September 12, 2012 - No. 50
Legislature Adopts Putting Students
Rally Behind the Call to Defend the
Rights of All!
and Education Workers
• Rally Behind the Call to Defend the Rights
• What Lies Behind McGuinty's Imaginary Crisis
• Teachers and Education Workers' Unions
Respond to Passage of Bill 115
Fall Session of
• Agenda to Further Undermine the Public
Authority in Favour of Private Interests
Attack on Public
Servants Oppose Government's Threat to Legislate Contract
• College Faculty Ratify Agreement
- Christine Nugent
It Is a Matter of
• Support Our Cultural Workers!
• Stratford Festival Actors Asked to Take Pay
Take Back the Night!
• Women's Security Lies in the Fight for the
Rights of All
Stand with Teachers and Education Workers
Rally Behind the Call to Defend the Rights of All!
Ontario Political Forum
condemns the Ontario
Legislature for passing Bill 115, the Putting Students First Act
on September 11. In the name of the well-being of Ontario's children,
the McGuinty Liberal government and the Hudak Conservatives have
unleashed a destructive offensive against the rights of teachers
and education workers. The role of a Legislature is to uphold public
right, not trample it in the mud in the name of high ideals.
On Tuesday, September 11, the bill passed third reading
and promptly received Royal Assent. Eighty-two MPPs from the Liberal
and Conservative parties voted in favour and 15 NDP MPPs voted against.
Despite the bill's passage
and its provisions to criminalize them, teachers and education workers
are not backing down. On Friday, September 14, they will hold rallies
at MPPs' offices to oppose the new law. Local labour councils, unions
and other supporters are being encouraged to join the rallies to show
opposition to the legislation.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is
holding local information meetings in the coming weeks to review the
union's strategy and answer questions in preparation for local strike
Members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers'
Federation (OSSTF) are showing their opposition and demonstrating their
commitment to fight the legislation by wearing black to work. Meetings
are also being held by OSSTF members after work today to discuss
OSSTF's strategy going forward.
Ontario Political Forum calls on everyone to
stand with teachers and education workers as they step up their
opposition to Bill 115. Contact local OSSTF, ETFO or CUPE offices for
more information on how to support local actions.
What Lies Behind McGuinty's Imaginary Crisis
The elementary and
secondary schools throughout Ontario began on schedule the day after
Labour Day, as they normally do and just as unions representing teacher
and education support workers had all along said they would. This
exposes as fraudulent Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's declaration
that a "crisis"
the September school opening. It also makes a farce out
McGuinty's emergency recall of the Ontario Legislature to legislate a
solution to his imaginary crisis.
Even after schools opened in the normal way, the
McGuinty Liberals and their allies the Hudak Conservatives pushed
ahead with Bill 115 which strips away collective bargaining rights and
other rights from teachers and education workers. McGuinty claims that
the legislation is necessary to force teachers to
conform to his government's budget reduction targets, but this too is a
fraud. Teachers' unions agreed to a two-year wage freeze at the very
beginning of the talks for a new agreement.
This raises the question of what McGuinty is trying to
achieve with this legislation since there is no crisis in the schools
and the teachers and education workers have agreed to the government's
To explain the incoherence, some commentators point to
the blatant political opportunism of McGuinty, i.e., his transparent
manufacturing of a fake crisis with the teachers and education workers
that would not only coincide with the new school year but also the
Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan. They claim
that McGuinty thought his hard line on teachers and education workers
would show the people of Ontario he is serious about attacking the
deficit and that he is quite capable of attacking public sector workers
next. He is said to have thought this would put him in a good position
to outdo the Hudak Conservatives in
the by-elections. The by-elections were supposed to be two-way races
between the Liberals and
Conservatives which were to vindicate the attacks on teachers and
education workers. Instead, the people of Kitchener-Waterloo soundly
defeated both the Liberals and Conservatives and the turnout in Vaughan
was only 26 per cent of the electorate. The Kitchener-Waterloo
by-election was thus a clear rejection of
the attacks on the primary and secondary public school system while the
Vaughan by-election made no statement at all in support of the attacks.
The by-election results provided
yet another reason why McGuinty should have withdrawn the legislation.
