OSSTF Censures B’nai Brith and JDL

— Press Release —

The (Toronto) Executive of District 12 Secondary Teachers Bargaining Unit unanimously condemns B’nai Brith and the Jewish Defense League (JDL) for what it believes amounts to a bullying campaign launched against OSSTF and its members.

On January 12th, B’nai Brith launched an all-out assault on OSSTF by sending an e-mail “alert” to [their] members urging them to pressure OSSTF members to disengage from a debate scheduled to take place at this Thursday’s regular monthly Council Meeting. Today, the Jewish Defense League announced its intention to rally outside of the OSSTF office during the meeting.

“This can be seen as nothing short of an attempt to intimidate our membership” said Doug Jolliffe, President of OSSTF District 12 Toronto.

“What seems to be missing, as indicated by the actions of these two organizations, is an understanding, despite an explanation from me to B’nai Brith before this alert was released, that as a democratic organization, OSSTF must entertain debate on any motion duly moved and seconded, as long as it does not ask for support of an illegal action or an action which breaches our own Constitution, Policies or Bylaws” explained Jolliffe.

“The Executive can not quash debate, nor can the Executive control what items Members feel worthy of debate, nor as a democratic organization should we.”

Each month, OSSTF Toronto Teachers hold a Council Meeting the purpose of which is in part to consider motions. Unless passed by a majority vote, the motions belong only to the Mover and Seconder. Motions are brought forward for debate in order to ascertain whether the idea contained therein has broad enough acceptance and support among the Membership to become the Union’s official position by a majority vote. It is only through the support of a majority of its representative Council that a motion can be approved.

“The Executive understands the emotional response these kinds of ideas provokes. We have had to grapple with that ourselves as voting Members of this meeting, and certainly we know that our Membership is not a monolith when it comes to these motions, or in fact any other motion that might come before our Council for debate. However for an outside organization to encourage and engage in this kind of heavy-handed, intimidating action before a decision as to whether these motions are ones we can support, is absurd.”

“Make no mistake about it. Whether the motions are carried or defeated, it will be a reflection of the will of the majority of our Members, and that’s as it should be.”

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