Opening Statement



Thursday, 28 February 2013

ETFO: No to Extracurriculars!

Regular updated  news links + important stories are postd below this blog! More news on this story too!



ETFO doesn't back down!

ETFO released the following announcement at approximately 4:30 this afternoon: 

Message to Members re Government Discussions 
In January, ETFO made a commitment to revisit its advice on participation in voluntary/ extracurricular activities by March 1st. 
As you know, ETFO has been engaged in provincial discussions with the government since Premier Wynne took office. The tone and nature of these discussions has been respectful and positive.
ETFO remains committed to working with the government to find meaningful ways to address the current issues facing the education sector. Working with a government team that understands the education sector, we are hopeful that the goodwill extended by the government to date will result in concrete solutions.  
Beyond the initial commitments made by the government team to listen, engage in positive dialogue and explore a more inclusive process for future bargaining rounds, it is going to take real actions to regain the confidence of members in light of the very flawed process during 2012 that resulted in the loss of their fundamental democratic rights. 
ETFO will continue to participate in these positive discussions. We look forward to responses from the government team that address the key issues that ETFO has brought to the table on behalf of members.
In these circumstances, ETFO's advice regarding voluntary/ extracurricular activities remains unchanged.
ETFO's announcement, as reprinted above, can be found at: Control Your Own Future

MOE Liz Sandal's reply: MOE

A phone call conference was held this afternoon with the local ETFO presidents. It is a firm and understandable position I'm sure many of us in the other affiliates can well respect. Quite simply: the elementary public teachers affiliate will continue it's EC [extracurricular] and voluntary activity boycott until they see some some concrete action on the government's part. Duh!

A negative social media backlash against OSSTF's recommendation that it's public secondary school teachers resume extracurriculars has been cited as a deciding factor in ETFO's decision. It is not believed that the ETFO rank + file members would be in favour of such a move either. The Toronto Star reported earlier todayETFO says No!

The Globe + Mail reports on this latest set back for Premier Wynne in the battle between the embattled OLP government and their once erstwhile allies, the Ontario teacher unions. See: Globe + Mail

Commentary: 

You can read OSSTF President Ken Coran's letter to his membership explaining why he recommended ending the boycott as a good will gesture to the government below. You can also read the response from the "We are the 80%" OSSTF  member group expressing much the same discontent as is noted by the Star. So far only OECTA has managed to keep the "lion in the cage". It's members attempt to complain against the teacher unions ratification of the OECTA MOU agreement on July 5th was dismissed by the OLRB due to it's inability to rule on the case, a key argument of the province executive in response to the members concerns. OECTA members will vote on a new executive during the first weekend of March Break, perhaps a good indication of the members support or lack thereof for the provincial Executive's actions..

A Local postscript on Social Media

Social media has clearly demonstrated this week that the union powers, or "bosses" in the worst case scenarios, of which their is no shortage, can no longer bend our member will or manipulate us through their control of communications. Well now we know why OECTA TSU is so vehemently opposed to my blog! It could be very interesting to watch how it works out if the current conspiracy plans for removing me from office to silence me are attempted in our upcoming local TSU unit election. 

Sometimes, the truth just needs to be told in full explicit detail. I hope whoever is trying to set me up has a pretty thick skin. I hear it's you GV. You have got to watch your mouth. Every time you say something about me everybody comes running to tell me. Tut tut. But there are others too. Right BH? Do you know how many supporters I have out there in TSU cyberland? No, I don't think any of you even grasp the situation. You are still thinking like in the old days

Quite frankly this blog often gets more readers in one day than your silly Highlight's magazine gets in a month or two. Few of us are interested in being hoodwinked anymore. We are not buying into the the OECTA "code of silence" either. I would strongly suggest you reconsider the folly of your ways before it is too late, but have it your way ...

Stay Tuned More To Come!

Post "Comments" below:

What Was Said: The Open Letter to Ken Coran!


Regular updated new links follow in blog below

"What Was Said" is a fairly regular School Edition Blogspot feature that shares public documents from all the different teacher affiliates. It is to share information that can help all of us as professionals be knowledgeable + make important decisions in solidarity about our mutual concerns.

This open letter is shared from the "We are the 80%" Face Book page  . Visit them at: 80%'ers!



An open letter to:Ken Coran, President, OSSTF
Written by Jim Stringer, OSSTF District 3

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From: Jim Stringer, Strike Captain, Manitoulin S.S.

To: Ken Coran, President, OSSTF
OSSTF Provincial Executive
OSSTF Provincial Council

Dear Ken,

People in public office rarely hear anything but complaints. The occasions on which they are thanked for the difficult work they do and the challenging decisions they must make on behalf of the people they represent are few and far between. So I begin by thanking you - and all of our elected representatives both provincial and local, as well as all the talented staff who work to support you - for your ongoing work on behalf of federation members. I respect your dedication and your efforts to provide the best possible service to us. That said, I must register my grave concern with the current situation regarding contract discussions with the provincial government.

Last Friday, the Provincial Executive (PE) unanimously recommended to Provincial Council (PC) that members suspend their political action around extracurricular/voluntary activities (xc’s). After considerable debate, this motion was supported by a majority of PC. This decision was based on a review of progress made in recent discussions with the province. As a result of communication issues outside your control, exacerbated by media that are unable or unwilling to report these matters factually or accurately, by Friday evening many members, and most of the public, were convinced that we had been directed to resume xc’s. That erroneous impression was has been somewhat ameliorated amongst us via subsequent communications, though not amongst the general public, including our students. In any case, the withdrawal of xc’s, the lone remaining weapon in our fight against Bill 115 imposed working conditions, is in serious question. Members feel betrayed and abandoned. This outcome was neither accidental nor unforeseeable. In fact, it should have been anticipated.

