Opening Statement



Tuesday, 19 May 2015

No Teacher Strikes: Are OECTA to Be Believed?

The following May 13 OECTA Collective Bargaining Update appears was found online. It was sent out in "secret" to tens of thousands of teachers across the province. It is presented here for our ongoing open forum, teacher free speech info, and discussion purposes. Please see my Commentary below, and have your say!



WHEN WILL OECTA TAKE ACTION?

As OECTA members watch their counterparts in other teacher unions commence strike actions across the province, some may wonder why OECTA hasn’t commenced strike action given our overwhelming strike vote.

This is a result of legislative requirements. OECTA was delayed, and as a result, is following different timelines. Nonetheless, OECTA is in constant contact with our sister affiliates and is working closely with them.




WHAT HAPPENED?

In 2013, the Minister of Education introduced provincial bargaining legislation in the Ontario Legislature. The legislation, called the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014 (or Bill 122), mandated a two-tiered approach to bargaining, where certain items are negotiated at the provincial bargaining table, and local specifics are bargained between individual school boards and the union districts.

If both the union side and the school trustees/government teachers’ side can reach agreement on which issues are local and which are provincial issues, bargaining can commence. According to Section 28 of Bill 122, parties may refer issues that cannot be agreed upon to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).

The affiliates on the public side of the equation were able to reach the necessary agreements with the public trustees and government, thereby avoiding any OLRB hearings.

OECTA’s provincial bargaining team met with the employer side of the provincial bargaining table (representatives of the government and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association) in October 2014 to establish which matters would be dealt with at the provincial bargaining table. Although both sides agreed on 17 items, they did not reach agreement on the five matters to be included in the scope of provincial bargaining (matters relating to sick leave, staffing provisions, etc.).

Since an agreement could not be reached, the parties referred the matters in dispute to the OLRB to make a determination. We did not receive a ruling until February, putting us behind the other affiliates in terms of the bargaining process.

Meanwhile, both OSSTF and ETFO moved ahead on their own different paths. OSSTF is in mediation at the central table. At the same time in local OSSTF negotiations, conciliation was sought and ‘no board’ reports obtained in several areas. Currently, OSSTF locals in Durham, Sudbury and Peel are on a full withdrawal of service. ETFO chose to apply for conciliation at the central table and received a ‘no board’ report from the Minister of Labour, enabling them to initiate province wide strike actions. ETFO began “phase 1” of a work-to-rule strike action on May 11.




  
WHAT’S NEXT FOR US?

While OECTA members provided their union with a strong strike vote mandate of 94.2% on April 24, the Association is committed in trying to reach a negotiated settlement. Most recently, OECTA announced it would continue to bargain, with the assistance of the Ministry of Labour, in an attempt to move OCSTA/trustees off of their entrenched positions – similar to OSSTF’s provincial bargaining approach.

Our upcoming bargaining dates are May 21, 22, 28, 29 and June 4, 5, 6, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26.

If we are unable to secure a fair and just agreement, we will move forward and apply for conciliation. This would likely place us in a provincial strike position in September, a more realistic and tactically superior time to commence any type of action than mid-June. This is the earliest OECTA would be in a position to start any action if we filed for conciliation immediately, because of the mandatory procedures and timelines under the Ontario Labour Relations Act.



  
COMMENTARY

Fair is fair. OECTA deserves to be heard on the thorny issue of why the Catholic teachers are still in class and schools open, while their public counterparts commence strike action. Past experience, however, requires one to be quite critical in assessing the credibility of their claims

In 2012, OECTA teachers, despite OSSTF and ETFO claims to the contrary, were reassured that no deal was in the works as they left for summer holidays. On July 5th they did indeed sign a deal, the infamous OECTA MOU, over which the members had no ratification vote. [1]

All Ontario's teachers suffered when OECTA agreed to contract stripping and concession bargaining, destroying decades of hard fought CB gains with the stroke of a pen. In the months that followed, the OECTA MOU became the OLP Road Map or blue print for the same cuts that the OLP then dished out to the rest of our teacher and Education Worker union colleagues across the province, in AEFO, ETFO OSSTF and CUPE! [2]

Ironically, the OECTA secretariat fared much better with their own contract. They secured comfy raises for themselves with their sick days and gratuities intact, all of which they had given away, without a ratification vote, when it came to the due paying members. An unsuccessful OLRB run at further padding their own plan on the membership's dime proved unsuccessful. Nonetheless it still provided insult to go with the injury suffered by the rest of the province's teachers. [3]



In 2014, we are again faced with an OECTA CB redux team made up with many of the same players back at the provincial bargaining table. All opposition has seemingly been quite thoroughly jackbooted and silenced by the tight knit oligarchy now ruling the OECTA roost. It would be foolish not to watch and question everything OECTA does very carefully. Do you still believe in and support a democratic, teacher union movement in Ontario? Then regretfully, OECTA which has no credibility left, leaves those hopeful, remaining reformers among us without any other choice! [4]

It is interesting to read OECTA's claim above when it states that they are still in contact and working closely with the other teacher affiliates. If so, their members had best watch out! If not, then what's really being said behind closed doors at your executive level? How does ETFO and OSSTF square off the awkward fact that the membership are meanwhile out on the street, or involved in a controversial WTR? With the public schools closed? While parents decide which school system to register their kids in for next fall?

