Opening Statement



Sunday, 8 September 2013

OECTA Halton Elementary: A Letter to James!




The following letter has been publicly circulating among the OECTA members at Halton Elementary. It is forwarded by a retiree. Here it is for your consideration:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

James Ryan                                                                            

OECTA, Provincial President

Dear James,

 As we begin the school year, Halton Elementary members are left feeling abused and outraged by OECTA Provincial due to the extremely severe penalty imposed as a result of a seriously flawed discipline process which lacks clarity, accountability and credibility. 

While the 4.13 process appeared to begin in April, 2013 with OECTA Provincial filing an OLRB complaint on behalf of Durham Catholic teachers, doing so without the approval of the Provincial executive, the first “reason for the penalty” listed in the decision of the discipline panel related to incidents which occurred in July, 2012 relating to the MOU, which continues to divide the Council of Presidents and our members today.

The 2012-2013 year was rife with strife.  Two of the contributing authors of this MOU document took many opportunities to under-service the Halton Elementary Unit, whose President was one of the MOU’s most vocal critics.   The austerity measures include but are not limited to: 

1) cutting our President off from communicating with Provincial.

2) The Halton Elementary President being repeatedly berated and cut off at the microphone at Council of Presidents meetings by the Provincial President of the day. 

3) By repeated requests for assistance of Provincial regarding the Halton Elementary Death Gratuity falling on deaf ears – to date these appeals for assistance continue to be ignored.  We have been informed that this gratuity has been deemed VESTED by the Province, the Provincial President of the day and the Halton Catholic District School Board.  In the interest of Halton Elementary members, our President and the Halton Elementary Executive had continued to attempt to finally get Provincial’s assistance regarding the Death Gratuity when the concerns arose about the financial implications of all Units being painted with the same brush – our intent was to ensure the decision of the OLRB hearing (whatever it would be) would not negatively effect any future payout of our members’ vested days.   As an aside, all HCDSB teachers, as well as other employee groups, have just received notification of the value of these vested days.  This is the result of the work that Richard Brock and the Halton Elementary Executive have done to bring the issue of our Death Gratuity to light with the HCDSB and the Ministry of Education.  As you know we have also appealed to the organization most responsible for assisting us, OECTA Provincial.  To date we are awaiting any assistance on this matter.  What I cannot understand is why OECTA is unprepared to even discuss it. 

4) During the discipline hearing our President had stated that because he was unable to secure assistance from Provincial on the wording of the application for Intervener Status, he requested and received it from the OLRB.  This is the application document for Intervener Status that was submitted and later retracted once the OLRB complaint on behalf of the Durham teachers was granted Provincial Executive approval.

5) Our President was removed from office by a discipline process, without apparent written procedures outlining said process.  These “written procedures” were repeatedly requested by the respondents’ council and never provided.   The GS, one of the authors of the very document cited (MOU) in the “reasons for the penalty”, was/is the sole authority of the entire discipline committee process, including the determination on whether the original complaint was vexatious and should have been dismissed or brought before a discipline panel.  These very actions call into question his impartiality, which is the cornerstone of the role of the GS.

6) In their “reasons for the penalty”, the Discipline Committee appears to have pre-determined a change to our Provincial Bylaws.  They suggest that any resolution that is approved by the Provincial Executive and Council of Presidents is an “interest of the association” and cannot be challenged without the threat of member discipline.  Is this within the scope of their authority, thus circumventing the process by which we establish bylaws at the AGM?  Does this not promote censorship in a democratic association where presidents act as the voice of their members?  This is a dangerous precedent to set. It takes away democracy and violates members’ rights and the rights of those members  who represent them.

7) Several Halton Elementary members, myself included had sent e-mails in the 2012- 2013 school year to the Provincial Executive; including the President of the day and the GS regarding concerns and requesting clarification on various issues.  Many of these emails were ignored. 

While I understand the task before you and the Provincial Executive on September 10 & 11 is daunting because it will define OECTA in future, I trust that you will be cognizant of the fact that Richard Brock, a long time servant leader to Catholic teachers and OECTA itself is being made an example of in a flawed and ultimately dangerous process.  I do hope that the Provincial Executive has both the courage and wisdom to demand a thorough and immediate review of the 4.13 discipline process.  As the process is reviewed and hopefully fully revised, I would encourage you to grant a stay to Richard Brock so he can resume his duties as the duly elected, Halton Elementary President. 