It is clear that PE and PC were satisfied with the results that had been achieved through withdrawal of xc’s, ie. a resumption of discussions with the province. Indeed, your communications to us spoke of “significant progress”. Your Sunday memo itemized some of that progress. Those details were incomplete and I awaited further details, which were revealed to us Monday afternoon at a meeting of strike captains and rules committee members here in District 3. I was initially at a loss for polite words to express my reaction to that information, but will attempt to do so now.

To be fair, those details represent some potential improvements on our current imposed working conditions. For example, further discussions may tweak the short term sick leave plan which replaced our stolen sick leave banks. Future changes to the grid structure would not be imposed (at least by this government) and the number of unpaid days could be reduced, as I understand it. That said, issues of great importance, particularly to our younger members, are conspicuous by their absence. In particular, there is no mention of even potential improvement on the losses suffered as a result of restricted grid movement. Even more troubling, there is nothing of any significance evident to address the tens of thousands of dollars lost by many of our members as a result of the province’s theft of their gratuities. In short, it is painfully clear that our leadership has accepted the most significant strips to our collective agreements in decades and is no longer prepared to fight against the almost certainly permanent loss of significant benefits accumulated over many years of hard fought negotiations.

It was suggested that discussions with the province should yield results in a matter of weeks. On that basis I assume that sometime not long after March break we will be presented with a tentative memorandum of understanding with the province. Based on all the evidence available to me it is clear that even the best case possible for such a memorandum will fail to achieve the results that I believe a majority of OSSTF members still expect and which all deserve. As such, I will be actively opposing it. Please know that, while I speak for myself in this letter, it would be extremely naive of you to assume that my concern is not shared by many.

As I draw to a close, let me reiterate what I began with. I appreciate that you and the PE have worked, and continue to work, diligently and in good faith to achieve what you believe to be the best possible outcome in this challenging situation. I thank you for that. That said, I must say, in the strongest terms, that the best possible outcome you can now achieve is inadequate and represents a disservice to all, and particularly to our younger members who will have to look forward to a career of bitterness at both the government and their own union. As a teacher in Ontario since 1987, I am sadly familiar with the former; the latter would be new. Your members deserve better, and I assure you that they are prepared to do what is necessary to achieve it.

Earlier drafts of this letter suggested that you and the PE should resign. That was based on what I and many others see as a failure of leadership evidenced by an effective rollover on key bargaining issues, an apparent abandonment of a membership committed to a long term struggle to regain what was lost and the adoption of a strategy guaranteed to create major rifts and internal strife amongst that membership. On reflection, that seems both excessively confrontational and unhelpful to the situation. What I ask instead is that you undertake at the earliest possible opportunity, and certainly before you proceed further down the path of discussion with the province, to survey the membership on the issue. Are we willing to accept the strips? If not, are we prepared to stand firm until we achieve a satisfactory resolution. I am confident that you will be surprised by the strength of the resolve of the membership.

Thank you for your patience in reading this lengthy submission. I look forward to your response.

Jim Stringer

More We are 80% info, related news-links + response follows in the blogs below!

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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Released: The OECTA MOU OLRB Ruling!


Pundits: Ready! Steady! Go ... Here is the OLRB link to the full ruling: OLRB OECTA Ruling
News Flash: OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer sent out a tweet at approximately 7:30 onTues Feb. 26:
 "Complaint to OLRB against OECTA MOU process dismissed - OLRB confirms OECTA's actions consistent w/  OLRA"

Wednesday morning OECTA issued the following press release:  
TORONTO – Yesterday, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) dismissed the complaint against the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) brought forward by four parties representing local OECTA units, following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government.
In his decision, OLRB Chair Bernard Fishbein stated that the facts outlined in the applications ”do not make out any possible violations of the Ontario Labour Relations Act and are therefore dismissed.”
“This decision re-affirms that the local presidents and the Provincial Executive established a process in good faith, with the best interest of the membership in mind, and consistent with our obligations under the OLRA,” says OECTA President Kevin O’Dwyer.   During the past several months, OECTA’s Council of Presidents and Provincial Executive worked collaboratively to develop a new bargaining procedure to address the members’ concerns about ratification of future provincial deals. Adds O’Dwyer, “This is the best place to address the concerns of the members, and will strengthen our position as we anticipate a new provincial bargaining process as identified by Premier Wynne.”     

One remains surprised with the summary. Indeed the the conclusion of Chair Fishbein's verdict, quoted above, reads as follows:
 Accordingly for the reasons outlined above, even if all the facts alleged in the applications are true, these applications do not make out any possible violations of the Ontario Labour Relations Act and are therefore dismissed.
[Emphasis mine]

Victory would seem to be Mr. O'Dwyers as he lays claim in his email. However, the "reasons outlined" for his decision by Mr. Fishbein consist of 43 detailed points in his 21 page ruling. Far be it for me to be able to analyse let alone publish the full verdict here on my blog, as I usually do, due to it's great length + depth. A weblink to the full text has been provided for your own perusal.

It will be interesting to see the various complainants' analysis and response. I would assume that this will be provided by some of the larger units in the days ahead.

