Opening Statement



Tuesday, 17 March 2015

OECTA: On Manufacturing Consent!

My Blogsite Acronym Guide is @ Here!  



How to grow mushrooms? Don't let this be you!

It is horrific that OECTAs once well respected union principles were subverted so decisively at this weekend's 2015 AGM! These are especially dark times for those of us who fought so hard during the Harris Years. We dreamed of a strong representative Catholic teacher union for all of our members -not just some! We had hoped for better! Alas, for now, it is not to be!

Instead, we see a particularly hideous and repulsive casebook study. It demonstrates how to manufacture consent for a new and very powerful union partisan elite. It was a long time coming. It's strangle hold on the OECTA levers of power has been consolidated and is now complete!

Since 2012, OECTA has been deeply involved in the decidedly un-union act of "concession bargaining". However, now the executive decision making and control is firmly in the hands of a ruling un-elected "expert elite". They are propped up by a minion executive. A compromised COP. Add new, "mushroom head" AGM largely kept in the dark and fed shit. 

The final stages of this OECTA power coup d'etat are now complete!  OECTA has severed the final links of transparency, accountability and representation with it's rank and file grass root members. The grass roots have been neutralized and neutered. They are now only around to pay the bills for fat cat union fee increases. Improve their terms of employment. Vieing for special consideration in OECTA's contract talks as they march into the Orwellian years ahead!



In George Orwell's "Animal Farm", all the animal workers were equal, only some more so than others. Even the casual observer of the politics at OECTA AGM 2015 will wince at the heavy handed tactics used to grab more power for the struggling pro MOU forces! Did delegates sell out their union principles to get on the anointed "more equal" side? To therefore make sure a Jarvis-O'Dwyer-Hawkins triad finally won the day? It was not a pretty sight!

Pro MOU'er and 1st VP incumbent Ann Hawkins only narrowly defeated former OECTA TSU President and MOU opponent Rene Jansen to become the next provincial president, by a vote of 330 to 311. True the final tally shows that OECTA was very much a house divided, between those units who are "onside" with the new ruling elite, and those who are not. But no matter! Ann won. There is little to suggest that the fight for the greater balance of power with the remaining positions on the provincial executive was to be fought and won on an even playing field!

Regretfully, delegates learnt Saturday that 4 of the opposition candidates had resigned from the election race. An absurd, imposed OECTA "Cone of Silence" stops us from learning the reasons why! Maybe because the resignations were announced at the February COP meeting? Was that, like most COP meetings, held "in camera"? If so, the reasons are "off the record" and can't be shared! Bizarre! [Here]

There is the "letter of the law". Then there's the "spirit of the law". That's a blatant, subversion of justice that prevails on a technicality, with the very democratic nature of the election process and authority of the AGM assembly at stake! Instead of an election, the remaining candidates were all acclaimed, showing what a ridiculous clown show the OECTA Provincial election process has become!

Could that the same COP meeting also have approved an un-elected Personnel Committee decision to renew the top dog general secretary contract? Even though, following the usual process, it had been voted down by the duly elected OECTA provincial executive? Since the proceedings were "in camera" nobody could say "boo" without the fear of lost membership rights and privileges. So we might never know! 



Does that seem to much like a coup d' etat? As such unlikely to happen at the OECTA we once thought we knew and loved so well? Well, the OECTA expert elite executive and secretariat chess piece are now all firmly in place, with a decidedly pro 2012 MOU slant, for the current provincial Collective Bargaining talks! The next task then becomes manufacturing consent to consolidate it's authority despite what is otherwise a very suspicious power grab at best! 

The process began in earnest with great fanfare when Minister of Education [MOE] Liz Sandals arrived for her visit to the assembly! Delegates were invited to be a part of a greater cause against a familiar union demon, which the new power elite could now use to bring the membership back within the fold. The delegates were told to be dead silent for her arrival and speech. They then joined in a rousing chorus of that old union chestnut "Solidarity Forever" as she left. The excited delegates must've felt very empowered as a part of something bigger, with our expert elite now very conveniently leading the way! 

