Meanwhile at OECTA/ OSSTF Provincial ....
OECTA and OSSTF membership have voted to ratify "sell short" contracts after being bullied and bashed by the MOE and trustees in the latest round of contract negotiations! [#1] Their union leaders are now sporting black eyes though, with reportedly over 20% [or 1/5] of the members voting no! The final results, which are usually released; that is, the percentage who voted yes, if not how many members actually cast a ballot, currently remain under wraps, to hide their shame. We are not fooled!
A very dangerous precedent has been set. How do you get the teacher unions to do as you please? Here's the new formula for the OLP's Neo lib education austerity agenda: Threaten strips, bash the teachers good name relentlessly in the nightly news, and then call it all off in exchange for a few bargaining crumbs from the CB table. With the current exception of CUPE and ETFO, it has only worked too well. Consider this, in the not so distant future, we might be facing a hostile PC government sitting down with the trustees to finish off the job. If they begin negotiations with a laughing fit, you will understand why!
Regretfully, teachers know we need improvements in our students learning conditions. Also, without a COLA [cost of living allowance] increase, you are facing a defacto long term, pay cut, despite being among the most highly trained and qualified teacher professionals in the world! The removal of the threatened strips was not a gain! Far from it! Matter of fact, despite having promised not to remove class caps, this year we are faced with the spectre of overcrowded kindergarten classes, to name but one boon doggle of many that will become increasingly apparent in the daze ahead. Fool us once, shame on you! But fool us twice and ......
Meanwhile at the grass roots ....
Our teachers know we should not be funding corporate tax cuts on the back of our students, our schools, and our once proud teacher profession. We know that we should be actively fighting for full funding for our education system. [#2] However, that isn't what you are defacto doing now that our "leaders" have secured these ratified sell out deals for us. Unfortunately their union "code of silence" has not been your friend!
OECTA and OSSTF members: have you ever actually seen or looked at your affiliates "Initial Proposals"?!? Oh yeah: you couldn't see these for "strategic reasons"? And now you can't compare them with what our "leaders" achieved either ..... [#3] Remember all the other secret memos and directives you were the last to see, if you were directly given them at all? Or how about the cries of outrage every time the misplaced ones turned up for our open forum all affiliate discussions here on this site? Then there was the tightly scripted "ratification meetings" with the ridiculous, childish charts, and the attendant highly controlled but "open" "staff " directed and "members only "discussions"?
It is truly, most regrettable that this is how our highly educated, professional teacher union corps are treated! Or rather let themselves be treated! Unfortunately, OECTA members should all ready be quite familiar with the plutocratic "manufacturing consent" strategy throughout the CB talks. [#4]. Then, of course, there's the old OECTA jack boot that routinely crushes any real criticism or possible dissent that threatens the sacred status quo for the powers that be. Add a coalition of small units whom stand to gain from the new "provincial health benefits" plan, and one enables them to continue to rule the roost unchallenged. Nope. There will be no alternative to the God the Father top down Catholic decision making "methods" we have suffered under our publicly funded separate, locally "pontifical" school boards, coming to the Catholic teacher union level anytime soon! But good luck OECTA! Next: Welcome unhappy OSSTF members! Is it your turn to get the executive boot to the teeth silence treatment now too? For more info, just ask dismissed OECTA's Halton President/ dissident Richard Bad Boy Brock! [#4b]
Meanwhile at QP ....
Moreover, as we know, a successful government attack strategy will be routinely replicated elsewhere, as in our case, putting other workers in Ontario and across Canada at risk. Most unfortunately, OECTA and OSSTF have now also placed our fellow teachers, educators and support staff at great risk! Can you spell OLP "d-i-v-i-d-e + c-o-n-q-u-e-r" strategy?!? Will the OLP and trustees now put the screws to ETFO and CUPE to accept OECTA/ OSSTF style "cookie cutter" contracts? Remember the 2012 OECTA MOU Road Map? Do you think the Wynne government will forget when push comes to shove? October 2015, has not been our Ontario teacher union movements finest hour -far from it!
The need for teacher free speech and grass root renewal is a long and winding road. I have posted my own blogsite manifesto [#5]. I continue to welcome and share other grass root initiatives, be they blogs, emails, missives, memes and tweets. These also present different, constructive points of view and encourage open, free and thoughtful discussions of saving our once proud and historied union movement from itself. My Teacher Free Speech Archives 2011-15 [#6] also keeps track of the news links from our last 4 years of union "activities" for your erudition. Regretfully, those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it, as Thucydides once said, and as we have seen proven once again with the ratification votes last week.
Eyes wide shut ......