All of it shows that the
people are completely deprived of political power by an electoral
system which brings political parties to power on behalf of the
establishment forces and that they have no say in the decisions which
affect their lives. The rich minority who hold political power have
called on their political representatives to eliminate any capacity of
the people to resist
their neo-liberal offensive, which first and foremost means smashing up
the organizations of the workers. All across the country, collective
bargaining rights are being suppressed, every form of struggle for
wages and working conditions is being criminalized and workers'
organizations are under pressure. The organizations
of the teachers and education workers are a very important target in
The 515,000 workers in
Ontario's elementary, secondary
and post-secondary education sector are a significant contingent of the
working people of the province. They make up eight per cent of the
total workforce. Almost all of them are in unions and they make up 27
per cent of Ontario's unionized workers --
one out of every four union members is a teacher or education worker.
If the rich are successful in smashing up teachers' and education
workers' unions, they reckon they will have gone a long way toward
realizing their neo-liberal dream of completely eliminating workers'
This union-smashing agenda
was very clear to negotiators
for the elementary and secondary teachers' and education workers'
unions since the opening session of the provincial bargaining table
January. Union negotiators walked into a room where instead of the
usual Ministry of Education bean-counters they
faced a battalion of notorious anti-worker legal henchmen like Judge
Farley and constitutional lawyers.
The government side at the
provincial table had no intention of negotiating. Even after teachers
and education workers' unions agreed to the key government demand for a
two-year wage freeze, the government refused to negotiate. The
government negotiators and lawyers were only there to play out a "duty
to consult" farce to make sure McGuinty's attack on teachers and
education workers was "challenge-proof" under the Charter of Rights.
Boasts made recently by McGuinty in the Legislature
reveal this strategy. "The Supreme Court of Canada has set out some
basic rules that you have to follow to ensure that ultimately we can
hit the pause button on public sector pay. So we started back in
January to be fair, open, accountable and responsible
but now we find ourselves at this point in time and we're running out
of runway," McGuinty said.
A confrontation and an excuse to strip teachers and
education workers of their collective bargaining rights was McGuinty's
objective, not a negotiated agreement. This is why every attempt by
teachers and education workers' unions to avoid the confrontation was
in vain. Since January, McGuinty set a series of
events in motion, each one designed to get unions to "willingly" submit
to his dictate. The final step was his emergency recall of the
Legislature and stripping the teachers and educational workers of their
rights with Bill 115.
Teachers and education workers are fully cognizant that
their right to affirm their rights is at the centre of their battle
against the anti-social offensive of the McGuinty Liberals. They
expressed their convictions in front of the Legislature when they
joined public sector workers and people from across Ontario
for the April 21 Day of Action Against Cuts to oppose the government's
budget and so-called austerity program. They did it again on August 28
to reject the introduction of the Putting Students First Act
with their slogans, banners and speeches denouncing the McGuinty/Hudak
alliance for attacking
their rights, workers' rights and the rights of all.
"Education workers all around the world for some reason
take a leadership role," said Ken Coran, President of the Ontario
Secondary School Teachers' Federation, "They educate the public to
defend their civil rights and liberties, to defend the basic principles
by which we live. It is the education workers who
will lead the public to understand the damage these folks are doing.
It's all in your hands."
Following the August 28
rally, teachers and education
workers and their organizations threw their weight behind defeating the
Liberal and the Conservative candidates in the Kitchener-Waterloo
by-election, showing the rejection of all Ontario working people of the
so-called austerity program designed to pay
the rich, not balance budgets.
The successful campaign in Kitchener-Waterloo points a
way forward for the workers' opposition to the anti-worker, anti-social
offensive of the rich. It shows that workers' organizations can
mobilize broad political support for workers' rights and the rights of
behind the call to defend the rights of all! No to
attacks on teachers and education workers and on public sector workers
who are McGuinty's next target.
Ontario Political Forum calls on all Ontario
workers to recognize the importance of resistance and organization at
this point in the life of Ontario. For McGuinty to declare that unless
the teachers willingly accept his dictatorship they will be converted
into criminals is unconscionable.
