Opening Statement



Friday, 23 March 2012

A Windsor AGM Summary


I can't believe that the March 10-12th Windsor AGM has all ready come and gone. I posted a few blogs from there last week. I will summarize these and tell you were you can find them, in case you haven't read them all ready.  Then I will report on a few other interesting motions that were also passed. You can check the OECTA Provincial and OECTA-TSU websites for the complete official story, when it's posted. I've provided the links at the end of this posting. In the meantime, here is what I saw and heard. I hope this helps!

Your membership fees were rolled back to $950. As promised last year the one time $60 provincial election campaign fee was removed. The fee rate was reverted back to the previous 2010-11 rate. There will not be an additional increase. I'm glad to report that as the saying goes, a promise is a promise is a promise. See my March 12 "Flurry of Motions" blog for more information.

Inclusivity Issues: Major motions were passed on the controversial issue of sexual orientation in our Catholic schools. The motions included union support of anti-bullying clubs, GSA's or otherwise, and  support for the equal employment rights of all our teachers regardless of their sexual orientation during contract negotiations with the school boards. See my March 13 "Rights and Sexual Identity" blog for more information.

A "Peace through Education" motion was passed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, via "amendment by substitution". It replaced the original motion which would have committed OECTA to join in  a labour strategy of sanctions, boycotts and disinvestment. See my March 18 "Whither Palestine" blog for more information.

The Minister of Education met with the AGM assembly just as the great confusion and dismay about the government's PDT talks hit the news. OECTA hasn't walked out of the talks yet, unlike ETFO, and didn't disinvite the Minister from attending our AGM, like OSSTF decided to do. The Minister was met with a cold but polite silence. A Q+A social followed afterwards outside the assembly. Our teachers expressed their views directly to the Education Minister in a very frank discussion. For my photos and report see my March 11 "Education Minster Reception" blog.

Now, in other AGM news;

Councillors Andrew Donihee and Jeremy Cox were elected to the two open positions on OECTA Provincial Executive. All other positions were acclaimed except for the President who's term runs 2 years.

A motion was passed that our teachers should not be performing CYW, Custodial or secretarial duties, such that Policies Miscellaneous is amended with a new section that reads;
"That the association require members not to assume the duties of a member in another Union or Association with the same employer."
A motion was passed to help our OT's [Occasional Teachers] establish a fair and equitable hiring process with the school boards. Policies, Collective Bargaining, Work Conditions was amended with the addition of a new section that reads;
"Years of experience and number of long term occasional assignments [are] mandatory criteria to be incorporated into boards' hiring practices for contract positions."
Please note that our association cannot tell the school boards or Ministry what to do. Often motions such as one above will need to be negotiated during our contract talks. However our Association is now directed by our membership to advocate for these priority issues, in addition to the all ready existing ones, hopefully giving them more weight and emphasis. You might argue the technical details here but that is basically it in a nutshell.

A motion was passed to help better regulate our itinerant teachers' workload, by amending the Policies, Working Conditions section of our handbook to include,

"limitations on the number of classes itinerant teachers teach during the instructional day.
 A motion was passed to assert our members, rather than school administation own and determine the direction of the Annual Learning Plan based upon their own interests and needs as teachers. The motion is in line with the Ministry of Education. The Policies, Statement of Direction section of our own handed book has now been amended to read;

"The association must promote to it's members that Professional Development be self directed and be used to promote the member's own personal professional growth."
 An Action Directive was passed for our associaton to lobby the government on a safety study of WiFi use in our schools. It reads;


"That the association, through the Canadian Teachers' Federation lobby the Federal Government to review Safety Code 6 with respect to lowering the current Threshold Limit Values [TLV] regarding  electromagnetic radiation, especially in the microwave WiFi frequency band."

 An Action Directive was made to request a third party investigator be used by a school board so a member who is subject to administrative harassment, along with the witnesses can have their case heard without fear of reprisal from the school board. Of course one could also file a Harassment charge now under Bill 168: The Health and Safety Act with the Labour Board. Still, the Action Directive reads;

"That the Association Lobby the Ministry of Education to require school boards to access independent investigators in alleged cases of administrator member harassment."

A motion was passed to require principals, to consult with a teacher who is assaulted by a student whom they are not teaching, for example during supervision, in the hallways or cafeteria. They should work together to develop a strategy to ensure the teacher and student won't be in close proximity during the school day. Of course, when you press assault charges with the police you can also request a restraining order which would defacto prevent the student from entering the school until the courts deal with the matter. Still, the Assault Against Section of Policies, Counselling and Member Services is amended with a new section that reads

"In the event that the assaulted member is not a teacher of the student, the principal shall, in consultation with the member, develop a strategy to ensure that the student and member are not in close proximity during the school day."
 Please note that it is you, our teachers, who write these motions. You also vote to forward them to OECTA Provincial AGM at our unit Resolutions Meeting each year. They you volunteer to give up some of your March Break to go to AGM to have them approved. If you either like or disapprove of the outcomes, well, it's really up to you to come out and get involved. Ask your staff rep, or phone our main office to find out how. Please note that our 2013 OECTA AGM may be another year away, but our local TSU AGM is coming up this May 16th.

There are many more important motions that were passed at Windsor AGM than I have time to summarize here. So please check http://oecta.on.ca or http://tsuoecta.org for more complete, concise and of course official information. You will find my Blog Directory below this centre blog column if you wish to examine further my own AGM reports.


                     Busy AGM delegates at work trying to fight the good fight in Windsor.

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