However, one wonders: Fishbein clearly suggests that the judgement wasn't based upon the actual complaint details, in either the local unit's or the M7's complainant's case about the OECTA MOU ratification process. Did the OLRB instead rule as OECTA requested, that the complaint be dismissed without a hearing? 

Indeed, OECTA Provincial made two attempts to have the complaints dismissed before they could be heard. The arguments basically were that they couldn't be ruled upon by the OLRB under the OLRA or Bill 115. I can't recall the complaints themselves ever being dealt with in any depth beyond the original presentation at the November 26th hearing. You can find out more details about the hearings on these previous blogs in which I covered the case:

Feb 5th hearing: OECTA MOU OLRB 2

Nov 26 hearing: OECTA MOU OLRB 2

Nov 26 hearing: More Hearing Minutes

Metro 7 OLRB MOU Complaint: M7 Manifesto

It seems OECTA Provincial did not violate the labour act. OK. How so? We will have to wait to see, which could take a lawyer or two or three. Whatever the answer, I am still concerned because as we know one can do lot's of things using any rules, but it still doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. 

Might I humbly submit in the meantime that the reader carefully consider paragraph 28 of the OLRB reading. It seems the internal workings of our OECTA constitution are not in fact the purview of the OLRB, as OECTA argued. However Chair Fishbein does not rule on whether the constitution was violated in the spirit or the letter of the by-laws. He states: 

28. What the applicants complain about is the conduct of OECTA in reaching its accommodation reflected in the MOU with the Government. They say it violates the constitution and bylaws of OECTA and attacks OECTA’s core values. Whether that is an accurate characterization or not, the Board has repeatedly stated that it is not a “watchdog for internal union affairs”. It is not for the Board to enforce the constitution and bylaws of any particular union. There are other forums in which that can be done. Unlike the unique provisions for trade unions in the construction industry (see for example sections 147 to 149 of the Act which explicitly give the Board authority and jurisdiction to do this in certain circumstances); section 74 has no such reach. 

The OECTA MOU: Much confusion still exists!

Further, as Mr. Fishbein notes, the complaint would need to be between the teachers + our employer for section 74 of the labour act to apply. The MOU certainly muddies these waters. Only then could he rule on the actual complaints, otherwise not. In no way did Mr. Fishbein render a verdict on the legitimacy of the complainants' case, only that it could not be ruled upon by the OLRB. In paragraph 32 he states:
34. I refer again to those cases at paragraph 25 supra, that OECTA pointed me to where the obligation to communicate (and ratify) as part of the duty of fair representation did not cover those situations which were not exactly negotiating a collective agreement (Loblaws, supra, A&P, supra). But more importantly, fundamental to being a collective agreement is that it be between an employer and a trade union. Whatever the MOU is – social contract, how OECTA might choose to characterize it, “sell-out”, as some of the applicants might choose to characterize it, or whatever – it is not with the applicants’ employers, but with the Government of Ontario. To put it starkly, if OECTA as a stakeholder was invited to or involved in consultations with the Government about amendments to the Labour Relations Act, the Education Act or any applicable piece of legislation (which no doubt also could dramatically affect terms and conditions of employment of teachers – See those sections or regulations under the Education Act that deal with mandatory teachers’ duties just by way of example) – is that interaction with the Government subject to the reach of the Board in section 74? I do not think so. 
 Also please stay tuned for a lot more informed analysis in the days ahead as the real experts take this verdict to pieces + come up with the answers!

Post your Comments below:

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

What Was Said: The OSSTF Letter

Regular updated news links follow on next blog.

Preamble: 

This letter is published without prejudice as are all public documents of interest to us as teachers regardless of our affiliation for information purposes.



The following link to We are the 80% provides a grass response to OSSTF's decision. It is also being added for balance. See: 80%'ers


Intro


Here is the complete text of the email letter OSSTF sent to it's tens of thousands of members regarding the union's recommendation of a resumption of extracurricular + voluntary activities. It was shared + discussed in the legislature on Tuesday. Also in family homes,  coffee shops + pubs across the province. It can be found on the internet. In short it is hardly a secret anymore. It has become a publicly available document like the others that I share here. Welcome to Marshal McLuhan's global village!

I am sure many of us would like to know what was really said as teachers regardless of our different affiliates.  It is shared, as are documents from all the affiliates + various groups on this blog for your information, so we are knowledgeable and informed about the important teacher union issues we all face. 

I have been questioned by OSSTF on why I am posting the email letter here and have replied as above, in good faith, with what I honestly believe is a practical and realistic understanding of public information in our new communications age during the 21st Century. Many folk have expressed appreciation that my blog is one of the few places anywhere that such teacher information, ideas and discussion can still flow freely at the grassroots level between us all, and it is with this good faith in which I post the following:

February 24, 2013

Dear Colleague

On behalf of the Provincial Executive, I want to begin by thanking you for your continued engagement, and extraordinary solidarity. During these past difficult months, you have been engaged in one of the longest collective and most complex actions in OSSTF/FEESO history. This has been a difficult and complicated time and your Provincial Executive knows the many challenges you have faced and the sacrifices you have made in order to fight for your right to collective bargaining. 

In September, the Provincial Executive developed and agreed on a long-term fight-back strategy regarding the negative repercussions of the recently introduced Bill 115. This united strategy was shared with Bargaining Unit Presidents and Chief Negotiators at a meeting held on September 7, 2012.The strategy was based on three guiding principles:

Ø  To create an environment in which to bargain an acceptable deal.
Ø  To ensure that the government of the day will know that there are consequences for attacking the rights of education workers.
Ø  To demonstrate to OSSTF/FEESO members that their union will not allow their rights to be eroded and abolished.

