Liz: MOU implementation?!? What MOU implementation????
It has been an interesting day for interviews on TV station CP 24 Toronto. At lunch CUPE President Fred Hahn appeared on the Steven LeDrew show. He announced that at least 4 school boards have refused to implement the controversial CUPE MOU [Memo of Understanding] agreement for the educational and school workers his union represents. When pressed, he would not name all the boards in question, which confuses me, but otherwise we know Fred is a very candid and credible speaker. * [ news links below ] Mid afternoon Education Minister Liz Sandals was interviewed live on air at the station. She'd obviously come to respond. Here, in a nutshell is what she said:
The MOE [Ministry of Education] cannot legally enforce the terms of the various controversial teacher union and CUPE MOU's. The contracts are between the school boards and the teachers, a situation Bill 122 will attempt to address more effectively for the upcoming round of provincial contract talks this year. In the case of CUPE sick days, the "Me Too" clause does not apply, because they negotiated a different plan than the teachers. Apparently that is clearly stated in their MOU.
Hey Kathleen! Did you see the look on their faces????
I have long been concerned with the very vague terms of the MOU's. They were hardly worded as concise contracts to begin with. They were little more than a general statement of terms, or rather simply a "memorandum", as the very term MOU suggests. Nonetheless, the teacher union negotiating teams, as well as CUPE, all agreed to them. It is rather like buying a "pig in a poke". They bought into the terms of the MOU, for whatever scraps were thrown their way, allowing the member contracts to be stripped of sick days, gratuities and so on. I suppose the vagueness of the MOU's was intentional in that it allowed the MOE a lot of wiggle room, as we are seeing now. Or "plausible deniability" as was said in the US President Richard Nixon years. Here are a few other issues I find particularly disturbing:
- why was OECTA in such a rush to sign off on the provincial MOU? The other teacher affiliates later signed it too. Why if they were not legally binding with the boards? Is this something the negotiating teams themselves weren't told? They all had lawyers didn't they, to figure it out? The MOU terms being discussed were very vague at the time for the members the unions represented, at the very least. Nor were the "terms" clearly spelled out in any of the MOU's that were subsequently presented for ratification. Only now are we clearly finding out what they did or didn't mean. Why was any of this allowed to happen?
Just how big a whopper has the OLP been feeding those teachers Liz?
-where does this leave the teacher union members and CUPE workers now that the Minister has in fact come clean, in no uncertain terms, and publicly washed her hands on implementing the terms of these bogus agreements? Unless a board wants to implement the MOU terms, then they are quite frankly not worth the paper they were printed on. Why would the unions have recommended ratification of the MOU's, or in OECTA Provincial Executives case actually ratified them themselves, when they are such a useless piece of paper? Let's face it, the MOU's are little more than ass wipe! I'm afraid there is no nice way to put it!
More: I'm sure you can think of the other questions that arise from today's statement yourselves, and perhaps add in the comment space below this blog, if you so please.
.... or something like that....!
Please note: There have been numerous blogs on the difficulty OECTA has had in implementing the MOU. Most date back to last May + June [the OECTA Devil + the Deep Blue Sea + Me Too?! series]. Also President Ryan's letter in November. These are included below.* * You can also find many other related links yourself in my Blog Archive. It is located directly below this column. The blogs are archived by Year, Month and Date, in chronological order.
In summary: The MOU BS just keeps piling up! The more it does, the more it becomes obvious how much the teacher union members have been kept in the dark about the MOU's; both with the negotiated terms and for that that matter with what has happened since as a result. The problem of teacher free speech is one issue, a very pressing one at that. One needs to be careful if you say so much as "boo", as indeed OECTA's Mr. Brock has found out. Even more disturbing, if that is possible, is the fact that the teachers were not even provided with the full information they were entitled to, before, during or after the MOU negotiations by their unions. For shame!
Thanks Ken! We know you can do it!
PS: If I am missing out on something here, please fill me in!
* = Today's News Links:
CUPE denounces MOE for MOU's not being implemented. Like ETFO + OSSTF they remain very concerned about the province's plans to negotiate this year's contracts under Bill 122 [the new School Board Collective Bargaining Act]. MOE argues it needs Bill 122 to implement deals but the trust is just not there. Why would it be? @ Fred Hahn today!
Here's the CUPE media release @ MOU implementation???
** = Some Background Archive Links:
My OECTA Study Guide with the MOU + supporting materials @ July 2012
OCSTA screwed Catholic Principals when left PDT talks @ July 2012
TCDSB agrees to OECTA MOU @ Aug 2012
OCSTA + COPC not happy campers @ Sept 2012
OECTA MOU Me Too controversy @ May 2013
OECTA Me Too? Or Me No? @ May 2013
Sick day plans + the unpaid medical leave crisis May 2013
OECTA verses the OSSTF sick day plan dilemma @ June 2013
ETFO summary of Bill 122 @ Oct 2013
OECTA President James Ryan's members' letter on MOU Implementation @ Nov 2013
Join me on Twitter: I regularly tweet related archive links + updated info. My hashtag is