Opening Statement



Thursday, 17 May 2012

UAGM Overview!

TSU UAGM [Unit Annual General Meeting] 2012 was one of the best I've attended since the Harris or Rae years! Back then we could pack a hall with 500 members on a regular basis. Of course we were also, as teachers, at battle to save our profession, contracts, even our schools. Still, before long we could be facing such a galvanizing situation again! Last night I doubt we topped 50 members. Quorum was set at 19 when we began at 4:30. Membership apathy gives definite pause for concern, especially considering what a great UAGM it was. Here's why I thought it was so outstanding:

1] Doug McCarthy was in the speaker's chair. Doug is a chair's chair. Procedure wise beyond compare but rarely caught up in the letter verses the spirit of the law, Doug educates us in Robert's Rules of Order as he once again runs a smooth and perfectly delightful meeting in which everyone can excel.

2] We enjoyed good thought provoking election speeches and an exceptionally sharp Q+A that was respectful and conducted without rancour. Bravo all!

3] We got through all the resolutions in a good, constructive forum where all members could speak and discuss the issues openly without unnecessary procedural wrangling or polemics.

3] It was very democratic, much more so than any of the other groups or organizations; political, business or otherwise, who so often criticize unions. We had a dynamic night full of hard questions, excellent debate. The majority ruled and had the final say. Those members who came to speak and vote determined the legislative direction our unit will take in the year ahead!

4] For the first time in years I could ask the candidates questions from the floor.  I was free to roam taking photos and gathering info for my blog report. This is definitely my favourite TSU election ever! Then again, I was acclaimed TSU 3rd VP, which might explain that but still...............................;-)

I'm now looking at the 100's of photos, reams of notes, and my scribbled up resolutions handbooks. Dozens  of individual and group discussions roll around my head. How can I best report and make any sense of everything that happened last night? I will need to break it down into a series. I'll begin now, with an overview, developing it more thoroughly from here. I will focus on the resolutions,candidate positions, and some of the pressing issues that struck me the most.

At the UAGM I asked the candidates about their "Vision" for the unit. That will be addressed. I'm also concerned about the outstanding discrepancy in the grievance settlement numbers presented during the candidates speeches. Have we settled 3 or 4 grievances this year? Or have we gone down from 183 to 104 outstanding grievances as of May 1st? If any of our candidates can explain which numbers are correct and how they were reached, I will gladly post that info here in my report, for your erudication. Any takers? Can anyone explain? Enquiring minds need to know!

Let me conclude my overview with brief thumbnail summaries of the candidate speeches as I understood them from the floor: These views are totally my own but I will try to present them without prejudice. They are arranged by position and alphabetical order:

President:

Ian Hedley: Emphasized he's back feeling re-energized and ready to lead. Collective Bargaining [CB] is more important than policy and lots of paperwork.

Rene Jansen: Emphasized teamwork, capacity, and "getting ahead of the puck". Policy gives substance before and afterwards to the CB process.

1st Vice President:

Frank Bruno: Emphasized his skills list focusing on PAC, grievances and health and safety. Said he's accessible and gets the job done.

Dave Szollosy: Emphasized teamwork, vision and problem solving. Said he brings political experience and strong union involvement to the "dangerous times" ahead.

2nd Vice President:

Ottavio Ariganello: Emphasized his union involvement and experience in the teacher strikes of the 1980's and 90's. Spoke about his focus on Catholicity, professionalism, and our students.

Gillian Vivona:  Emphasized her efforts and results in SSAC, and LLSAC. Spoke about her involvement in grievance and the OECTA Provincial Leadership Foundation.

3rd VP President: Me. Ha. Acclaimed. No speech allowed but you can read me here.

Treasurer: Rosemary Lavery: One year remains in her term. Ditto. No speech.

Recording Secretary:

Melissa Ammendolia: Presented herself as the representative of our new generation of teachers. Spoke about the importance of engaging the new members in our union.

Ewa Lipinski: Focused on her experience and qualifications as a teacher advocate. Said that as a teacher she's learnt to listen, can compromise but won't tolerate any b.s.

Councillor: 

Bianka Hudec: Emphasized her involvement in Highlights and the OECTA Provincial leadership Foundation. Spoke about member involvement and fighting PDT cutbacks.

Luigi Martelli: Reviewed his TSU union and political advisory involvement,. Spoke of Catholicity, and his insight into the way our executive works.

Peter Mckay: Reviewed his CB involvement and past experience in non-unionized British Columbia schools. Said there's more work to do and seeks support to help get it done.

Mike Nicolaidis: Reviewed his union qualifications and experience in the labour sector. Said he understands the concern for workplace safety as a past nurse, Canadian Navy Seal and marine engineer.

Steve Watson: Emphasized his teacher union experience from over the years and discussed the present labour situation focusing on worker cuts and corporate rates.

Much more to come...........................


Executive election candidates during speeches and Q+A at our TSU UAGM 2012.

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