Teachers and Education Workers' Unions Respond to
Passage of Bill 115
Immediately following the
passage of the Putting Students' First Act, unions
representing Ontario teachers and education workers affected by the
legislation held a joint press conference outside the Legislature and
issued statements to show their opposition to the legislation.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO)
said in a statement that Ontario's 76,000 public elementary teachers
and education professionals are being urged to 'take a pause' on
voluntary activities in response to the draconian legislation that
strips them of their democratic rights.
"Given this extraordinary and unwarranted legislation,
we are advising our members to "take a pause" on the voluntary
activities they undertake in schools," said Sam Hammond, President of
ETFO. "While they will remain focussed on teaching students and
ensuring student safety, teachers and other educational
professionals will need to consider very carefully what they can afford
to do outside of their instructional responsibilities."
ETFO is also introducing "McGuinty Mondays" in protest
of the legislation. Teachers and education professionals will be urged
not to participate in school-based or system level meetings of any kind
nor participate in regional Ministry meetings on Mondays for the
This is the initial step in an escalating protest
strategy, according to Hammond.
"We do not take this action lightly. Ontarians and the
government need to know that you cannot take away the democratic rights
of working people simply to fulfill a political party's agenda or
ideology," said Hammond.
"Collective bargaining rights are central to ensuring
that working people are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness in
the workplace. If the premier can get away with abolishing our rights,
we need to ask 'who's next?'
ETFO and others also plan to
challenge the legislation in court.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
(OSSTF) also issued a statement in response to the Bill's passage:
"The passing of Bill 115 today represents one of the
darkest days in the history of workers' rights in recent memory," said
OSSTF President Ken Coran. "This government has now passed a law that
tramples on the rights of education workers in Ontario, and it appears
that Premier McGuinty will be targeting
other workers in the near future."
"The passage of this law is undemocratic and
unprecedented, and was unnecessary," continued Coran. "McGuinty and
Hudak have thumbed their noses at democratic rights in this province."
"This law now gives the
Minister of Education sweeping
powers over the negotiations process and takes away the ability of our
members and the democratically elected school boards to engage in a
free collective bargaining process that has been successful for many
years," said Coran.
On the issue of how OSSTF will proceed with the
negotiations process, Coran stated, "We will continue to follow the
rules and laws that govern the collective bargaining process under the Ontario
Act in our attempts to secure agreements with our
members' employers; the school
boards of Ontario. We will continue with local negotiations and urge
the government to stop interfering with our legal right to collectively
"Premier McGuinty should not expect our members or the
workers of Ontario to sit idly while the government strips them of
their basic and fundamental labour rights," concluded Coran.
A statement from CUPE reads:
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced
today that it is beginning proceedings against the Ontario Government
after the passage of Bill 115. CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn made
the announcement at Queen's Park, after the Liberal bill passed its
final vote this morning with the backing
of the Conservatives.
"This is a truly dreadful day for democracy," said Hahn.
"Instead of focusing on strengthening schools, communities and the
economy, the Liberals have chosen to attack people's charter rights,"
said Hahn. "We are challenging Bill 115 because the rights of Ontarians
are protected by the Constitution, even if the
Liberals don't want them to be."
CUPE has retained Andrew Lokan from the firm Paliare
Roland and has instructed him to begin legal proceedings challenging
the bill's constitutionality.
"Bill 115 isn't about
balancing the budget. It's not about fixing the economy. It won't
benefit students or schools," said Hahn. "It is an unprecedented attack
on the civil rights of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians working in
the education system. And it's absolutely a cynical political ploy on
the part of Liberals
who think they can win votes if they appear as tough and right-wing as
CUPE Ontario represents 55,000 workers in English and
French, public and Catholic, elementary and secondary schools across
the province. These workers include custodians, school secretaries,
library technicians, educational assistants, early childhood educators,
instructors, lunch room supervisors and other
support staff who are the back bone of community schools.
At Queen's Park, Hahn stood
alongside ETFO President Sam
Hammond and OSSTF President Ken Coran, who also announced they are
beginning legal proceedings against Bill 115.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) also
came out clearly against the bill and committed to intervene in any
legal challenge. "People's rights are not something to be trifled with.