Regretfully, memories are far too short. My Teacher Free Speech Archive from March to July 2012 can help recall that the same MOE protest ploy was used at the March 2012 AGM. [HereWhere did it lead? In late June, President O'Dwyer, now the Contract Services Officer on the current OECTA provincial negotiating team [Here], denied OSSTF and ETFO's claim that a "secret deal" was imminent. [Yes][No] Then surprise! On July 5th, the OECTA MOU was ratified by OECTA provincial on the members behalf, in our absence, after we had all ready left for our summer holidays! [Here]



Might OECTA members rest assured that they are guaranteed a vote on the next MOU deal as OECTA provincial is so proud to point out? Is that any reassurance for OSSTF, ETFO and CUPE that more OECTA caution and reason will prevail? After the awful MOU debacle emboldened the OLP to rashly force the August 2012 Bill 115 OECTA "Road map" upon them? [HereRegardless of how power drunk OECTA got last round on the heady promises at the bottom of their OLP "red kool aid" wine glass?

All are highly unlikely for a number of reasons. Let's consider what has happened with the quite reasonable internal dissent over the unfair and uneven representation resulting from the 2012 MOU. The archive is rife with examples of OECTA's efforts to manufacture consent by isolating, and making scary examples of those who don't go along with the status quo! They were invariably crushed with extreme prejudice by OECTA even without its new virtually unlimited powers. As the December 2013 Teacher Free Speech News Archive shows, OECTA did not hesitate diabolically using Bill 115 against it's own members to prevent them from having their complaints heard by the OLRB! [Here] [Halton] [Sudbury] [Metro 7]

Doubt not; it's still open season on OECTA dissidents! We can again look in the archive for many examples of OECTA manufacturing consent to isolate, and set negative examples of those who don't go along with the status quo! Check out the November 2013 "Ask Angelo" questions [Here] [Here] and Feb 2014 Canadian Civil Liberty letter blogs. [HereThey concern "dismissed" former Halton Elementary President and MOU dissident Richard "Bad Boy" Brock who publicly spoke out against the contract for lack of fair representation when his members needs were being repeatedly ignored! [Here] [Here]



How was an appointed Discipline Committee ever allowed to remove a duly elected union president? [HereWhy have we never learnt the answers to the many letters and questions? [Here] [HereWhy was everything but the kitchen sink thrown at Richard afterwards by provincial? Even though it had nothing to do with his case? Is it related to the gag order silencing him from now pursuing or discussing the matter further?

Unfortunately, nothing has changed! Even as OECTA's coup d'etat unfolded this weekend, Twitter was rife with frustrated and disenfranchised OECTA members who feel they can't get their concerns otherwise properly addressed. Membership fees continue to be readily used to issue "cease and desist orders" to shut them up. Reporters are sniffing around, so far unsuccessfully, trying to get victim statements about the increasingly dictatorial like actions, behaviour and the prevailing OECTA "Culture of Fear" [Here]. None of it is very encouraging if the goal is still truly justice for all members! Far from it!



It would be very foolish to think that the new OECTA tiger has changed stripes! The OECTA AGM 2015 backdrop for manufacturing consent, beside the recycled MOE "Solidarity Forever" strategy, was the initial contract offer. [Here] A realistic appraisal is that it shows quite clearly OECTA is willing to allow the Liberal government to consolidate the bargaining concessions from 2012 as the new status quo. Not status quo plus, as was OECTA's CB mantra in years past. Provincial bargaining also trumps local, another now forgotten key OECTA CB tenet. Lost sick days? Gratuities? The appetite for the good fight has once again seemingly given way to a Vichy mentality of co-option and appeasement! [VichyPossibly secret side deals too? Or whatever table scraps the OLP will toss OECTA's way?

OECTA wasted no time at AGM 2015 pursuing it's manufacturing consent agenda for the new power elite! No motions were passed on the first day of the assembly. What was the real order of business? Outgoing President James Ryan speech encouraged the delegates to become "OECTA activists" in defining the struggle against OCSTA's particularly vile and nasty initial contract proposal [Here]. Leave it to the Catholic trustees for a vile, loathsome and odious, first class devil of an offer to rally the troops. For them, the 2012 MOU is but a start, to building further upon, with the MOE's tacit, strategic support, for now anyway. Although nobody at OECTA would want that of course, especially James, it provides a handy tool for jump starting, rallying and continuing the teacher protest for many many months to come! Was it any coincidence that offer was distributed to the members first in a separate letter?

