Wednesday, December 19, 2012

From the desk of Terry Card

In the face of challenging circumstances, our members have done an outstanding job of recognizing what is at stake.  We have made difficult decisions and stood together to protest legislation that could forever change not only our profession, but the lives of anyone who works in Ontario.  I am proud to be your President and to stand beside you on the line tomorrow - these next few months will define our province.

What you should know about Bill 115:
  • Bill 115 seeks to unconstitutionally override the Ontario Labour Relations Act, the Human Rights Code and our Canadian Constitution.
  • Under this legislation, the Government's actions cannot be questioned or reviewed in any court, questioned by an Arbitrator or an Arbitration Board.
  • No course of action or civil proceeding may be brought against the Government.
  • Trustees, duly elected by their constituents no longer have the authority to negotiate with their employees - the government will dictate the terms.
  • This is not a wage freeze, but will result in an additional 1.5% pay cut with 3 unpaid days next year.
  • This is the first phase of the governments plan. By the end, every education partner will be adversely affected as billions of dollars are removed from the education sector.
  • The Drummond Report suggests that the Government should increase class sizes, change delivery of the Full Day Kindergarten programme, alter the Teachers' Pension Plan, and revisit the steps of our long-standing grid structure.
  • To form your own opinion, I urge you to follow this link to Bill 115  Putting Students First Act 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

OTs and Picket Duty?

Let's be clear, since December 3, 2012 all ETFO members in Thames Valley (including Occasional Teachers and LTOs) have been in legal strike position and engaged in work to rule. Shortly, this action will escalate to full withdrawal of service as part of ETFO's campaign of rotating strikes in opposition to Bill 115. Occasional Teachers will be made aware of the date by robocall to the telephone number listed with TVDSB.
As a member of the Union, all OTs/LTOs will be expected to participate in picketing on the day assigned to this Local.  All active members (those who have worked within the last 60 days) will be required to report for duty and register that day at one of the designated sites. LTOs will picket with their schools. As an active member, you will be paid  the same strike pay of fifty dollars as a permanent Teacher.
Breaching the terms of a strike / noncompliance is not taken lightly and could lead to disciplinary action against the member as outlined in Bulletin #6. 
There may be members with legitimate needs for exemption and alternate duties.  Such requests with the appropriate documentation must be presented on the exemption form to the Credentials Committee no later than 24 hours before the beginning of full strike action (exceptions will be made for emergency situations.)
In summary:
  • Picket duty is mandatory for all active ETFO members (those who have worked within the last 60 days)
  • LTOs will picket with their schools
  • All other OTs will go to designated sites and sign in
  • Our strike date and list of OT picket sites will be made known by robocall when appropriate
  • Requests for exemption/reassignment must be received no later than 24 hours before picket duty
For further information contact Local President, Terry Card at - subject line: Strike.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Together We're Stronger

We have received numeous calls regarding volunteering in the classroom and participating in extra-curricular activities.  This is not optional, it is mandatory.  Your Union is telling you; there is no volunteering.  The permanent teachers in the schools you want to volunteer in are taking a position of "no volunteering" and are looking to us for support.  They would not look too kindly upon you entering the school to volunteer at this time when they are not.  Principals should also understand- they used to be teachers too!  We can only be effective by sticking together and hopefully the impact will result in a shorter time frame.
These are very challenging times - it is crucial that you remain informed, take control of your future.  Visit the website for current information and never hesitate to contact your local union representatives. 

ETFO Provincial has recently mailed Takeover Bulletin #6 dated November 29, 2012 detailing STRIKE PROTOCOL - WORK TO RULE - STAGE I, effective December 3, 2012.  Adherence to the Strike Protocol is Mandatory for all Thames Valley ETFO Members Including:  Daily Occasional, Long Term Occasional Members, and Permanent Teachers.  Please let us know if you have not received this information for any reason.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bill 115: Why a Political Protest

   Collective bargaining gives employees a voice in determining their wages and working conditions, and has historically, set the stage for the benefits enjoyed by all workers in Ontario, eg. health care, CPP, maternity leave and the weekend.

  Bill 155 places the minister of education and the government beyond the reach of the Ontario Human Rights Code, Ontario Labour Relations Act and the courts. It gives the government unprecedented power. Under the law, the minister can end legal strike action, reserve the right to approve all collective agreements, and impose a collective agreements on ETFO members.

  Bill 115 puts all working Ontarians at risk and undermines the guarantees made to Canadians under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that include:

  • Our right to organize, to engage in collective bargaining, and to withdraw our services to advance workplace goals;
  • Our right to freedom of expression, specifically the rights of employees to express themselves regarding terms and conditions affecting their workplace, including strike activity or a withdrawal of services;
  • Protecting employees from being forced to work under terms and conditions which are coerced, dictated, or imposed by state.
ETFO Members- Standing up for Democracy               

The Liberal government may have targeted Teachers / OTs to be first example for imposing austerity measures - but they picked the wrong public servants. ETFO members have continued to call this government to task in a very public way:

  • When the government passed Bill 115, 15,000 ETFO members and others from labour and community groups protested at Queen's Park the very next day;
  • ETFO members joined with many community and labour activists to help defeat the provincial Liberals in the Waterloo by-election;
  • Members have continued to work with local labour and community groups to picket MPP offices around the province on a weekly basis.
As ETFO members, we have been the front line in standing up for democratic rights in Ontario. With the Day of Protest, we can send a resounding message to the public, the media, and elected officials that fundamental rights will only be restored in Ontario with the repeal of Bill 115.

How Bill 115 affects Daily Occasional Teachers     
  1. Bill 115 has reduced sick days for permanent Teachers and eliminated sick leave banks. Teachers are being forced to come to work sick, which means finding teaching assignments is now even more difficult for Occasional Teachers.
  2. Your TVDSB collective agreement allowed OTs to accumulate sick leave credits when assigned to LTOs to use if we become ill and can't work. The government has capped annual sick leave; this will significantly reduce the number of fully-paid sick days available to Occasional Teachers.
  3. With the current inflation rate running at approximately 2.6% per year, the two-year salary freeze will erode the purchasing power of Occasional Teachers.