How One Day Became Two


Yesterday I thought I’d written the last of these Bill 115 blogs. That was until I ran into a hornets nest of angry teachers today. OMG -I feel a train wreck is in our future.

How One Day Became Two

Wow, that almost sounds like a title for Dr. Zeus. This is kind of appropriate since it seems as if the leaders of ETFO are Thing 1 and Thing 2. If they keep shooting themselves in the foot it will be a hard for them walk on the picket lines.

All I’ve heard from teachers today is that they are hopping mad over this Political Action taking place this Friday. (I use “hopping” as a synonym for the “f” bomb “ing” word, of course.) Yes, angry teachers can use a cuss word or two.SCHOOL

How in the name of Hades is a protest less than one week after a two week holiday, and only a very few weeks removed from the last one going to have any political weight or substance? Your going to get about as much traction as an ice road trucker.

I can hear the talk show hosts and teacher bashers already. “It’s interesting that the teachers are closing our schools again. I guess they couldn’t do their protest during the Christmas Break because they were all enjoying themselves in the Caribbean Sun.”

And the parents, they are going to go through the roof, especially since in several jurisdictions Monday, January 14th is a FREAKING PA DAY. That’s a four day weekend after a two week break. Who are they going to blame? – TEACHERS, of course. Are they going to be happy? –of course not! Your friendly neighborhood teacher basher is going to have another heyday.

This is what our local paper reported. The Chairman of the Board was quoted as saying, “This (protest) is disruptive to student learning. We are trying the best we can to alleviate it. ” Man, I’m glad the public can’t read.

The teacher friendly Toronto Star was so bold to say, “To repeat: If you don’t like Bill 115, take the government to court. Don’t take it out on students and parents.”

Furthermore, here’s the clincher, “Now, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is losing face with the public — both parents and students. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation is also losing out — and increasingly a house divided.”

What are Sam Hammond and the union executive thinking? It seems that burning bridges is becoming an epidemic with them (government, parents, press). It says here that if you piss off your members with this one that particular bridge may never be rebuilt.

PLEASE REFER TO PREVIOUS BLOGS FOR THE BACKGROUND LEADING UP TO THAT STATEMENT.

I just heard McGuinty saying, “We don’t want our teachers breaking the law”, which, of course, plants in the minds of the uniformed teacher basher that teachers are “criminals” or that they are instigating a “criminal act”.  He also said the time to protest is, “before school, after school and weekends!” You know that parents, despite Dalton’s falling star, will agree with that. That he’s going to the Labour Board for a cease and desist order, when that was unavailable to teachers in Bill 115, is ludicrous.

Look I was a teacher (retired) and still consider myself a teacher so I am totally against Bill 115 and the imposition of contracts. I am just totally against how ETFO is handling this. Teachers and kids, once again, are being hurt and, as far as I can see, nothing has or will change with these “old-school” methods. “Monkey in the Middle” – well I guess!

Here are a few things to ponder going forward.

TIMING:

If anything wouldn’t this protest be better directed at the Liberal Leadership convention later in the month? Wouldn’t you want public focus to be on that event? Wouldn’t you want to tie these things together? Isn’t the only chance for a fallback position possible when the new leader is selected?

How is withdrawing from school duties so soon after a two week break going to look in the eyes of parents and critics?

Furthermore, union leaders say the quick protest was to put focus on the last leadership debate. Here’s what the Globe reported regarding that focus. It appears as if the candidates weren’t moved at all to support this action.

http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/01/09/teachers-workers-protest-ontario-liberal-leadership-debate/

PICKETS:

If you picket the same locations so soon after the first protest won’t the public be less inclined to view it as appropriate?

Won’t many people just yawn and say, “Here we go again?”

What’s all the rush? You use it and you lose it? Do you really think members are going to vote for a third day?

COST:

The Bill 115 contract is costing teachers 3 days’ pay already. Now the union is adding two more. That’s 5 days loss of pay in total, my friends. (By my calculations those 5 days taken from EFTO members saves the government about $85 million dollars.) Maybe the government is thinking –keep on protesting bring it on! Especially if all 126 000 teachers go this route because that’s would be a whopping 44 million dollars per day the Ministry of Education saves. Maybe ETFO will receive a nice thank you note from the Minister of Finance.

So, these days of protest cost teachers in the pocket book, on their pensions, sullies their reputation with parents and the public, brings out the teacher bashers (the squeaky wheel in all of this) and diminishes the respect that teachers work so hard to foster. Now that’s a deficit no teacher wants.

Are the Union leaders taking a one day pay loss on these protests? Have any teachers in Ontario received strike pay for that first day of protest? If so, where is the money coming from?