In contrast, OECTA's initial offer is a big improvement over the trustees', though not the 2012 OECTA MOU which it little challenges. Will the members now rally around OECTA Provincial, defacto ratifying the original much despised 2012 MOU bargaining concessions with their proud, newly granted FTE contract vote [Here!]? Instead of the less palatable offered by the trustees? Complete the unfinished business of 2012? Give the Liberals what they wanted on a platter; happily, signed, sealed, and delivered in but another ongoing and unseemly comprimise of union principles? With a thankful membership, reunited in a struggle against the less palatable trustee offer? fight that they might win?



Set ones standards low enough, and who knows, anything is possible! The irony is truly frightening! Also consider this: Speak out? Don't join the fight? Then are you arguably helping the boards? Or the MOE? Choose your devil! It's ripe for vacuous statements like the MOE "Solidarity Forever" visit strategy. 

Most members will find it hard to argue or resist! If so? Demonize too! Any pressing and persistant dissent? Continue to stomp out! Gag! Silence! And keep following the formula for growing mushrooms too: keep them in the dark information wise! Keep feeding them BS!  

 We retirees are relatively lucky despite our dashed OECTA hopes and dreams. Our gratuities were grandfathered. Cashed in without depreciation through inflation. We can still remember the lost sick days, benefits, working conditions and salary gains we fought so hard for with our blood sweat and tears. We remember a meaningful, active and direct hands on grass root struggle. Our open forum discussions on the early "Education Network of Ontario" [ENO] teacher "intranet". Information readily exchanged and shared, a hallmark of our vital, representative teacher union movement. Rather than our union manufacturing consent to pad the wallets and save the sorry ass of our new OECTA expert elite.

Much of the basic respect I had for our teacher unions has now been lost. From here on in, I suspect there will be a new but not a better way of doing business, no thank you. Our new teachers will have to someday rise to fight the good fight too, all over again, for themselves if they want what we once had. They won't be able to ride our coattails for very much longer. 

I, for my part, am happy with my Chomsky and Che. Will perhaps also add a refresher on 1984 and Brave New World to my retirement night time, cottage country or beach reading list. Despite or perhaps because of my reservations with the new status quo, I plan to continue my Teacher Free Speech archives and blog site in your service for as long as I have readers. Looking for new ways to explore manufacturing dis-consent as a counterweight via the new electronic media. And I will continue to believe that we can and should participate more meaningfully in a member orientated teacher union movement, with free and open information, not this manipulative crap that most unfortunately passes for informed leadership and union involvement today. 

In solidarity!

David C

PSST! OSSTF + ETFO readers: This blog is heavy on criticism of OECTA but I'll bet your affiliates have bought into a lot of the same BS too. It will be very interesting to read and post your initial contract proposals too. And see how your unions proceed from here!



RELATED READING

Why you need a teacher union @ Here!

Teacher Free Speech and Grass Root Renewal @ There!

OECTA: None Dare Call It Betrayal @ There!

Guest Blog: An OECTA Member Bill of Rights @ There!

Guest Blog: OECTA Disenfranchised Teacher Petition @ There!

OECTA Neo Real: The 2012 MOU @ There!

OECTA Coup D'Etat @ There!

Democracy in our Unions: Electronic Voting? @ Here!

COMMENTS:

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

ken coran was a diagrace to osstf, and he was tossed out by the teachers and voting public like a piece of selfish garbage he is. we have come up with a strengthened strike funding plan and have announced intentions to strike before the end of april. the fact that the pro mou candidate was once again voted in shows that most of oecta just keeps wanting the same old selfish strategy with a me too clause that screwed the entire teaching profession. when a limb becomes infected bad enough, it must be cut off to save a lifen it's time to get rid of the publicly funded catholic system.

Anonymous said...