It stated the following:

Rationale:
OSSTF/FEESO has made it clear from the initial discussions about bargaining that establishing the rules under which bargaining was to take place was necessary to ensure a fair and democratic process for all parties. The current rules that provide the parameters for collective bargaining are found in the Ontario Labour Relations Act. OSSTF/FEESO has made it clear publicly that we would be following the Ontario Labour Relations Act processes and that is the basis for the future actions that OSSTF/FEESO will be taking on behalf of members.

Steps in the Plan:
  1. All affected bargaining units that have not previously taken strike votes will take strike votes by September 26, 2012.
  2. All affected bargaining units will apply for Conciliation and a No Board Report in an order that will be determined by Provincial Office. The order will be communicated to Presidents and Chief Negotiators via a memo to be released early this week.
  3. All affected bargaining units will likely begin to be in a legal strike position by October 11, 2012.
  4. Strike actions, including everything up to, but not including, a full withdrawal of services, will commence as was discussed at the June membership meetings. However, the initial strike actions will be designed according to the bargaining situation at that time. We will forward that document early this week as well.
  5. If the Government takes any action against any affected OSSTF/FEESO bargaining unit, extra-curricular activities will be withdrawn across the province. These actions may include steps to impose a collective agreement (the OECTA Memorandum of Understanding) or moves to create a regulation that declares our activities illegal, which would then trigger our extra-curricular response and the Government will have to answer to students and parents.
If OSSTF/FEESO is able to bargain an acceptable deal, it must be taken to the Minister of Education for approval. If the Minister rejects the deal, then the Government has to answer for that decision. This would also trigger the withdrawal of extra-curricular activities across the province.”

Your local leadership was asked to share this plan with you. Since September 7, your solidarity in implementing this plan has resulted in a number of significant achievements that have lead us to this juncture in our fight.Together our actions:

  • Stole the ability of the Liberals to form a majority government through our united actions and hard work in the Kitchener- Waterloo by-election on September 6, 2012.
  • Influenced Dalton McGuinty’s decision to resign his Premiership – a resignation that occurred a few short days after a meeting with heads of unions across the province and a mere few weeks after he publicly mused about seeking a fourth term as Leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario.
  • Forced a Liberal Leadership Convention which caused a full internal review of the party’s political position.
  • Kept Laurel Broten from seeking the leadership of her party by focusing on her role in the Liberals’ anti-teacher/anti-education worker agenda. This also highlighted the unacceptable shift in the party’s direction.
  • Forced the Liberals into an early repeal of Bill 115 – a piece of legislation that they fully intended to keep on the books for at least three years because it included the ability to extend imposed conditions on us for a third year.
Throughout the fall, while all of these political events were occurring, OSSTF/FEESO representatives were meeting with Government and school board officials to modify the OECTA MoU and create a fair, acceptable collective bargaining process. Those discussions also impacted the Government’s agreement with CUPE.

The magnitude of these achievements can be directly related to your collective action and solidarity with the Provincial Executive strategy.More recently and since the selection of Kathleen Wynne as the new Premier, many meetings, both formal and informal, have been held to develop a process to properly address OSSTF/FEESO concerns.During the past two weeks, representatives from OSSTF/FEESO have engaged in high level discussions with the Government. These representatives include the Teacher/Occasional Teacher and Support Staff Ad Hoc Advisory Work Groups, provincial negotiators and the Provincial Executive.
These discussions focused on OSSTF/FEESO identified issues and were structured to achieve appropriate solutions. Substantial progress was made at the most recent meeting with government representatives on Thursday, February 21. At this time, the three guiding principles that were integral in our strategic plan were realized.As a result of this progress, the provincial negotiators unanimously recommended the following motion to the Provincial Executive:

“That the Provincial Executive recommend to members that we suspend our political actions related to extra-curricular and voluntary activities.”

After a thorough debate, the Provincial Executive also unanimously supported the recommendation. The Provincial Executive and provincial negotiators presented all the information related to the discussions and the associated motion to both Ad Hoc Advisory Work Groups. These Work Groups include a total of 28 local presidents and local chief negotiators who represent the geographical and bargaining unit diversity of our 60,000 members.  The Ad Hoc Advisory Work Groups also strongly endorsed the motion.

On Friday, a full report was presented to all local bargaining unit presidents and other members who comprise Provincial Council. Provincial Council is OSSTF/FEESO’s decision-making body between Annual Meetings. The following motion was presented:

“BE IT RESOLVED THAT Provincial Council endorse the following motion passed by the Provincial Executive: That the Provincial Executive recommend to members that we suspend our current political action related to extra-curricular and voluntary activities.”

This motion was strongly endorsed by Provincial Council.

A strategy was developed to communicate the outcomes of the discussions held during Provincial Council in a timely and appropriate manner. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond the Provincial Executive’s control, the information was communicated to the press which negated the ability for the appropriate communication strategy to be employed. The information was leaked by a person in the Provincial Council meeting which was being conducted in Executive Session in order to prevent just such an event from occurring. This was highly problematic in that members heard the results of the discussion from the media and not their local leaders or Provincial Office. This is not characteristic of how OSSTF/FEESO commits to operating. 

From the very beginning of this fight, we have been clear that it is a fight to restore our collective bargaining rights.As a result of the meetings held with the Wynne administration the government has committed to put in place an appropriate team of representatives that excludes bankruptcy lawyers, but includes education and labour relations experts . This newly appointed central table team, along with OSSTF/FEESO representatives is tasked with reviewing and resolving OSSTF/FEESO priority issues.

