, unless somebody wishes to pick it up from there and run with it. That won't happen overnight either. The case is for all intent purposes redundant and out of the way now I should think, at least for ETFO's purposes. Touche!
My blogsite is an independent teacher and union all affiliate one. Stay tuned, we will be examining relevant issues for all three associations in the exciting year ahead. If you like my site please share the link.
I will be posting the ETFO OLRB archive blog links here should you wish to review and better understand the case to date. Check back for these.
Today's hearing is over! That was quick!!