Opening Statement



Monday, 21 May 2012

My TSU Election Picks!

Here are my election picks. First there's a list for quick perusal. Afterwards I'll explain why I chose each candidate. I won't engage in negativity by putting anyone down. I have provided you with positive info on everybody in my election postings. Now I'll provide my views on different issues which either made or discouraged my election choices, but I will not name names. I look forward to working with whomever you vote for on May 23. These then would be my first choices for your executive team.

President:
Rene Jansen

1st VP: 
Dave Szollosy

2nd VP:
Gillian Vivona

Recording Secretary: 
Ewa Lipinski

Councillors: 
Bianka Hudak
Steve Watson,
Michael Nicolaidis

President Jansen: Rene came to office with a plan for modernizing our unit so it works more fairly and effectively. His focus is on policy and process. This has helped TSU make the best of our relations with each other and with the school board. He sees the big picture and has been very active and involved as top dog at TSU. Continuity is important as we enter "dangerous times". TSU executive needs him for one last term to continue the many important  initiatives we've been developing with his leadership skills.

1st VP Sollosy: Dave has the most extensive background in labour and politics, not just at TSU but at the municipal, federal and international level too. He's firm in his stands and beliefs, especially on social justice. He's also ready to consider other points of view. Think of a steel fist in a velvet glove, that`s Dave. He is never closed minded. He fights hard to negotiate a fair and equitable "win-win situation" for everybody through teamwork.

2nd VP Vivona: Gillian is the hardest worker I know. She's also the Queen of LLSAC and SSSAC. Heck, she`s practically written the book. Her knowledge and understanding of staffing issues is far superior to even the school board. She`s narrowed them down to a fine process by adhering to policy and our contract. She also mentors younger teachers. They look up to her and will hopefully also pursue the union path.

Recording Secretary Lipinski: After much deliberation I chose Ewa because of her knowledge, involvement and commitment. This is not really a starting position. All her hard work over the years at TSU  has certainly earned her this sometimes difficult and very tiring job. As a courtesy you can read Mark Stelmacovich's letter in the next blog about why he thinks our members should vote for Melissa Ammendolia.

Councillor Hudec: Bianka works well as a team member. She's worked hard lobbying our connections at the Ministry of Education. We need her to help open doors for us, especially during the current PDT dilemma.

Councillor Watson: Steve is a long standing, experienced and active TSU member. Councillor is a good choice as he re-acquaints himself with executive operations, and sees closely how we now work. He is also a good advocate for our members.

Michael Nicolaidis: I gamble on the new guy. He's worked real hard on his election campaign. That suggests he'll take the councillor position very seriously. Let's see him apply his resume for the good of the unit as he learns the ropes.

I highly recommend you vote for these candidates on May 23.

Now for some notes on various issues that have frequently come up during the campaign. A candidate's approach or position often encouraged or discouraged me in choosing my picks

Collective Bargaining [CB]: Truth is TSU will have to work with what we get at the provincial dialogue table [PDT] in negotiating our next contract with the board. The PDT situation doesn't look good. We may  be fighting just to hang onto the gains we've all ready made. During tight times we can sometimes get good concessions on working conditions and so on in lieu of what isn`t otherwise available at the table. I'd put 50/50 odds on TSU becoming involved in some form of labour action within the next year, if our members so choose. I don`t think it`s realistic or wise to raise contract expectations right now. We likely face a rough road ahead, no matter how brilliant or skilled in CB anyone is. More frank talk is in order as we brace for the dangerous times ahead. Nobody can realistically promise you everything will work out well if you vote for them, so be careful!

Grievances:  They are frustrating. I'm currently involved in my own grievance at school. Know that it's a process with many outside time lines and roadblocks. The grievance has to go through many parties and steps. OECTA Provincial is currently handling a flood of  grievances. It can be hard going with the school boards. Capacity depends upon staffing and resources both at TSU and provincial. Nonetheless, TSU currently meets, even slightly exceeds the settlement rate of other comparable teacher units. We also often find a solution at the local level without having to pursue the more formal, time consuming and legalistic grievance method. It isn't a question of just working harder or being more aggressive. If anybody promises you they can do a lot better then they probably don`t understand the process or are just talking election talk.

Member Involvement and Good Service: The last crisis during the Harris years galvanized teacher participation in our union. During a crisis members will naturally rally. This time will be no different as we face impending salary and grid freezes, a reduction in sick days and gratuities, and any tampering or cuts from our pension. Teachers have gone through a long period of complacency. Out of mind is out of sight. Most members are busy enough at school and will think everything is okay until they come under attack. Such is the state of our union involvement. It happened before and it will happen again if we are to survive.

During the lull, TSU has been very busy reorganizing and modernizing our union operations. We have a very active committee base. Many more members apply than there are spaces. TSU has very become very proactive instead of reactive in dealing with problems. Members are becoming more educated in understanding our contract and how it works. Also that it applies to both the school board and us. We need good process and policy to get the most out of our contract talks rather than suffer needlessly. TSU has negotiated and achieved many very important precedents with our board. Many empowered, effective and committed unionists are developing among our membership ranks at school and on the executive.

In short, for the past two terms TSU executive has been focusing upon developing our capacity and infrastructure to serve you better through both good times and bad. Member involvement might seem low. You are very busy teaching at school. You elect an executive to take care of your union affairs.We are here to serve you. Unfortunately TSU is understaffed and under tight funding for an active unit our size Our capacity to help is thus sometimes compromised. There are limits on what TSU can practically do for our members with so few resources. Hence the emphasis on educating the staff reps and you about our contract and procedures so that you can also help yourselves when trouble strikes.

There isn`t any easy formula for increasing member involvement or getting more work done with the resources we have. Very hard decisions and compromises sometimes have to be made with the services we can realistically provide, often on quite short notice, but in the long term TSU is ready for whatever the future may bring. It`s not realistic for a candidate to claim they can somehow just magically fix the problems quickly and better than anyone else because of their own personal ability and skills. Either they don't understand team work and how our teacher union actually functions, or they are just talking election talk.

Democracy: TSU is a very democratic organization with an elected executive, a charter, by laws and general meetings. All our meetings, be they for the general membership, committee work, or executive are governed by Robert's Rules of Order. I've noticed far less procedural wrangling and polemics at all our TSU meetings this year. If anyone feels they aren't being treated fairly you can call personal privilege or challenge the chair, to have your concerns addressed right away. Since we are all only human, real or perceived mistakes can sometimes happen. That's the exception rather than the rule when good policy and procedures are in place. TSU has developed these for you. Also an open door opportunity to have your concerns personally addressed should you still believe our system has somehow failed you. A candidate who says TSU is undemocratic, is either unable or unwilling to learn the rules of order and good procedure, or how to reasonably seek help. Possibly they are once again just talking election talk, so beware.

Vote on May 23 between 8-6pm. Please get out your cellphones or use a land line at home, school or wherever you are. Telephones are easy to find. The new telephone voting system shouldn't  be any more difficult than SEMs. See the letter you were sent at home for your registration number. Check the top left corner for the SAP employee number on your recent pay stub. Then dial away at your convenience.

I hope my election coverage is of some help regardless of how you decide to vote. We all speak for teachers because we are teachers, but if you don`t vote, well then please don`t complain. You have forfeited your right to democratically choose your executive by your own inaction. TSU is only what you make of it through participating as need be regardless of all the busy work at school and in our own lives. Please vote!


I will review some of the important motions passed at TSU UAGM 2012 when the election is over. I will also post the election results and my commentary here asap, so please stay tuned to my blogspot, and share the link with our teachers.

More very recent election info below...................

No comments:

Post a comment

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!