I can not disagree with the OSSTF member. At least they get rid of their garbage. We keep ours and promote it. I think that OECTA should be abolished as it is EVIL! Our union bosses are only interested in feeding at the union trough or pleasing those who are feeding at the trough so they can also feed there later. Disgusted with OECTA and ashamed to be part of it. If membership were voluntary I would be out in a heartbeat! I always thought union membership was wonderful, Now I am totally disenchanted because I "read and understand",Down with tyrants and oligarchs! Absolute power corrupts absolutely!

Anonymous said...

Thank you David for your continued concern despite your retirement. We need more good men like you. They seem to be as scarce as hen's teeth in OECTA today. Hats off for you for giving us a forum for free speech!

Anonymous said...

David: Why do you treat your readers like they are mushrooms. Don't leave them in the dark. If you received copies of all of these "in camera" documents from your TSU, TECT and Huron-Perth cronies why don't you publish the letters Julie and Chris wrote to members of COP announcing why the were withdrawing? Why don't you share the truth about trickie Dick's money theft from Halton. Why don't you tell your readers the whole truth - not just the parts that fill your little conspiracy theories

David Chiarelli said...

Please forward letters then! Thanks!

David Chiarelli said...

PS: guest blogs always welcome! When will we get yours?

Anonymous said...

Dig it out yourself from you "contacts". You and your faux journalism. If your buddy A.I. sees fit to forward you all off the confidential documents he should have sent you those too. Call him up and ask him to send them over. The real reason they didn't run? They didn't want t face the harsh questions about their conduct during question period. Now go ahead and tell the truth about that career criminal you continue to defend as a martyr for OECTA. Dick stole money from his members - both with terrible service and blatant theft. Dick was the ultimate Pig dining with the Farmers but you constantly ignore that here.

Anonymous said...

Dear Colleagues,

If you have recently visited the website for the Ontario College of Teachers you will have noticed that I have put my name forward as a candidate for the position of Councilor. I did this because I have for some time now become increasingly concerned by both the actions and direction of the College.

In the past few years we have seen the Ontario College of Teachers engage in what is commonly referred to as “mandate creep”. The OCT was set up by the Ontario PC government as an organization to regulate the teaching profession. In the past couple of years we have witnessed the College attempt to move stealthily into areas, such as teacher professional development, which rightfully belong with OECTA, the other affiliates and OTF. This has been permitted to happen because there has not been a strong cry from the Governing Council to curtail the process. We need councilors who are not fearful of challenging those who would further this “mandate creep”.

Another alarming trend at the OCT for some time now has been the ever-increasing membership fee of the College. At a time when every teacher’s salary was frozen in Ontario, the Governing Council of the OCT elected to hike fees, expand its operations and change its operational venue.

Following the Lesage Report, the College also began an exercise of attempting to isolate college councilors from Ontario’s four Teacher Federations and OTF. I view this as a move to limit the information councilors receive and to reduce the accountability of the OCT’s senior management. This is clearly an unacceptable practice to the dues-paying members of the OCT as it does not reflect what is enshrined in one of the College of Teachers’ stated values: respectfulness and teamwork between the College Council, staff and stakeholder community, each respecting the other’s role.

The few examples above are indeed instructive in trying to understand the lack of a climate conducive to the development of a positive and functional relationship between the College and its members. There is a need for a Governing Council that is capable of adopting a more balanced approach between fulfilling its legal mandate and promoting respect for the teaching profession. The objectives of this balanced approach are, in my view, clearly complementary and not exclusive – one of the other.

You will also note that I have put my name forward for the position of Third Vice- President at AGM 2015. I have served OECTA in many capacities over a period of almost three decades and had looked forward to continuing that service. The work at the OCT however will require my full attention and dedication and it is for this reason that I am reluctantly withdrawing my name as a candidate in the OECTA elections at AGM 2015.

I would like to personally thank everyone at OECTA (Provincial Executive, Council of Presidents, Staff, OECTA members and colleagues throughout the Province) for the extensive support that you have freely given me since the 1990’s. I will forever remember how we worked to serve our members and toiled together for the common good. I also look forward to working with you as we all attempt to claim proud professional ownership, as we should, of the Ontario College of Teachers.