While it is time to look to the future it is also time to reflect on our past and the words and deeds of our ultimate servant leader, Jesus.

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28

Sincere thanks for your consideration,

Nina March
Halton Elementary



Let's Talk: Reader Comments?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's Wisdom of Thoth here - in case there are any questions that arise later (it's funny how only my "anonymous" comments are flagged but not the many that support the position of the blogger and his cronies.

1) The General Secretary has NOTHING to do with the discipline process other than deciding whether or not the case gets referred to the Discipline Board. In this case, when a union rep sides with a board against its members, it's pretty straightforward.

2) The former Halton Elementary president should know very well what the process regarding a labour board complaint involves having just been to the labour board where he took his own union and was summarily dismissed. If anything, Mr. Brock's decision to side with a school board in a dispute in another board could be considered vexatious, he had other routes he could have taken but decided not to.

3) Mr. Brock should know what the internal discipline process is and what the potential penalties may be since he has been to over 25 annual meetings where this procedure evolved.

David Chiarelli said...

I'm not sure what "flagged" means but every Comment made at my site, pro + con, has been posted.

Anonymous said...

I mean that I am the only one who seems to get questioned about my "anonymity" - that's all. WoT

David Chiarelli said...

Thanks for the clarification. Actually eyeballs would roll around in heads if the names of everyone who sometimes post here were known. I'd rather allow "anonymous" so readers can speak freely as long as we are respectful of each other on an equal basis. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

VOTE PEDRO! FREE RICHARD!

Anonymous said...

"The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness."---Niels Bohr

Anonymous said...

David I am posting an email I received about OECTA's new member newsletter :

@OECTA has arrived
This Fall, OECTA launches its new member publication called @OECTA.

This first special edition of the publication includes the written decision of the OECTA discipline panel arising from a complaint against Richard Brock and the Halton Elementary Unit Executive.

This lead story should make Halton OECTA members feel at peace with their union. Does the Bullying of Provincial ever stop? Who is responsible for this "healing" and "moving forward" newsletter item? A new UNBELIEVABLE LOW in OECTA. Who is leading this union? It gets weirder every day.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
There is no bullying here. Seeking the truth is not bullying.
It is the duty of the Provincial Executive to act in accordance with the Handbook. If they did not pass a motion to appoint all the members of the Discipline Board,and someone acted outside the rules, then they would have no choice but to inform the membership and dismiss the guilty if his/her actions resulted in such a huge miscarriage of justice. I am sure this is what they will do, if they cannot produce the "proof" a previous poster requested.

Unless of course they are in a "cover up" as a previous poster suggested. That would mean that protecting the guilty person who selected his/her own people on the Discipline Board is more important than the AGM, OECTA, and reversing injustice. If this comes to light then OECTA is a farce.

This can all go away by sending out the "appointment motion" with the three names,to all members. Is it there? As the citizens in Missouri say in their state motto, "Show ME".

The unbelievable low is caused when the will of the AGM as found in our Handbook is not followed. The GS and Past President cannot legally claim ignorance. They can claim incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Mr Brock knows the process so he must know that only the PE can appoint the members of the Discipline Board. I think we are finally zeroing in on the fundamental question. Can a board that does not exist fire a unit president and who .....

Anonymous said...

ok...show us the members of OECTA the "appointment motion" form with the three proper names..put that in the new @OECTA email newsletter.

Anonymous said...

Ok...replace Bullying of Provincial with Bullying By Provincial in the above comment to clarify meaning intended

Anonymous said...

Interesting how deciding whether or not a case gets referred to the Discipline Panel means having nothing to do with the process.
The only way the process gets started is by referral.
The General Secretary had EVERYTHING to do with the discipline process against Richard Brock. Who do you think you are kidding?

If anyone thinks that the way this process has been proceeding is in OECTA's best interest is fooling themselves.
The PE can fix it. They can start by simply buying out the GS contract. It is that easy for a start. And yes they can do that.

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