Some of these issues include:

  • The development of a bargaining structure/process that will allow for local bargaining in this current round, and in future rounds. The government has communicated its understanding of the necessity of local bargaining to reach resolution. In addition, we will utilize the OLRA process that allows mid-term amendments to collective agreements.
  • A commitment to ensure fairness and consistency in the application of terms imposed. and those under negotiated MoUs, i.e. job security for support staff.
  • Any future changes to the grid structure would not be imposed.
  • A commitment to form a Working Group to examine a future OSSTF/FEESO Provincial Benefits Plan.
  • The parties are committed to look for fiscally neutral alternatives to unpaid day(s).
  • The government has offered multiple meeting dates in the near future (as early as this week) at OSSTF’s discretion, and will ensure that key personnel will be present at those meetings.
  • The Government acknowledges the importance of local bargaining and the parties recognize the need to develop options to ensure that solutions achieved at a central table discussion are implemented at the local level. OSSTF/FEESO representatives will be involved in the development of these options.
As I have said publicly, we know it is likely that about 20% of the membership will likely never return to participating in voluntary/extracurricular activities; we also know that about 20% have already returned/will immediately return to participate in voluntary/extracurricular activities and we also understand that about 60% of you will make your personal decision about whether the system deserves a return of your good will based on tangible results.  That is your personal decision, as it has always been, but in either case, do not short change the achievements your participation in our collective action strategy has resulted in to date. The Provincial Executive recognizes that each member will make individual and personal decisions regarding extra-curricular and voluntary activities.

In Solidarity,

Ken Coran, President

News links, member responses etc are included in the next blog!

Post Comments below:

Monday, 25 February 2013

Mid Winter Teachers News Link Digest

News link updates below + throughout. Acronym Guide on Jan 13 blog. 

Teacher News

ETFO won't back down on EC's until they see some concrete actions on the governments behalf. Seeing is believing. Read the full story on my Feb 28 blog.



ETFO's Sam Hammond stays the course!

CBC news reports: CBC

Globe + Mail reactions: Globe

The Ottawa Citizen reports: Ottawa

Kim Zarzour monitors the Twitter response + "We are the 80%": Twitter

Urgent: CTV article bad mouths ETFO + then includes poll on whether you support their decision. Vote now + share link!! See: Vote 4 ETFO!

MOE Sandals asks to know what ETFO wants. Duh. See: She doesn't know?!?

Public Boards threaten to fight ETFO over EC's. Actually that all ready began with the current ETFO WTR OLRB test case. Seems they are telling ETFO now to volunteer or else. We ave a word for that at OECTA TSU. The board has "voluntold" what to do. Ho boy! See + weep at the sheer stupidity: Hey! You were voluntold what to do!



OSSTF's Ken Coran + MOE Liz Sandals share a laugh.

Jim Stringer's "Open letter" posted on OSSTF's "We Are the 80%" Facebook Page responds to President Ken Coran's "recommendation" letter [see my Feb 26 blog] in no uncertain terms. Visit the new Facebook page for the full story. Woooo-Weee! I am also posting the open letter on my Feb 28 blog in solidarity! As teachers at the grassroots level we all need to be able to be say what we think and be heard. More OSSTF news below. Visit the new 80% site atWe Are The 80%!


OECTA TOTL [Toronto Occasional Teachers] : The "Teach Hard" blog provides a real hard line take on the difficulties of being a Catholic OT and of getting a fair full time hire with the TCDSB in Toronto. Tons of stats. Strongly worded. Passionate. Fair + transparent hiring has been a real big issue for OECTA and it sounds like all is still not well, MOU clause notwithstanding according to the writer[s] on this blog. See: Teach hard Toronto

Here's the Disenfranchised OECTA Teachers Link. They wrote the OECTA Bill of Rights which I forwarded to the OECTA Task force. I am also including a link to my blog on their efforts. Haven't heard much from your crew for while. Please update us here. I will post. See:

Face Book Page:  Go here!

Blog:  Go there!

Don't forget Rank + File Education Workers Toronto! Their pub is Friday nite [see side bar]. There website isSupport Rank + File!



Change.org circulates an on line petition: No EC's or return to business as usual until a freely negotiated and ratified Collective Agreement is in place. The petition is addressed
to both MOE Liz Sandals and OSSTF President Ken Coran. See: A No Petition

It is great to see indie teacher sites sprouting up all over to carry on the good fight from a grassroots level. I highly encourage you to visit and share the link for the 80%'ers above. If you have started one up let me know so I can let teachers know. Please remember this is an all affiliate news site, so all are welcome. In Solidarity!

Before anyone complains + to be completely fair, if there is a site for the 20% who approve of the EC recommendation or a teacher petition to resume EC's, I will include the link too, without prejudice, on my blog if it is forwarded to me. We consider ALL points of view here!
Large ETFO Rally outside Trillium board offices with members joining in from across the province. They still await the results of their OLRB WTR case. Protest theme is "Justice + Respect". Local teachers very poorly treated with this complaint. Low morale within schools. Much speculation it is silently being supported by the public boards across the province as a test case.  Details + hopefully photos to follow.
CHEX TV video reports on big ETFO hullabaloo outside Trillium offices: ETFO Rocks Trillium!! 

Trillium discloses 95,000 in legal fees for OLRB, claims it's "not much". Board also claims 90% of high school EC's are back up + running since OSSTF announcement [?!] See: Not much!?



