Opening Statement



Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bill 122 + the Catholic Boards!

My Teacher + Union Acronym Guide is Here! 

It's good to see OECTA President James Ryan's blog from April 19th explaining the associations position on the passage of Bill 122 and the changes made to the bargaining process therewithin. I would like to examine some of these further, especially those relating to the situation with OCSTA in past negotiations over the years. You are of course now at a non affiliated teacher free speech site and we have discussed Bill 122 and its ramifications before, most notably on my blog + the reader Comments @ Here!



OECTA: Ask James Ryan ...

Firstly let's quickly dispense with a few housekeeping points, as controversial as they also might be. We can discuss these further in detail in the Comments section below if you so please. 

From: OECTA Bill 122 President's Blog: Some Key Changes:


- all collective agreements will now contain a central and a local component

- all collective agreements will be for 3 years unless otherwise agreed.

 -the scope of central, and therefore local, bargaining will be determined by the parties to the central table

- disputes over the scope of bargaining will be referred to the OLRB for resolution

- when notice to bargaining has been served at the central table it shall be deemed to have been serve 
at all local tables

- grievances may be filed and arbitrated at the central and local levels

- the employer and union must give five days’ notice prior to any strike or lockout

MY COMMENTS: There would seem to be some wiggle room here for determining the provincial verses local scope of these negotiations. However, since the negotiations are being held at the provincial level, and the province is the paymaster, I'm not sure how significant this actually is. The new fixed 3 year term of the collective agreement is interesting. Why 3 years? The five days notice is formalized here for the record. Catholic Board lockouts have been a nasty, contentious and pressing issue in years past for some of our units, for example with the TCDSB. Perhaps this will bring some relief?




Bill 122: What to do?!

From: OECTA President's Bill 122 Blog: On Centralization +OCSTA:


- school board associations (e.g. Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, OCSTA) will now be statutory bargaining agents representing all of the boards in their sector in central bargaining

- the provincial government and OCSTA will form the employer side of the English Catholic central bargaining table

- the province, OCSTA, and OECTA will all be bound by the duty to bargain in good faith under the OLRA.

- OCSTA and the provincial government must agree on employer positions at the central table

- OCSTA and the provincial government must agree to lock out or unilaterally change the terms and working conditions of members

- all boards will be required to pay fees to their statutory provincial bargaining agent (OCSTA)

- OECTA ratification will be by our processes (provincial and local all member votes)

- Government ratification will be by Cabinet

- OCSTA ratification will be by a double majority vote at the provincial level (majority of the boards representing a majority of the teachers) and by a trustee vote at the local level

MY COMMENTS:

It will be significant I would think that OCSTA is formally recognized as the sole statuary bargaining agent for the Catholic boards. This had been a bone of contention for the Catholic principals with the July 5th OECTA MOU. Guess they are SOL if they still think they should also be at the table representing themselves. Indeed, OCSTA threw them under the bus in 2012 [See Here! ]

Also significant will be the recognition that the province + OCSTA form the employer side and must be in agreement on the employers position at the negotiating table. OCSTA had some downright nasty and regressive demands on the table in the 2012 negotiations, a key reason OECTA was so keen to strike a deal quickly when they stormed out of the talks on the night of July 4 to 5th 2012 [See Here! ] . They will not be able to unilaterally take such an unreasonable, paternalistic hard ass position again. This must be a relief for the OECTA units, if we have an teacher and education friendly government sitting with them at the provincial bargaining table. But what if that's not the case? Picture what the Hudak PC's + OCSTA might decide and agree upon! OECTA + indeed all of the provincial affiliates will be screwed!


Timbo: [Rubbing his hands] If I win a spring election we can do what ....?!

It's good to see that it's also been formally recognized nobody will be demanding nor agreeing to any quick snap ratification of a contract agreement again like with the 2012 OECTA MOU. True OECTA has already made it necessary for all future contracts to be ratified by a membership vote unlike on July 5 2012 when it was done so unilaterally by the Provincial Executive. Hopefully the province however now also recognizes that they can't simply ask the teacher unions to jump, and only be asked how high, without it being taken back to the membership for approval first, regardless of how long that might take, or whether the province finds it convenient or not.

From: OECTA Bill 122 Presidents blog [continued ...]

Grants for Student Needs (GSN’s)

OECTA will be hosting it’s annual GSN seminar to review the content and the impact of government’s recent GSN announcement. The most notable aspect of the announcement was that the Government would not be funding school boards for salary grid movement until the 97th day of the year. OECTA’s position is that we expect that grid movement will happen on the first working day in September. Any board not paying Catholic teachers their correct grid salary in September can expect that an immediate grievance will be filed.


We continue to meet with the Minister of Education to resolve this issue. 

[So sayeth the president! Finis!]

MY COMMENTS: It's good to see OECTA publicly + directly state what their position is, like the other affiliates. It was pretty slow in getting out. I was searching the media sources, also the unit and provincial communiques for some time to include in my Teacher's Study Guide to Bill 122 blog.  It might've been shared but not openly and freely, suggesting that the OECTA Code of Silence still remains in place. Either that or OECTA has a very, very slow communication system. Not good. I'm glad to see James address these issues directly with the members via his blog. Hooray blogs! What a great idea! Hint .... hint ... hint ..............

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