We must also remember that the two week protest in 1997-98 cost teachers two weeks’ pay, pension losses and disrespect with no result or real change in what Harris was imposing. It took years to recoup the publics confidence.

We must remember that ETFO teachers lost 2% in wages because of their leader’s stubbornness in the last contract round.

Looks like lose-lose for us ETFO teachers to me – again. Do you see a pattern here?

CONFUSION REIGNS:

Most teachers feel that their vote approved the protest days in December not this new illegal one in January. The protest in August at Queen’s park was felt to be approved by the vote in the spring of 2012. Unless, of course, summer protests don’t count: which is exactly what the public and press want to believe.  RE: Teachers don’t protest on their own time.

And, hearing about this from bus drivers, texts from friends and family, TWITTER and FACEBOOK and through the media just doesn’t cut it. I heard about the Day of Action on Twitter, on a basketball site no less.

Maybe informing members first would have been a better course of action, don’t you think? The teachers I know are livid about this. Why? Well because they had to try to explain themselves to the public without any information from the Federation. Does “hung-out-to-dry” ring a bell?

The Federation email received tonight said, “As you can imagine, the details of the ETFO Day of Political Protest announced today have not been finalized.  You will receive a message tomorrow afternoon with all of the specifics, after they have been confirmed.”

Then, of course, the RECORDED message from Sam Hammond comes at 8:37 pm. That was about 6 hours too late.

Please tell me, did the rotating protests Pre-Christmas stop Bill 115 from being enacted? Would you say those protests were successful? How in the name of Hades does anyone think that another one is going to suddenly bring success and reconcillation?

As teachers, if a student can’t solve a problem using one method we encourage them to look for another method. We don’t say, “Oh, just keep trying that unsuccessful approach. You won’t solve the problem but boy will you be frustrated!” Where were the  Contingency plans? Why does this seem like planning on the run?

I imagine the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing!

MORALE:

Done like dinner!

Most teachers return from the Christmas Break re-energized and raring to go! Well this early day of Protest really is going to put the lid on that one, isn’t it?

I know that the teachers in my circle are all writing their local president to make known their displeasure with this?

Really, they were in total shock with this announcement!

THE REAL MCCOY:

Isn’t the court case the best place to resolve this? Are all of these extra protests just showing that Federation thinks it might lose this case? Do they really think the Liberal Party leader is going to do a complete about face? Do pigs have wings?

If the purpose of this Political Action IS to influence the Liberal Convention: is that what you want your Federation involved in? Playing Politics?

Maybe the ETFO executive should resign and run for office. Maybe ETFO should register themselves as a political party.

DEMOCRACY AND ONTARIANS

When did teachers vote to become a radical revolutionary resistance movement representing every worker in Ontario? I don’t remember that Federation vote!

Where are the highschool teachers in this fight? Ask yourself why they are not walking hand in hand with you?

If you think 176 000 teachers can carry this burden on their own backs without the support of several million other citizens YOU ARE SADLY MISTAKEN.

Better to rally those forces to your side first than to continue to piss them off, I’m thinking.

If you think you are going to win on the political battlefield give your head a shake. Politicians don’t love teachers they love “voters”. These battles against politicians are won through grassroots movements with active support from citizens. You know – those parents and families of the kids in your communities. It seems as if the Federation never gets this. “Going it alone against impossible odds” seems to be their mantra.

You can espouse the noble principle of defending democracy all you want but unless the masses are buying into this message, you are cutting your nose off despite your face. You can’t alienate your constituents and expect them to carry your banner into battle.

Again, let me make it clear that I am completely against Bill 115 and its imposed contract. Yes, it’s an assault on democratic rights.

But, after today’s fiasco I’m starting to feel that I’m against the Federation’s tactics, wholly and completely, as well as their inane belief that they can win the public over with their actions. The leaders driving the engine towards this train wreck need to be more accountable to the frontline teacher who is working in the trenches.

Why did Broton focus on the ETFO and Sam Hammond in her Bill 155 announcement? Why does ETFO keep dropping the ball? Democracy works both ways!

Look, a war is a series of many battles and skirmishes. It’s seems as if ETFO is willing to die on the hill of Bill 115 and use up all their ammunition on one issue.

The Star’s Editorial just might be the bullet that gets the job done.

“But work stoppages and activity boycotts go too far. The teachers’ quarrel is with Queen’s Park, not with the public or with students. These actions are misdirected and self-defeating. They should cease.”

Yikes!

As I stated yesterday:

GRUMPY QUOTE OF THE DAY: ETFO’s strategy is not unlike a group of scallywags who embark to disturb the honey bees nest thinking the farmer will get stung, and then, quickly find that the only person getting stung is themselves!

Ouch!

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