We are concerned this legislation goes too far and violates the civil
liberties of all Ontarians," said CCLA Director Sukanya
Pillay at a press conference earlier this month.
The legal challenge will be just one part of a broader
push to strengthen schools, protect workers, and build community
support, Hahn said.
"This isn't just about education workers" said Hahn.
"The Liberals are using public-sector workers as a scapegoat for their
mistakes. They cut revenues through tax breaks to profitable
multi-national corporations and banks, thereby creating a deficit. Now,
instead of asking the banks -- which turned $8 billion
in profits this quarter alone -- to pay their fair share, they are
going after custodians and part-time lunch room workers. Ontarians saw
through McGuinty's cynical politics last week in Kitchener-Waterloo,
and they will see through his cynical politics all across Ontario in
the weeks and months to come."
Fall Session of Ontario Legislature
Agenda to Further Undermine the Public Authority in
Favour of Private Interests
When the Ontario Legislature adjourned for the summer on
June 20, it was scheduled to resume on September 10. Instead, it
resumed two weeks early on August 27 in order to table and pass the Putting
Act that impose wage freezes and other conditions
on teachers and education workers and
deprive them of their right to negotiate the terms of their employment
in a meaningful way.
The tone for the fall session was set at the opening of
the Legislature with opposition leader Tim Hudak calling once again on
the McGuinty government to extend wage freezes to all public sector
workers, not just teachers and education workers. To distance himself
from the PCs, McGuinty said such a move would be
"[W]ith respect to the other request being made by my
honourable colleague on an ongoing basis, we can't do that, because it
would be subject to attacks in the courts, which I think would be
justifiable. There is an element of process here that we have to
respect," he said. To show the kind of fraudulent process he has in
mind, he said, "We're doing that with this particular legislation
that is before the House at present, and we'll find a way to do it with
respect to other public sector employees going forward."
This is an indication that no sooner the government
works out some fraudulent measure to make the attacks on public sector
workers "constitutional," they too will be attacked.
McGuinty is willing to implement Hudak's plan, but in
his own so-called "fair" and "balanced" manner.
McGuinty repeated his argument that the specific
teacher's legislation is needed at this time to protect other advances
in education, namely full-day kindergarten, which is another fraudulent
argument because he is taking kindergarten money out of funds needed by
the already existing programs. As if this makes his actions rational in
any way, he said it had to be introduced before the August 31 contract
deadline for teachers and education workers to
meet the government's fiscal plan.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath argued that the teacher's
legislation itself would be open to a constitutional challenge and
warned the McGuinty government that it would cost taxpayers lots of
money. She also raised the issue that managers and executives in the
Ontario Public Service should not be receiving bonuses
at the same time as teachers and education workers are facing wage
Education Minister Laurel Broten, in response to doubts
about the constitutionality of the legislation, lamely repeated the
party line about "working with our partners":
"[A]fter six months of working with our partners in
education, we feel that we need to act in the best interests of
students, and we made the decision to introduce legislation," she said.
"If this bill is passed and then challenged in court,
the government's position will be that it is constitutional, that we
have respected the constitutionally protected right to a process of
collective bargaining, and that in any event, under the Charter of
Rights, the bill is both reasonable and justified in
all the circumstances," Broten added.
Ms. Broten is in comtempt of the meaning of language
itself. To "work with your partners" requires recognizing that a
solution based on mutual benefit has to be worked out. It does not mean
that you meet with people you intend to wipe out and when they do not
agree to be wiped out, you wipe them out anyway. The way Ms. Broten
speaks shows the government is
deliberately acting in bad faith. It flaunts the fact that it has the
power of the state to impose a regime in which to be legal does not
to be just. It is despicable and rotten to the core.
The attack on teachers and education workers that opened
the fall session of the Legislature forebodes further attacks ahead.
The legislation against teachers and education workers reveals that the
serious concerns of the people of Ontario are warranted about the
of what are supposed to be democratic institutions. Ontario
Political Forum will continue to
follow developments in the Legislature during this current fall session
so that Ontario workers are not caught by surprise about the wrecking
agenda of the McGuinty Liberals and the cartel party system which has
usurped the people's decision-making
Attack on Public Sector Workers
Public Servants Oppose Government's Threat to Legislate
Queen's Park, September
On September 5, 2,500 members of the Association of
Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario
(AMAPCEO) protested at Queen's Park against the McGuinty government
During a by-election visit to Kitchener-Waterloo,
Premier Dalton McGuinty threatened to legislate the terms of a new
collective agreement should AMAPCEO not submit to the government's
demands for savings at the bargaining table.