ETFO KPR VP Bill Betz + members proudly wear their "I am ETFO" t-shirts in defiance of a ridiculous Senior Board Administration threat to discipline teachers because they are "unduly influencing" students" when they see the shirts. Is it a big dangerous secret that their teachers are standing up for free collective bargaining and democratic rights?!? Or that we belong to a, God forbid, "teacher union"?!? For shame KPR!!! Teacher support has been widespread + without incident. Teachers have even taken to wearing the t-shirts all week, not just on Fridays. The School Edition blog salutes ETFO KPR for their principled stand + refusal to be bullied! In solidarity!

OECTA MOU OLRB decision released! See my Feb 27 blog. The complaint was dismissed but there seems to be a lot more to that then what OECTA Provincial is alluding to in their press release. We wait with baited breathe for the complainants response too. Here's the OECTA news statement: OECTA MOU OLRB statement

The ETFO OLRB decision could come anytime. OECTA's is out now, so Chair Fishbein must be really rolling up his sleeves + getting down to it. No small task!



ETFO MOE rally: Anybody else still going the protest route?!? Alas.

Globe + Mail Business Section article seems delighted we have agreed to remove guaranteed inflation security removed from our pension. Of course it will be grandfathered for our grandfather teachers, sorta like myself, but not so for those starting out. See: Pension Bluez

OSSTF Letter Verses We Are 80%

The OSSTF letter recommending a resumption of EC's has been posted on my separate Feb 26 blog. You will recall I have printed similar publicly available documents from all the affiliates including OECTA + EFO for our teacher information purposes as educated professionals who can read and think for ourselves. So this letter too, is printed without prejudice against the union. I am not centring OSSTF out any more than any other. Response has been overwhelming. I am posting here the info forwarded to me that might be of interest to our OSSTF readers. 



J26 to now: OSSTF EC's yay or nay?

"We are the 80%" also has posted the following contact info. It was provided by + for OSSTF members who would like to contact their elected representatives to express their pleasure or concern over OSSTF's decision. A member's election prospectus is also provided for those who might want to consider their next vote in light of the EC decision. It is your democratic right, be it yay or nay. You will recall I also did this for the OECTA PE + COP MOU votes too. 


The OSSTF Provincial executive (voting members) are as follows

Ken Coran, President            corank@osstf.on.ca
Paul Elliott, VP                        elliop@osstf.on.ca
Harvey Bischof, VP              bischh@osstf.on.ca
Cindy Dubue, Ex Off             dubuec@osstf.on.ca
Scott Marshall, EO              marshs@osstf.on.ca
Leslie Wolfe, EO                wolfel@osstf.on.ca
Earl Burt, Treasurer            burte@osstf.on.ca

Pierre Cote (cotep@osstf.on.ca) is the General Secretary, our top staff person. Also, please note that Ken & Scott are moving on, Paul is standing unopposed for President, Cindy, Harvey & Leslie are running for VP, Earl is running against one challenger for Treasurer, and we have 4 new faces running for the 3 EO positions 



Ken Coran on CP24 Monday Feb 25 9:30 am. Members are divided.

What happened at OSSTF?!? 

OSSTF Pressident Ken Coran speaks on Tuesday Metro Morning. Audio clip at: CBC 

OSSTF pushes for mid term contract amendments, no grid changes, removal of unpaid days, + regulation 274 Fair hiring practices [but see Teach Hard link below]. Also a union run health + benefits plan. Concern cited over students transferring to Catholic schools. Sandals adamant it's about process + no new money is available Wynne is mum at QP. See: OSSTF

OSSTF Press Conference on CP24 Monday at 9:30 am. President Coran said that the membership is divided on the return to extracurriculars. He will need to show concrete results to get the 60% of the undecided members to reconsider. The public should just assume EC's will return immediately. They are voluntary. He said that there is a proper labour negotiating process in place now, where there hadn't been before. He noted the whole past year never should've been necessary. He hopes the results will begin to be made available this week. There are new central and local bargaining negotiations to take placeHe also noted that a news blackout will be involved in the upcoming negotiations.

Here's a video of the media conference from the OSSTF website: Video



Life was so much more clear cut when we were young ....

OSSTF estimates 20% of public secondary school teacher members will continue to boycott EC's, 20% will resume, and 60% are undecided. Email letter over the weekend lists union priorities including local CB protections, mid term CA changes, and no grid changes. After heated debate Friday most locals agreed to trust their provincial leadership. Reasons against EC's cited. See: OSSTF Letter

Here's an updated copy of the Globe + Mail report since the media conference: Update

Here's a good summary: Kim Zarzour reports on this mornings media conference: Summary   

Toronto Star Editorial encourages a return to EC's. See: Star says yes!

OSSTF Upper Midlands hesitant to return to EC's. Teachers are strictly deciding by individual choice, as always. Local ETFO President expects a provincial announcement Match 1st: March 1st?

OSSTF York Region EC's not happening. Student group starts petition. See: York no!



Tim: "Once I told a whopper About teachers this big!"

Much uncertainty in Halton over return of EC's. Remember, this is a teacher not a so called "union boss" decision, so go put that in your pipe Tim Hudak with whatever else it is you are smokin' these daze! We need your help like a hole in the head! See: What's Tim Smokin'?

OSSTF Sudbury member estimates majority still feel angry with the way they have been treated. Not ready to go running back to embrace EC's. See: Not Happy Campers!

