Monthly Archives: November 2012

Tim Horton’s Meet & Greet – St. Jacobs

tim_hortonsOur next gathering at Timmy’s will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 12. We will be at the Tim’s in St. Jacobs. There’s only one Timmy’s in St. Jacobs – right on King Street at the south end of town. Hope to see you if you are in the area! 3:45ish until 5:00ish.

Staffroom Thursday: Assessment

assessmentWe open the office on the last Thursday of every month to anyone interested in a small-group sharing of ideas on various topics. No registration – just come if you can! The gathering on November 29 will be discussing Assessment.

Bring your ideas to share, or come to get some! We begin at 4:30 and are finished by 5:30. Very informal, but appreciated by those who attend!

December 6, 2012 Coalition

The Status of Women Committee wishes to advise members of the upcoming Dec. 6 recognition of the 14 women murdered in Montreal in 1989. The recognition ceremony is a moving remembrance with a guest speaker and musical presentations by Da Capo and the Bluevale Chamber Choir.

This year’s memorial will be held in the auditorium of the Faculty of Social Work building at 120 Duke St. W. in downtown Kitchener. It begins at 5:30 and concludes at 6:30. Please consider attending. All are welcome.

Control Your Future – Nov 18, 2012

Our negotiation meeting was cancelled last week. A new date has been set for Dec. 5. The government has said that all regions must have Collective Agreements in place by De. 31. There has been no specific ‘or else’…identified at this point, but their power is enormous. Stay tuned!

As you know the Ontario Secondary School Teachers have been involved with meeting with the government. As of today, three OSS Locals have negotiated agreements with their Boards. These have yet to be approved by the Minister of Education. ETFO participated in a meeting with the Ministry last week. There will be a lot of publicity as these discussions continue, and possible job actions are pending. Should OSSTF continue with their current job actions, Occasional Teachers, in both daily and LTO positions, – as school secretaries and library clerks are among the members of OSSTF, – will be affected.

Always be respectful of their positions. A message form Sam Hammond, President of ETFO, outlines how members are to respond when requested to do work normally performed by members of another bargaining unit who are on strike. His advice is…

In the event that members of another union take legal strike action against the school board, the following apply:

ETFO Members are directed to refuse to do any work that would normally be done by members of the union taking legal strike action (i.e., “struck work”);
The school administrator is the individual responsible for struck work;
Any attempt to assign struck work to ETFO members should be reported to the local president immediately;
ETFO will support members who are disciplined for refusing to perform struck work;
Safety concerns should be reported to the school administrator immediately.

Thanks to those members who attended the ‘Perogies for proroguing!’ rally at John Milloy’s office on Friday, Nov. 9! Following a reasonably brief rally we adjourned to the Schwaben Club for conversation and a beverage. These opportunities to get together and discuss ‘the situation’, or to not discuss the situation, are valuable for members!

There will be another opportunity as we gather with our colleagues at the Wall St. Café in Cambridge on Friday Oct. 23 between 7 and 9 p.m. to ‘bring greetings’ to a Liberal fundraising gathering. These protests are just that – protests. We are teachers exercising our right to dissent. We are always polite – we wait for green lights to cross streets – we are very respectful of property, and we do not use inappropriate language, etc. I understand that some members are uncomfortable with the idea of these visible demonstrations. You can also register your feelings by writing letters, calling your MPPs, or supporting those members who do attend these events.

Another major labour rally is being planned for Saturday, January 26th in Toronto! Mark your calendars! This rally is being organized by the Ontario Federation of Labour as part of their Economic and Democratic Rights Campaign. It is to coincide with the Liberal Leadership Convention. Buses will be provided by ETFO to take us to the rally. We will gather at Allan Gardens at 1:00 p.m. and walk to Maple Leaf Gardens for the rally. More information to come!

Bill 115

Members are advised to check the ‘system memos’ on Waterworks to see the revised issue of the FAQs about Bill 115. Of particular interest to OTs is the revised answer to the first question in the ‘salaries’ section.

OT Tip: Inadequate Plans

Some days in classrooms are more challenging than others for Occasional Teachers! Sometimes, inadequate plans are left for OTs, special instructions for particular students are not available, or are incomplete, timetables may have been changed and you may have no information regarding those changes, etc. There may be very valid reasons for these situations, but it does make some of our days difficult.

In cases like these, let the office know about the deficiencies – don’t be accusatory, just ask for assistance to ‘fill in the blanks’ or get office approval to use your professional judgment to modify what has been left. Other staff can often be of assistance, as well.

If you have had a challenging day, consider making photocopies of the day plans and instructions that you have been left, before you leave the school. Leave detailed notes about how you modified an assignment or timetable, and outline the reasons for the changes. Make a ‘journal-type’ record of the challenging parts of the day, for your own record – not to be left in the classroom – with as much detail as you can recall – and the support you sought and received.

If you have had an encounter with a particular student/students that ‘leaves you feeling uneasy’, contact the office at the nearest possible time and ask for assistance or explain what occurred. It is better to have sought assistance rather than wait ‘in fear’ that something may come from an incident, or be surprised when something that was not a big deal, becomes one!

Update on Provincial Talks held on November 11, 2012

Late in the evening on Saturday, November 10, 2012, ETFO was invited to a discussion with government representatives that would take place on Sunday. Given that we had long said that we would sit at a table where the participants were knowledgeable of education and labour issues and where all issues were open to discussion we determined to participate. The goal for ETFO participation in the Sunday meeting was to address the damage caused by the MOU that OECTA signed with the government.

During the afternoon and early evening meeting ETFO representatives presented members’ concerns around each section of the OECTA MOU and sought clarification on numerous process issues. We did begin very initial discussions around a number of possible options to resolve those matters. We were prepared to continue to discuss these issues and the key interests of our members with a view to possibly creating a renewed environment for local collective bargaining.

The meetings with government representatives concluded abruptly around 7:00 p.m. with no indication that further meetings were possible. OSSTF continued its discussions later into the evening with those talks ultimately breaking down. As always, we will continue to be open to meaningful negotiations that meet the needs and respect the rights of our members; however, no further provincial meetings are scheduled. Your local will continue to try to negotiate local issues and you will be kept informed through Takeover Bulletins.

The fact that the provincial talks were held is most likely the result of the ongoing member protests against Bill 115. By joining in political rallies and implementing the McGuinty Mondays and Take A Pause campaigns, ETFO members have been in the forefront of taking a strong stand to oppose the punitive and undemocratic actions of the Liberal government.

At this point it appears very likely that strike action will be required. Members will be informed about the form of the strike action and the start date through local membership meetings. Strong and lasting solidarity will be needed to protect the democratic rights of all of us who work in the public sector.

In solidarity,

Sam Hammond
President – Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, but because one’s conscience tells one that it’s right…”

Martin Luther King Jr.