Early Learning Program PLC December 9th

To enhance our members' knowledge of current classroom practices, the Professional Learning Committee is having a series of sessions on specific topics.  The next one is:

Early Learning Program (ELP)

 Monday, December 9th from 4:30 to 5:30pm at the ETFO Office, 2601 Hwy 20 East, Fonthill (across the road from Ferrell's Building Supplies).

With the DSBN Support Staff person, Pam Rao (who also teaches ETFO's Kindergarten Part 1 AQ), we’ll discuss current ELP practices and the important aspects of working in these classrooms. The meeting will be completed within one hour.

The objective of all of these sessions will be coming together, working together, succeeding together.

Hope you can join us.  Please send RSVPs/inquiries to Arlie@NiagaraOT.org

ETFO MOU Summary and Online Voting

Update: ETFO members voted 91% in favour of accepting the MOU.  The MOU will now become part of our collective agreement, and override and improve the terms imposed by Bill 115.

ETFO has reached a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ontario government.  Complete details are on ControlYourFuture.ca.

All ETFO members need to vote online to approve this MOU.  The voting website is https://www.intvoting.com/ETFO and you will need your ETFO ID number.  Voting is now open, and ends Sunday June 23rd at 6:00pm.

If you can't find your ETFO ID number, call the help desk at 1-877-869-8233.

Items of Note in the MOU for Occasional Teachers:
  • Occasional teachers will benefit along with everyone else from the 2% salary restoration that takes effect Sept 1st, 2014.
  • No changes to Reg. 274/12 that apply to ETFO members without the agreement of ETFO and the school boards.
  • Committee of ETFO, school boards, and Ministry to review Reg. 274/12 Hiring Practices with a view to establishing hiring practices and implementation procedures agreeable to the parties and/or to establish best practices for occasional teacher allocation and development.
  • Task force to consider the establishment of a Section 21 Committee for education sector stakeholders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  This would be a big step forward for all teachers.
  • A period of local bargaining re-opens, to be completed by August 29, 2013.  However, any changes must be by mutual agreements, as there will be no strikes or lockouts.
  • Reduction in the number of unpaid days that were imposed upon teachers.
  • A number of provisions such as the Voluntary Unpaid Leave Program, may result in additional work for occasional teachers.
Overall, it appears to be a good deal, certainly better than we could have expected given the dialogue coming from the government this past Fall.

Local Annual General Meeting

Update: We had an outstanding turnout, and Mark Carter was elected President.

The Local AGM is scheduled for Monday June 17th, 2013.
Time: 4:30pm-~8pm
Location: Parkway Convention Centre, 327 Ontario St., St. Catharines

Presidential Election Candidates:
Gary Anderson 289-241-7899
Mark Carter 905-937-7861

Come out for great food, a chance to meet your colleagues, Career Milestone awards, Cool School award, door prizes, an overview of where we've been this year and the challenges facing us going forward.

We will also review the recent Memorandum of Understanding which ETFO has reached.

If you haven't done so already, sign-up to our e-mail lists with your NON-DSBN e-mail.

Please RSVP to Gary@NiagaraOT.org and be sure to indicate if you have any food restrictions.

Please also note that there is a donation page available for one of our members who is currently fighting breast cancer.

We also are currently conducting a survey on occasional teacher self-esteem here.

Scrabble for Literacy Tournament

Niagara Regional Literacy Council's ninth annual Scrabble for Literacy Fundraising Tournament is being held on Friday, May 2nd, 2014. We're trying to wrangle up a team (or two) of occasional teachers for this year's tournament.

The Local has sponsored the entry fee for a team again this year.  This will be our fifth year sending a team of occasional teachers to the event.  There's good food and it's always a ton of fun.

When: Friday May 2nd, 2014. Doors open at 5:00pm, dinner at 6pm, games begin 7:30pm.
Where: Holiday Inn Parkway Convention Centre, 327 Ontario Street, St. Catharines
Cost: Free to you if you join our team!  Otherwise $35 per person, $210 for a team of 6. Price includes a full hot and cold buffet dinner, door prizes, and three team Scrabble games. Silent auction and penny sale also at event.

More information: 905-687-8299 or visit www.literacyniagara.org
If you'd like to be part of a Niagara OT team, e-mail Mark@niagaraot.org.

Rally for Rights and Democracy Jan 26th!