As has been the case in other bargaining units AMAPCEO
had agreed to a two-year wage freeze. AMAPCEO has also put forward
other proposals that reduce the cost of administering the collective
agreement, including proposals to modernize and find efficiencies
within the Ontario Public Service. They say
they did this as an attempt to recognize the financial pressures facing
Ontario. Even though they tabled proposals that would meet the
Government of Ontario's core fiscal objectives, the threats continued.
A letter to the members by Gary Gannage, President of
AMAPCEO says that the government's negotiating team "continues to
escalate its aggression toward AMAPCEO. Now, the Employer has piled the
table high with a long list of demands for concessions. A wage freeze
is no longer good enough; the Employer
wants a cut of at least 2-3% in this collective agreement.
"This is proving to be the most difficult round of
bargaining in our history. For months leading up to bargaining, the
signs were everywhere: while the government has said that 'respect will
be the watchword' in labour relations, it has moved quickly to provoke
conflicts with teachers and doctors. The government
has signalled its intention to legislate a wage freeze, including
incremental or merit pay, if freezes can't be reached voluntarily.
While this will make constitutional lawyers happy, it is an attack on
collective bargaining ..."
The Government of Ontario decreed September 9 as a
deadline for reaching a new collective agreement with AMAPCEO. The
Labour Board Mediator William Kaplan released a statement the weekend
of September 8 and 9 that "the parties are unable to make further
progress without an opportunity to consider
their positions. I intend to stay in contact with both parties to
monitor the situation and, in consultation with the parties, will
resume the mediation when appropriate."
Completion of a long overdue job evaluation process has
been in the making for more than eight years and the union is demanding
a resolution to this issue which will improve the job security and
wages of many members. Their contract expired on March 31, 2012.
Town Hall planning discussions are being organized for
members September 11 and 13.
AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent representing 12,000
professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work in the
Ontario Public Service, i.e., directly for the Government of Ontario,
in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions;
in over 130 communities across the province
and in ten cities outside Canada.
Also represented are employees who work outside the
Ontario Public Service in:
- The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and
Youth, an independent office of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario;
- Waypoint Centre for Mental Health (formerly
Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre);
- Public Health Ontario (formerly the Ontario Agency for
Health Protection and Promotion), an independent crown agency;
- The Ontario Racing Commission, an independent crown
- The Medical Advisory Secretariat at Health Quality
Ontario (formerly the Ontario Health Quality Council), an independent
- The Ontario Arts Council, an independent crown agency.
Members include: senior policy advisors and policy
analysts, financial analysts, education officers, program supervisors,
auditors, scientists, public health laboratory coordinators, mediators,
arbitrators, veterinarians, pharmacists, racing judges and stewards,
psychiatric patient advocates, chaplains, clinical coordinators,
media relations and communications officers, children and youth
advocates, administrative coordinators, information technology managers
and specialists, inspectors and investigators, labour market
specialists, senior economic officers, economists, transportation
enforcement supervisors, intergovernmental affairs specialists,
epidemiologists, arts granting officers and many others.
Community College Faculty Negotiations
College Faculty Ratify Agreement
A ratification vote was held on September 10 on the
tentative agreement reached on August 29 between the Ontario Public
Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council. Of
the 10,683 college faculty eligible to vote, only 4,084 or 45 per cent
did so. The vote was 89 per cent for approval
of the tentative agreement. What does this vote signify and what can
college faculty conclude based on this latest round of "negotiations"?
First of all, the low voter
turnout shows that the
process has excluded a majority of the faculty. In particular, concern
must once again be raised about the ability of partial load faculty, a
group of part-time faculty who belong to the full-time bargaining unit,
to have their concerns heard. Although they belong
to the bargaining unit, many partial-load faculty feel the same
isolation and precarious work conditions that face part-time faculty.