The struggle to get our members to think with their eyes wide open is an unending task! I heartily suggest you start up your own grass root initiative, and let me share it here! More teachers have been independently using the social media than in ages, as a result of the "OSSTF Vote No!" campaign! Our grassroots ARE strong. So far there are over 760,000 reader site hits. And of course, guest blogs [#7] and your Comments are always very welcome here too, in the good fight!
Most regretfully, our teachers were all but mobilized across Ontario for province wide strike actions, but it was not to be. Our members might've experienced a political awakening, and indeed until recently had a sense of self efficacy, that they could truly make a difference again. And now? That has now all but been squandered by OECTA and OSSTF, no doubt with great relief for the Wynne government. However, the ratification vote "black eyes" looks good on them, truth be told, a visible reminder that all is still not well. "1/5" might be a humble beginning, but a definite "line in the sand" has finally been clearly drawn! CUPE and ETFO continue to fight, but for how long they can now hold out, nobody knows. I suggest it is our responsibility, as teachers, active and retired, to support them in every way we can, to still have an effect, or at the very least, to let them and the OLP know we are still here and quite pissed!
For what it is worth, this site will continue to make information available, share different views and encourage open constructive discussion on the challenges at hand. For the short term, I'd also like to suggest the following "watch fors" in the immediate days ahead:
-will our OECTA and OSSTF leaders now also show up at the ETFO and CUPE rallies and pickets, or with media releases beating their traitor chests with ludicrous claims of "solidarity forever"? If so, what would an appropriate response be? How can that be used to educate members about their betrayal of our progressive, teacher member, union movement?
-will there finally be an open debate on the dubious wisdom of still having amateur teachers, be they well intentioned members, or self serving Secretariat plutocrats and union career politicians, negotiating on our behalf? Instead of hiring professional negotiators, like the big boys and girls do? The stakes are too high to continue ignoring the problem and be silent without considering our other options!
-will there finally be an open debate on moving towards a powerful, more cohesive "one province wide teacher union" to better utilize our collective strength, vis a vis a teacher style UNIFOR structure? To curtail the OLP arrogance and effectiveness in playing divide and conquer with their new "CB negotiating" act? The stakes are too high to continue unquestioningly footing the bill for numerous self serving and impotent affiliates with your hard earned dues!
-will the Secretariats of our different affiliates now reward themselves for the sell out deals? With fat, generous contracts like the teachers deserve? Ironically, paid for by the very teachers they helped sell out, for them to enjoy instead? The stakes are too high not to force them to lead by example, like the teachers are expected to do! [#8]
-are the persistent rumours of a modest OECTA strike fund, and of OSSTF's being tied up in real estate deals, true? If so, what does this tell us about the true nature of all their lofty missives and exaltation about what was to be done? And what will you do now? The implications of a boon doggle are too much for even the most trusting and appreciative of all but our union toadies to accept uninvestigated and unchallenged!
-is there a "conflict of interest" with our General Secretariat's all sitting on the OTIP board of directors while they secured and will now be managing the new provincial health benefit plan? If so, what is to be done! Surely, there must be a straight answer to this most disturbing question, and we need it now!
-our provincial Liberal government has unequivocally turned its back on it's once staunch teacher allies to buy into the corporate Neo Lib austerity agenda. Are the persistent stories of a Liberal federal election back room deal to quiet us down with a last minute "deal" credible? If so, do we want a Liberal stronghold on the government levers of power at both the federal and provincial level come October 19th? It is mighty important to send out a strong message that at least some of us were not fooled when it comes time to mark your next "X" at the ballot box! Moreover, is your union affiliate still making any donations to them or offering teacher help? For shame!
#1: "Teacher Sept. Free Speech News + Views" links on the ratification votes @ Link!
#2: Open up yer wallets folks! Teachers + students are now paying for Ontario's corporate tax cuts @ Link!
#3: Umm, the OECTA initial proposal?!? Oh wait .... you weren't shown it?!? It was posted here .... Compare it with the "gains" that were shared! Read + weep now @ Link!
#4: "OECTA: On Manufacturing Consent!" Another must read @ Link!
#4b: Or read "Brock Dismissal: The OECTA Canadian Civil Liberties Letter" @ Link!
#5: "On Teacher Free Speech and Grass Root Renewal" blogsite manifesto @ Link!
#6: Guide to my "Teacher Free Speech Archive 2011-15" is @ Link!
#7: Speak out! Guest Blogs Welcome! Details @ Link!
#8: Oh the hypocrisy! Secretariats? Boards? The MOE? Leading by example?!? More @ Link!
Additional links can be found in the Spring thru Sept Teacher Free Speech News + Views. Also elsewhere in the related blogs and reader Comments!
Don't let this be you!