Hamilton OSSTF teachers angered by "No Promises" deal on extracurriculars. Fight is being carried across the province via social media. You can also watch Toronto high school teacher Jason Kunin's CBC interview here. Jason rocks!! SeeOSSTF EC's?

Extracurriculars yay or nay? Teacher Jason Kunin speaks on CBC Metro Morning followed by MOE Liz Sandalsl. Ha. See: Jason speaks!

Returning teachers not "feeling the love". One volunteers to do an EC then parents + the public start demanding it , getting critical + indignant. The damage has been done? KW reports: Gee thanks! 

There is also a leaked agenda for Monday's meeting between ETFO + the MOE making the rounds which has apparently been an eye opener for some. Will post if see.



In related news see my "Union Politics: Life with the Lions" blog below.

Other Teacher News



OECTA TECT delegates including President Mario Bernardo [5th from left] with Provincial's James Ryan + Sonia DiPetta at the "Workers Rights" meeting this weekend. No to Right to Work [for less!]

Michelle Hurst provides a graph of a first year teacher's attitude towards teaching. Her advice? "Keep calm + carry on!" Isn't it the truth! Best wishes to her + all our new teachers this year. Check out her blog. I really like this one: First Year Teacher Blog

Article claims that in multicultural Ontario student's will be disenfranchised without more diverse teachers. Males + aboriginals are also cited as being under represented. Others too. Boy this is something new! It's been ages since anyone even dared suggest males were underrepresented or disadvantaged. Not politically correct? See: Teacher Diversity?

Here's a little "pick me upper". Photos of the students at the TDSB Africentric school showing us how to line up quietly, also how to sing! See: Showing us how it's done!

This news story is getting a lot of traction: Windsor Essex Catholic student alleges gay bullying at school: Catholic + Gay

OISE to axe undergrad teacher training program? See:  Actually I like FEUT better

ETFO President Sam Hammond praises First Nations Human Right Tribunal as a "teachable moment". See: First Nation Human Rights


Party Politics

Tim Hudak seeks $12 million line of credit from a syndicate of banks for spring election. PC's deeply in debt place $8 million campaign spending limit on him. OLP would enter the race with $12 million plus. Confidence in Tim within own ranks seems unsteady at best. Worries he could bankrupt the party + lose. See:  $Tim$?

Live Legislature Webcast with a daily schedule. A great resource: House Webcast

What a great double bill! PC Hudak + NDP Horwath both on Thurs night TVO AGenda at 8 + 11 pm! Host Steve Paikin usually gets right to the point with his questions! No fluff!

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath compare's Tory statements about teachers to throwing gasoline on a fire to put it out. Tim says that although his motion was defeated he will bring it back once he forms the next government. See: Smokin'


Lisa: What b.s. should we feed them next boss?

Tuesday Feb 26 CP24 Interview at Noon: PC Education Critic Lisa McLeod to introduce new motion preventing teacher unions from "naming, blaming, shaming or penalizing" teachers who refuse to boycott extracurriculars. New motion won't make EC's mandatory, but won't allow unions to enforce EC WTR either. Teachers will be required to completely fill out all report cards. She claimed Wynne received a $10,000 donation from the teachers after she was elected premier. She is working for the unions, who through the "Working Families Coalition" is pushing for "lower standards and less work". She claims to have a leaked memo in which the teachers claim to have gotten rid of McGuinty, defeated the OLP and put Wynne into office. Only the PC's can stand up to us for families and students. Without OLP or NDP support the motion of course, will not pass, but don't doubt the Tory's have a real hate on for us. Motion to be introduced at QP 3:45 today. Expect full scale Harris like teacher attack to follow as Tim + Lisa get down + dirty. Here we go again!

Tim + Lisa continue for second day with teacher attacks in the legislature. See: Tim + Lisa


Both Wynne + Horwath supported teachers against Tory attacks. NDP stole the show! A++

PC Lisa McLeod goes on a total Tory rampage for us. Keep watching or you will miss the finale! The speaker makes her to withdraw a statement then tells her the time is up. Wynne does OK is holding her own but still seems to be finding her feet as premier to me.See: Tory! Tory! Tora!

MOE Liz Sandals says PC's only trying to stir up teacher issue for political gain. True enough. It's a nasty scapegoat attack copied from Harris eraSee: Tory hate on 4 teachers

A Path Forward? NDP's Andrea Horwath tells PC + NDP where it is at, especially with the teachers! Nice one. Real nice. Watch: A Homerun!



Thank you NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh for standing up for us in the legislature in no uncertain terms! 

As teachers we owe our gratitude to NDP members Peter Tabun + Jagmeet Singh for their immediate strong + vocal opposition to the PC's "illogical + undemocratic attack" on us at the Legislature when the motion was introduced. Rest assured it was defeated by the NDP + OLP. BTAIM the Tory war against teachers is back in full force + they will make as much news out of the motion as they can.

NDP Education Critic Peter Tabun provides us with this link to the Hansard with the full text of the motion debate on Tuesday Feb 26. Thanks Peter! See: Handsard Feb 26

Summary: NDP knock one out of the park! Queen's Park that is........ a crack team! Bravo!

Nasty! Nasty! Grr! Grr! The Sun News of course jumped on this story el pronto. See: Sun news



Premier Wynne receives standing ovation from OLP benches in legislature this morning for OSSTF announcement. Hope OLP doesn't assume everything's all right now. Link to follow.

PC Education Critic gets standing ovation from PC benches for demanding to know the "real cost" of the OSSTF deal. Ditto.