The faculty demands in negotiations for more full-time positions and
for preference to be given to partial load faculty for these new
full-time positions were negated and this may have
contributed to partial load faculty not voting. Many faculty members
have not recognized the necessity to vote for a collective bargaining
agreement and one that lacks improvements for them or for quality
The negotiations indicated
once again that the employer refuses to negotiate and although the
contract is not officially rendered an imposed one, for all intents and
purposes it is. The bargaining team was bullied into tentatively
accepting the contract in the midst of government dictate against
teachers and education
workers and the College Employer Council indicated that college faculty
could be next. Through these threats they hope to create conditions for
these concessions to be the status quo in future negotiations. It is
part of the agenda to undermine the defence organizations of workers.
In the environment of the deliberate deterioration of
the collective bargaining process by the employer to make faculty
accept concessions, the space for faculty to have their voice heard has
become limited. Even if college faculty voted no to the ratification
vote, a principled stand given its lack of improvements
for faculty work conditions and for quality education, it would still
fall back into the confines of the negotiating process where fear
mongering by the employer has made it impossible to move.
College faculty and all college workers should stand
with teachers and education workers to demand the rights of all. It is
the neo-liberal anti-social offensive of the rich that is at the root
of all this dictate in order to keep all interests of society at their
disposal. To do so, they must smash everyone's rights and
their abilities to resist. Only in uniting their efforts in an
organized way to defeat all representatives and manifestations of the
neo-liberal agenda in the legislature, will their voices be heard
because it is they themselves who will be speaking.
It Is a Matter of Conscience
Support Our Cultural Workers!
More than 250,000 Ontario
workers are employed in all branches of the cultural sector by private
sector enterprises and by public cultural institutions. Along with all
sections of the working people, cultural workers' livelihoods are under
pressure from the neo-liberal offensive, as is their right to
role they play in nation-building is second to none, so it is not
accidental that they are under pressure to defend so-called individual
right as if by pitting it against collective rights this will affirm
the quality of being human. On the contrary, unless cultural workers
fight for their individual rights within the context
of upholding the rights of all, they are sunk. This can be seen in the
manner in which they are picked
on one at a time to eliminate funding or have them fend for themselves.
The Harper government has been making
cuts to cultural funding as part of its neo-liberal agenda and partisan
ideological stance. It has used reduced funding to censor productions
that don't align with the Harperite version of the neo-liberal world
view. This is similar to the situation faced by scientific and
technical personnel employed or funded
by the federal government who are forbidden to speak out on scientific
matters of public interest and who have their funding cut if the
science they produce does not fit the Harper agenda.
All of it confirms that what is required is a concerted
response, which at the end of the day
means a political movement to remove those who have usurped power by
Ontario Political Forum is printing below a
report from a cultural worker on resistance by actors employed by the
Stratford Festival against austerity measures and bullying of
management. The Stratford Festival is an important national cultural
institution located in the City of Stratford in southwestern
Ontario. One thousand actors, other artists, production crews and
support workers create performances of plays by William Shakespeare and
other important playwrights. In 2011, almost 30,000 people saw
performances at Stratford including thousands of children and young
people on school trips.
Stratford Festival Actors Asked to Take Pay Cut
In July, this year, Des MacAnuff, the out-going Artistic
Director of The Stratford Shakespeare Festival theatre asked the actors
to take a cut in pay to film the current production of Henry V.
In 2011 the Festival had more than 1,000 employees and
an annual budget of $60 million. The new Artistic Director, Antoni
Cimolino, was instrumental in establishing the Festival's Endowment
Foundation, which has raised more than $50 million to date.
The actors are all members of the Canadian Actors'
Equity Association representing 5,500 members in Canada. The union
negotiates contracts with theatre producers who are members of the
Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) under the Canadian
Theatre Agreement (CTA). The Stratford Shakespeare
Festival Addendum to the CTA relates solely to engagements at the
In 2011, the Festival filmed the production of Twelfth
Night and the actors did the work for less than the minimum pay
rate set out in the Addendum to the CTA. Des McAnuff called a meeting
of the acting company and made his pitch saying to the actors 'the
Festival couldn't afford to make the
film without these cuts.' He also said if the actors didn't agree 'he
would be very disappointed in them.' He phoned actors individually at
home and contacted them via email urging them to take the cuts.
