By Francis Baker
Members of the local secondary school teachers bargaining unit are demanding that the recent vote to ratify their collective agreement be declared null and void, citing a number of bylaw violations.
The objection was filed on Nov. 28, the day after the Nov. 27 ratification vote. A release from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation said the vote had been in favour of accepting a tentative deal worked out Nov. 17. School board trustees also voted to accept the agreement Nov. 27.
According to an email sent to media Nov. 28 by the teacher bargaining unit, the objection was received by OSSTF President Ken Coran but there had been no response by the following afternoon.
The teachers’ complaint cites violations of the TBU (Teachers’ Bargaining Unit) Constitution and Bylaws which took place leading up to the ratification vote, and demands “that the ratification vote by immediately declared null and void.” A copy of the complaint email was forwarded to media.
Also citing irregularities with vote counters and destruction of ballots, “given these oddities, coupled with the fact that the BU president refuses to release the vote count, the entire process is now very suspect,” the complaint email states.
Three members of the local bargaining unit, among those who signed the complaint email, resigned their positions with the TBU shortly after filing it – second vice-president Diane Ballantyne, communications officer Tim King and bargaining committee representative Jim Mason. The email is signed by 24 members of the bargaining unit and secondary school teachers.
The complaint alleges that negotiable concerns weren’t presented to the bargaining unit executive and council before meetings with board negotiators, and that a tentative agreement wasn’t presented to the executive before going to a general meeting.
The complaint also alleges that there was only one, not the required three, meeting locations set up for information meetings on the contract proposal – the only meeting was begun at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex and moved to another, smaller, location.
The complaint suggests there were no meetings in Guelph and Orangeville, as the bylaws require, and that the timing of proposals presented wasn’t what the bylaws require.