Chris Karuhanga, OECTA Treasurer, Provincial Executive.
Service For All.


c.c. Kathy McVean, Elections Officer, Oecta AGM 2015.

Anonymous said...

March 1, 2015
Dear Colleagues,
This year marks my 26th year serving members of this Association both at the local and provincial level. For many years I worked as a full time classroom teacher while dedicating my efforts and energies to improving the lives of teachers at OECTA. My commitment to the members is unwavering and I have given whole heartedly 100% throughout the years. In my many roles including member of the provincial executive, local President, Chief Negotiator, Labour Relations Officer and staff representative I strived, through collaborating with team members, to address issues that mattered to teachers at the grass roots level. Recently, I served as the OTF President, a role that allowed me the opportunity to reach out to our sister affiliates and other organizations at a time when relationships were strained. Today as we engage in provincial bargaining these positive relationships will benefit the teachers we serve.
Equally important was the work that we, as fellow OTF governors, were engaged in with respect to our teachers’ pension plan. We have surpassed the difficult times and hope that measures put in place will protect us from future pension shortfalls.
For these opportunities, I thank you for allowing me to serve the membership in these capacities.
However, due to certain circumstances and after considerable thought and much discussion with both family and friends, I am writing to inform you that I have decided to withdraw as a candidate for the position of 2nd Vice President. At this point, I am no longer able to dedicate the time and energy that is necessary to fulfill the role of 2nd VP on the provincial executive. I have always been an individual to commit to giving 100% for the benefit of the members regardless the situation, often at the expense of my children and family. I need to refocus my energies on my family while continuing to teach fulltime.
I am committed to completing my term as OTF Table officer at the provincial executive level until June 30th, 2015 and to fulfill my duties and responsibilities at the OTF executive table and the OTF Board of Governors until the annual meeting which takes place in August 2015.
I wish all the candidates who have put their name forward to the AGM 2015 the very best of luck.
I look forward to continuing to serve the membership in other capacities.
Sincerely,

Julie Pauletig
OTF Table Officer

cc. Kathy McVean, OECTA Elections Chair

Anonymous said...

Keep suppressing the truth for your own purposes David. Don't publish comments that don't fit your narrative. Tell the truth about your hero DICK and his theft from his members. Tell your readers how the majority of the president's at COP don't believe the BS that Super Mario and Tony are trying to feed them. Why didn't your boy James do the dirty work TECT, TSU and York elected him to do? Is it because the majority of OECTA members trust and believe in our Association? But how could that be - it doesn't fit Dave's narrative.

David Chiarelli said...

Thanks! Sounds like Chris made the best of his 2 choices. Who wouldn't leave OECTA under the circumstances? As for Julie, sounds like she is putting a very nice face on an awful situation, bowing out gracefully. I wouldn't doubt it was impossible to fulfill ones duties what with everything that was going on at prov, at least with dignity and integrity intact. So, where are the rest?

Ms. Chievious said...

Attention: Anonymous of March 17 aka hostile liar guilty of the libel and defamation of Richard Brock,

Richard Brock devoted 25 years of his life, 24-7, to protecting his members. When OECTA screwed the profession, province wide, with the unsupported MOU, Brock fought to protect the Death Gratuity that OECTA carelessly forgot about, along with their membership. When he wouldn't back down, they went after his Executive and started manufacturing an angle riddled with lies, lies and more lies. In the real world that is know as coercion and fabrication of evidence aka fraud. Given the long standing contempt that certain OECTA Provincial and Secretariat members(aka the true criminals) have for Brock resulting from his no nonsense stance against collusion and corruption, only an idiot would accept that if they had ANY evidence to support the preposterous allegations against him, they wouldn't have charged him.

It is absolutely stomache turning to those of us with souls and who know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, to continue to watch the scum in OECTA rise to the top, all the while threatening and silencing those with integrity.

I urge all OECTA members who have been silenced to speak your truth. Strength in truth and numbers. Once it's out there for public consumption, OECTA won't be able to threaten any more members with legal letters written using our dues.





Anonymous said...

David I couldn't have said it better myself.

David Chiarelli said...