July is the month at the Festival where actors are asked
to audition for roles in the upcoming season. Under pressure -- the
pressure that if they went against the head of the theatre they
wouldn't be re-hired -- the actors agreed to the pay cut and the
filming was completed. The actor's union said, 'If the actors
agree then it's ok to have the cuts.'
All wage and working condition issues are settled
through negotiations between the union, CAEA, and the producer,
Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Any grievances actors have, go through
the Equity Deputy, to the union and then to arbitration. There is no
precedent of Artistic Directors making new arrangements
on their own through individual contact.
This season, the same Artistic Director followed the
same plan; first by
calling a meeting, as he said, "Not that it's needed but because I can
call it." At the meeting he said if the actors agreed to the cuts he
congratulate them at his upcoming wedding "by opening a bottle of Veuve
Clicquot" -- champagne valued at $189 a bottle.
Then he called and emailed individual actors asking for the cuts. Many
felt as one company member who told this writer, "I'm uncomfortable
with this kind of thing and it
just can't go on."
No other group of Festival workers has been approached
to take a pay cut -- neither the dressers, wardrobe department,
technicians represented by IATSE, nor any other department. At the
second meeting an actor said, "The actors are being asked because our
union is easily chipped away at."
At a second meeting called by Dave Auster, Producer,
half the acting company attended and heard Auster's appeal: "Stratford
is in debt and filming this production will help publicize the theatre.
If the actors don't take the cuts then the filming won't happen. In
three years the Festival could close."
Members of IATSE at
August 28 rally for teachers and education workers.
No one wants a thriving theatre more than the actors. To
suggest otherwise is an insult to the actors. The actors would be more
than willing to be part of the discussion about how to run a modern
theatre under current conditions but the actors in the Festival's sixty
year history have never been part of that discussion.
Equity has stated, through the company Deputy, that
filming will only be done if minimum wage rates per the current
collective agreement are met.
On Friday, September 7, an email went out to the company
from Dave Auster: "I'm sorry to let you know that the Festival and the
prospective producers of the film of HENRY V have found it
impossible to raise sufficient funds to increase the film budget to
accommodate the filming fees set out
in the CTA. So unfortunately I must confirm that the filming will not
One company member said "...there is a tone in the air
of division and confusion...It doesn't feel like a victory. We want to
do the film."
Take Back the Night!
Women's Security Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All
International Women's Day
Join women in Toronto on Saturday, September 15, and in
towns and cities across Canada in September and October as they "Take
Back the Night." Through these marches women boldly declare they will
exercise control over their lives and not be intimidated by those who
tell them what they can or cannot do, what they can
and cannot wear and where and when they may walk, under threat of
In the present conditions, life is increasingly insecure
and brutal for large sections of the workers and people and women are
the first to bear the brunt of a social framework which is dismantled
brick by brick as private interests seek to impose their will no matter
the consequence in the wrecking of the social
fabric and the economy. Women also stand in the front ranks of changing
the situation and the fight for the rights of all.
Saturday, September 15
Community Fair -- 4:00 pm
Rally -- 6:00 pm
March -- 8:00 pm
220 Cowan Ave. (south of Queen
West, west of Dufferin)
Thursday, September 20 -- 7:00
Refreshments and open stage to follow at
St. Paul's Church
20 -- 6:00 pm
YWCA, 1 McGrigor Street, Oshawa, ON
(between Simcoe St. S. and Centre St. S.)
Barrie City Hall Rotunda
Gather -- 6:30 pm
Rally -- 7:30 pm
March -- 8:00 pm
Hamilton City Hall, 771 Main
Street Hamilton, ON
20 -- 6:30 pm
Saturday, September 29 -- 5:00 pm
Waterloo Town Square, King Street
Thursday September 27 -- 6:30 pm
Windsor and Essex
Saturday September 29 -- 7:00 pm
Thursday October 4
Hill vigil and march -- 6:15 pm
March -- 7:15 pm
Information Fair Ottawa City
Hall -- 8:00 pm
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