MOE Liz Sandals  retorts this is " ... not a reason to get angry." Ditto.

OSSTF agreement ended a very rough + tumble week for Wynne on a high note. She's going to need a lot more good news stories to survive the next election due to all the baggage McGuinty left behind. See: A Win 4 Wynne

Here is an outline of OECTA's next provincial election campaign "When You Speak For Children". It's a continuation of "Who Speaks for Children" from 2011. Basically it seems the attempt is to focus on getting our members engaged to speak out for education. Member participation was way down last time + the rank + file haven't exactly been encouraged to get politicized or in the know about issues since, so colour me reserved. The posters + videos are similiar to last time too, which I thought were very effective. Possibly we can focus more on this after we do a little housekeeping at UAGM in March because I'm sure that right now a lot of us just don't feel the love with how things have stood since July 5th. Talk about a disconnect. See: When You Speak For Children 

Martin Regg Cohn thinks Wynne will be in for a rough road ahead when it comes to sex ed curriculum. See: Sex Ed?

Former Finance Minister Dwight Duncan scores plum job with the Bay Street bosses. See: Thanks from the Bay St Bosses!

Sounds like Tory Alberta is about to follow OLP's teacher contract path: Alberta Next?

A little late: there has just been so much teacher news! CPC-ML Ontario Political Forum provides a series of critiques of the Throne Speech. Meet the new boss? Same as the old boss! Scroll down to read. There are a series of articles which carefully dissect the language of the speech to reveal the Wynne OLP is sticking to the corporate austerity agenda under a faux pas "fair society" and "respect for the workers + the poor" window shop front. Start here: Throne Speech Critique

In Other News



Sook Yin Lee + Olivia Chow

"Jack" Layton now a CBC made for tv movie, airing Monday March 10 at 8pm. Rick Roberts portryas Jack. Observes Canadian actress + songstress Sook Yin Lee who plays Olivia; "I wound up combining the reality of Olivia with the mytholog of Olivia and then adding a little of myself." The real Olivia comments: Jack!

Widespread trend of "dumping" on labour + trade unions is only in the interest of conservative media + big business. Here's why: Big bad unions?



School + parenting in the new century: Don't say no + make sure nobody ever fails?

This writer wants her daughter to fail. Why? Because we learn from failure + in the real world you need to be able to stand on your own two feet and take the good with the bad. Do we still teach that in school anymore? See: Failure can be good 4 you!

What's the most dangerous city in Canada for women? Toronto? Montreal? Vancouver? Nope! It's Thunder Bay + the number of assaults may be higher than the statistics suggest. Police risk assessment training is being proposed by one agency. See: Ugly Stats!

Whoa Nellie! Ikea diner stops selling it's popular meatball dish in Sweden while they test for horse meat. Canadian outlet's continue to offer meal. Seems safe though: Ikea says they are made in the US, not Sweden after all. Guess that's just the name of the meatballs. sort of like the "24 Hours" sign out front of the dry cleaning shop that takes 48 hours ... See: Neigh?



Fidel y Raul Castro in Habana this week. A threat to capitalism + our way of life? 

Cuban President Raul Castro plans to retire in 2018. He will place a 2 year term + an age limit upon the Presidency + other top political offices. 52 year old politburo member Miguel Diaz -Canal has been raised to the #2 position; the first post 1959 revolution leader to become top lieutenant + possible successor to the president. 

Since rising to the presidency in 2006 Raul has introduced a wide range of social and economic reforms moving the country towards a mixed economy. Raul says he will not change the socialist nature of the revolution but Cuba needs an orderly transfer of power to a younger generation. There's speculation the US will lift the 1961 embargo since neither Castro brother will be in power, a key Canada has not participated in the embargo and remains a major trade partner with Cuba, a popular Canadian sun destination, despite the US controversy over our support for the socialist state. See: Castro to retire



Walking Dead lives! Zombies! Zombies! Everywhere

Rogers TV denies AMC claim that they will not renew distribution agreement. "Walking Dead" viewers terrified Sunday evening when AMC ads warned they were going to miss the end of the season if Rogers didn't sign. "Walking Dead" is currently the #1 cable television drama series. A real kool Zombie video bar is located at bottom of the article: Walking Dead Lives!.

Recovering Ontario politico George Smitherman exclaims "Trudeau kicked the state out of my bedroom." See: PET

Pssst! Ditch the kiddies. Want to see Beyonce in the shower? Peek-a-boo! Yes, she has a sense of humour too. ;-) Click here: She's clean!

Time shifters? The 50th Anniversary of "Let's Make a Deal!" is on CITY TV at 10 am! Set your recorders now! Last day a teacher dressed up like a bumble bee, along with her boyfriend, who's head was made up like a flower won $2500 in designer purses. She traded that and won a trip to Washington. Then lost it all trying to win a car. Never a dull moment. Actually quite bizarre. Just like school + politics these days ...... but more fun. Put your feet up after work, get a buzz going and ...... er .... Just an idea! Am just trying to help! :-)

NASA Video explains just what the heck happened with that meteorite which hit Russia + why! Great Science lesson! A very teachable moment. See: Meteorite!

Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper: Not so stupid as he seems? Here is his Master's thesis on "The Political Cycle + Fiscal Policy in Canada". Guess what? He is well versed in Marx. See  page 24+ at: Comrade Harper


Prime Minister Harper knows! He's just a "con" [servative] ... :-)

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Youtube Bar: Afrika Bambaataa!

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Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!