Where are these secret docs readers are claiming I have been sent but left out?!? Interesting! Please read my blog more carefuly before jumping in with the attacks. Maybe thats insightful of the level of discussion and just whats going on at OECTA these days? Also check out the ample links provided to make my case. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

I really enjoy reading your blog. Your sarcasm is of the caliber of Bill Mahr. Your posts get the mindless, one sided, myopic so riled up their responses are hilarious. It is unfortunate that these respondents must stoop so low as to call others idiots, scum, and hostile liars.

I know you are a truly dedicated unionist and deeply regret your intense support of the Minister of Education who brought us such gems as the MOU and Bill 155. Would you care to comment on the misguided Units that had the opportunity to vote to build up our reserve fund but tied the hands of their delegates and instructed them to vote against the resolutions? You might ask your Unit President for the result of the votes on the block of resolutions that would have had all teachers contribute to our war chest, as the Unit-by-Unit results were promised to be emailed to every President (though I suspect the email will not be sent out since it will embarrass the cowardly Units that decided to send a message to the government that OECTA doesn’t have the resolve to go to war).

David Chiarelli said...

Thanks for the kind words! Glad you are enjoying my site!

I do indeed have deep regrets over what ultimately happened with Ms Broten at the MOE. Indeed I had been [openly] embedded in her riding for over 10 years for OECTA TSU PAC. We took great pride in helping grab and hold the riding of EL from the PC's. Overall, some significant gains were made. Laurel, on a personal level, was always great! Then the shit hit the fan in 2011-12!

I am certainly going to want to address the issue of teacher union involvement in Ontario's party politics at greater depth. As you might've noted I've done a blog on "Free Speech + Grassroot Renewal", and the one above. In some form, that's the missing 3rd piece, in my mind these days.

I have been mulling over Ontario politics within the framework of the Manufacturing Consent model, but will want to consider this further, plus maybe a few other angles. We have a 3 headed monster rather than 3 different political parties, I have no doubt. As for democracy? Democracy?? What democracy?!? Throw in a dose of the "Matrix" here too,[ IE: Should I take the red or the blue pill?], and maybe I got another blog? :-)

Re: the reserve fund. Scary stuff, as always, but not necessarily something new. I wasn't aware of the details of this AGM debate. Thanks for sharing this! Not too sure how much OECTA is going to want to share info directly and in a timely manner. Especially with me since the last few blogs went super-viral. Not really their forte anyway but sooner or later will come across my desk.

Look for details on the ETFO initial offer soon, and OSSTF is still out there somewhere on the net .....

Enjoy March break!

Solidarity!

David C

Anonymous said...

Its time for folks to stop taking shots at each other. We need to come together to fight the austerity agenda of the current government. James is the president and Ann will be president after July. The both want the same thing - fair collective agreements and so should we.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations OECTA on electing your first ever non-Catholic Provincial President!

Anonymous said...

What OECTA needs to do is look at the PC Party and learn from its mistakes. The PCs seem to spend more time trying to define who and what is a conservative than trying to find ways to attract new people to the party with the hope of winning an election. OECTA needs to welcome discussions and different ideas in order to deal with external problems like reaching a fair deal and continuing Catholic education. It seems to spend more time dealing with internal problems. OECTA also needs to make amends with ETFO and OSSTF to ensure a strong and unified unit during these negotiations.

Anonymous said...

Did anybody get an OECTA 2015 AGM Resolutions Booklet this year? I did not.

Anonymous said...

This is OECTA secret info! First it is censored by Provincial then the provincial friendly unit presidents slash any constructive proposals before they get to the floor at the AGM.The AGM winds up being a party or a joke instead of getting any union business done. Would it really make any difference if you got the booklet or not? Seriously?

Anonymous said...

Why was the comment about Brock's photos with the female delegates not posted?

David Chiarelli said...

I did not see this Comment. Perhaps an error ocurred when you tried to post. Thanks!

David C

Ms.Chievious said...

Why weren't OECTA Leaders affected by the MOU? See OECTA Collective Agreement post MOU at:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-UcsAZLQ3GPZDB3dFpBa3Q4enM/view?usp=sharing

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