Surely, OECTA won't want to be the first past the post in signing a new contract in the current round of negotiations. Another boner will be too much for even them to try to hide, deny or explain away. However, is it just happenstance that OECTA had to go the lengthy OLRB route? Knowing full well it would cause a lengthy delay, while the other affiliates cut to the chase? Then blame it all away on the the Ontario Labour Relations Act? 

Are OECTA to be believed? 


FOOT NOTES: 

1] Coincidence? In late June 2012, OECTA President O'Dwyer, now a Contract Services Officer on the current provincial negotiating team [Here], denies OSSTF and ETFO's claim that a "secret deal" is imminent. [Yes][No] Surprise! On July 5th, the OECTA MOU is ratified on the members behalf, in their absence, after everyone had left for summer holidays! [Here]. Fool us once, shame on you .....

2] The OECTA Road Map or "Putting Students First Act" is @ August 2012 Also see "Comparing the OECTA and OSSTF MOU's" @ April 2013 ETFO's MOU is June 2013

3] The OECTA Secretariat 2012-14 contract isDownload The 2012-14 OECTA MOU that they helped negotiate for the membership isDoc Compare? Contrast? Conclusion? 

4] See "OECTA: Manufacturing Consent" @ Here



YOUR COMMENTS:

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

How convenient? The sooner their system is dissolved the better. I retire next year from the public system and it will be one of my retirement activities to get involved with the "one board" movement. Get ready for another summer time deal folks!!

Anonymous said...

David, jackboots are black and almost to the knee. Those are cowboy boots in your picture above. The sentiment and the song are appreciated. Read you loud and clear.(ha!ha!)Unless you mean Jackboots is a cowboy!

Anonymous said...

What is the top priority of OECTA? Apparently it is not to protect the salary, working conditions, and benefits of the membership.

Anonymous said...

OECTA is disgusting. They are waiting for other unions to reach settlements before they will even threaten strike. Another selfish, self-serving tactic played out by a group that needs to be gotten rid of a long time ago.

David Chiarelli said...

Darn! I thought Jack Boots was a cowboy!!! 😏

Anonymous said...

Jackboots definitely wears a BLACK HAT for sure!

David Chiarelli said...

Yeah, but the bad guys also can try to disguise themselves by wearing white .....

Anonymous said...

You would think they would show their true colours and make it easier to separate the good from the bad. It seems extremely murky in OECTA for instance! A white hat should signify a good guy and a black hat should be a bad guy like it is for cowboys in the old West! You can only judge them by their actions- what they accomplish for the membership, eh?

David Chiarelli said...

If you review each unions actions in my 2011-15 you get a very interesting picture. Actions do speak louder than words, and they often are none to flattering.

It will be interesting to see what happens if Wynne legislates. Will our teacher unions roll over? Maybe its time to raise the ante and indulge in some civil disobedience, rather than go quietly into the night? Unfortunately, the teack record for this is not good!

David Chiarelli said...

The 2011-15 news archive top left screen ...

David Chiarelli said...

Yup! Actions speak louder than words!

Anonymous said...

Look for all 4 teacher unions to be on the picket line in September and for every classroom to be shut down. AEFO is now taking their strike vote. Look for Ed Workers to be on strike in November.

Rather than attacking other teachers, the anti-Catholic (probably anti-French as well) bigots need to focus on the real problem - the Kathleen Wynne Neo-Liberals and their give everything to big business finance Minister - Ex-Banker Chucky Sousa.

Anonymous said...

I think OSSTF made a mistake by walking out. The only ones suffering right now are the teachers (taking a pay cut to subsidize the strikers) and the students whose year is in jeopardy. Had OSSTF stayed in the classroom, a province wide walkout, which may, and most likely will, happen in September would be more effective. Contracts usually take months to settle and a year without one is hardly unusual. Considering this is the first time negotiating under the two tiered system, I think OSSTF should have stuck it through till June. Right now, they just look like the kid in cross country who sprints at the start line, but we all know the ones who pace themselves and sprint at the end win. Good luck to all though.

Anonymous said...

Easy attacking big business there. David looks like he's living quite a nice life on the avails of those evil corporations whose profits and growth help keep the pension going.

If business goes down, so does the pension (at least for those of us who still have years and years to go paying into it). I find it incredibly ironic that a group that controls one of the largest funds of private wealth in the world can be so anti-business.

You guys know that as part of our ownership in so many corporations we spend our money lobbying governments for pro-business policies right?

David Chiarelli said...

I am for capitalism with a heart and soul, not the unbridled and
exploitive brand, so granted we've still got a long way to go.

Anonymous said...

Being anti-austerity is not anti-business. Nor is insisting that business pay a fair share of taxation. Businesses use all of the services of government and require them to be efficient. What is a problem is when public goods and services are sold off to the insider friends of Mr. Sousa (like Hydro One) and they become unaccountable to the citizens of Ontario. The private sector does a horrible job managing public goods (Rogers and CN Rail are but two examples of this).

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