Photo of rally:

Now is not the time to lose hope.  Rather, we have to strengthen our resolve.  A Bill 115 rally is being held on January 16th at Jim Bradley's office, from 3:00pm to 5:00pm, and at the Ontario Liberal leadership convention on January 26th.  This isn't just a fight for our contract anymore, it's a fight to keep the rights granted to us under Canada's Constitution.

PDF of event callout.

PDF of Event Flyer (En Francais)

#J26Rally on Twitter


St. Catharines 10:30 am
CAW 199, 124 Bunting Rd.

Port Colborne, 9:45 am
USW, 87 Clarence St

Welland 10:15 am
950 E Main St (park on west side)

Fort Erie 9:45 am
194 Garrison Rd (old Zellers)

Niagara Falls 10:15 am
Casino Lot #1 off Stanley Avenue, southwest
corner of Stanley Avenue and 420 Highway

Grimsby 11:00 am
Southwest quadrant Casablanca/QEW at Gateway Niagara

To reserve a spot, please contact:
Dan Peat at 905-933-1889 or email at nrlc.clc@gmail.com
Bruce Allen at 905-934-6233 or email at ballen@cogeco.ca

Protest cancelled, OLRB ruled against ETFO

The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has ruled that the Political Protest scheduled to take place on January 11, 2013 violates the Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA).

ETFO will abide by the decision of the OLRB. We respect the provisions of the Act – something we have requested the Minister and government to do for almost a year.

Monitor the school board website to determine if your school will be open for teachers, DECE, ESP, and PSP members.

If you are called to teach or are on LTO, and the school is open to staff, you are required to report to your school or worksite on Friday morning.  Check dsbn.org to see if schools will be open.

Details at ControlYourFuture.ca

Political Protest Friday January 11th

In December 2012, ETFO members voted overwhelmingly in support of a one day political protest if the Minister of Education imposed a collective agreement or stopped a legal strike.

On January 3, 2013, two weeks after refusing an offer made by President Hammond to work toward a respectful resolution, the Minister used the unprecedented powers of Bill 115 to impose local agreements. By imposing contracts without negotiation and ending legal strike action, the Minister has willfully trampled on the democratic rights of ETFO members - rights that are enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Based on the Minister's deliberate and provocative choice to wipe out the democratic rights of tens of thousands of educators, the date of the one day political protest will be Friday, January 11, 2013.

All members will be receiving further information about the one day protest (times, locations) on Thursday, January 10th from their local office. In the meantime, ETFO members are asked to check ETFO's Control Your Future website (www.controlyourfuture.ca) on Thursday afternoon and evening for general updates.

Throughout these troubling months, ETFO members have recognized that it is impossible to stand back and watch the destruction of a profession we love and the trampling of rights that are fundamental to all Ontarians. We have demonstrated, over and over again, tremendous resolve, leadership and solidarity in the face of continual attacks by this government and Minister. Through this one-day political protest on Friday, January 11th we are again standing up to say that what happened to ETFO members must not ever happen to any other Ontarian.

Niagara Occasional Teachers are advised to picket with their colleagues at the elementary school of their choice from 9 am till 11 am.  Schools will be closed throughout the entire day.

Update:  The Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled against ETFO and characterized our plans to exercise our freedom of peaceful assembly as an illegal strike.  ETFO will abide by the decision of the OLRB, and as such the protest is cancelled.

Contracts imposed...

The Minister of Education has exercised powers she gave herself under Bill 115 to impose contracts (though "contract" probably isn't the right word, as a contract is agreed to by two parties) on all education workers.

More information on what these "contracts" contain is here.  They're supposed to last for two years, although the legitimacy of those "contracts" is certainly in question.  It appears that all bargaining efforts specific to our Local issues are dead in the water.

After exercising powers which blatantly violate rights granted by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Minister also announced she will repeal Bill 115 by Order In Council before the end of the month.  So, after violating rights granted to us by the highest law in the land, she's now trying to burn traces of the Bill that allowed her to "legally" do that; she's trying to stymie the legal challenges to Bill 115 that would have resulted in it being overturned, and is trying to avoid being held accountable by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Please read the Message to ETFO Members that's posted on controlyourfuture.ca by President Hammond.

As any/more information becomes available, we'll make it available here.  For the time being ETFO members should continue to push the pause button on voluntary activities.