Sunday, June 21, 2009

Clegg responds to Sarnia letters

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario president David Clegg (or his typists) responded to a series of letters in the Sarnia Observer critical of the Lambton-Kent district board and ETFO local's squabbles over a provincially agreed upon five-day schedule.
Sarnia covered the change in the past, but Belleville posted a recent synopsis this weekend.
Clegg writes:
Earlier in year, during our contract negotiations, the Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne presented the Ontario Public School Boards' Association and ETFO with a non-negotiable provincial framework agreement that contained a clause mandating the five-day cycle, a requirement that ignited the local controversy. OPSBA, on behalf of the Lambton Kent District School Board Trustees, readily signed Minister Wynne's proposal. Eventually ETFO, having protested the nature and substance of such a nonnegotiable offer, also signed.
Oh, wah wah. What Clegg's letter neglects to mention is that it was ETFO's own decision (along with other provincial unions) to walk away from the provincial table last summer when it balked at the boards' position on who would control additional prep time and varying interpretations of Ontario regulations on supervision time. At the time, ETFO had a list of its own demands that would make every red-blooded Ontarian in the province want to become an elementary teacher (my favourite was 100% top-up for 52 weeks on parental benefits). One by one, the other employee groups realized they belonged at a bargaining table and came back to settle their deals. ETFO remained defiant, and in the process created the reality that its members will now lose salary parity with secondary teachers.
Wynne got involved when the possibility of a strike became too great to ignore. Call it bad-faith bargaining or what you will, but her "take it or leave it" February framework brought the two sides back together after a failed attempt, gave their heads a collective shake and got the ball rolling on settling elementary contracts.
Clegg's sour grapes over how he and his executive bungled this round of talks for their membership shouldn't be forgotten, no matter how he paints it in the pages of your local newspaper.


Anonymous said...

ETFO tries to sell this (my favourite was 100% top-up for 52 weeks on parental benefits) to its members (90% female) as a low-cost benefit. They usually throw in a few "disrespects" and "other professions" have it. When cornered on the "snow job" the local president couldn't name a single company/union that had it.

Education Reporter said...

Agreed-- I asked the local prez in my district and received the same response.