Opening Statement



Tuesday, 15 May 2012

TSU UAGM 2012

As we all should know the TSU UAGM (Unit Annual General Meeting) is tomorrow (May 16) at the OFL labour hall, 16 Gervais Dr. in Toronto's east end. It starts at 4pm. It is very important for many reasons. First, you vote on the members' resolutions to provide direction for our unit. Secondly, you get a chance to hear the TSU election candidates' speeches. You can ask them questions so you can better decide how to vote.

A few notes:

Resolutions: Here are a few biggies. Resolution 8 would extend all executive terms in office to 2 years. I support this motion because I believe 2 years is a more reasonable time period to forward an elected executive officers mandate. Also I believe it would create a more stable political environment at TSU. We wouldn't always be in a permanent state of election readiness. Of course the change wouldn't apply until next year.

Resolution 23 would require committee members be selected by early July each year. Resolution 24 would require a successful applicant to sign and return a form accepting their appointment to the committee. These are both very important for making our committees more efficient. You will know in advance what committees you are on so you can commence your committee work immediately in September. That would be well before the budget proposals are due. Secondly, when somebody changes their mind the next person on the waiting list can be more immediately offered the opening.

Special Education Committee Resolution: I forwarded this resolution through executive and plan to seek your support. For the past 2 years we have had an Ad Hoc Sped Committee. It should become a formal standing committee. Special education is a huge area of concern. We have been meeting with the superintendents, the department heads and our members to very good effect with our member issue and trends survey. It's time to make this committee permanent in acknowledgement of it's importance for our Special Education teachers.

These are only a few of the resolutions in the handbook that's been sent to each school. Please look it over for much more information. Let me now highlight a few important considerations for the election candidate speeches, Q and A, and meets and greets.

I believe there are 3 important areas you should focus on:

1) Service: Most candidates present a hefty resume. Why are the skills they emphasize so important  in providing service to our members? What have they actually done in their areas of expertise, committee work and so on? What was the process they followed or would recommend? What outcomes did they actually accomplish, or still wish to do? Why is that especially important for our members?

2) Issues: What member issues do they consider most important and deserving of their immediate attention? Why? What specifically do they want to do? How can it actually be achieved?

3) Vision: TSU is a constantly developing and growing teachers' union. We face many challenges in the years ahead. Can the candidate reasonably "see the forest for the trees"? How does everything they want to do fit into the "big picture" for our unit! What do they think the biggest challenges will be? Where do they want to see us headed and how do we get there? What can they realistically do in the next year to that end? Where do they see us 5 years from now? Why is their vision in the best interest of all our members?

Please come to our annual general meeting, ask questions, vote, and have your say! TSU is a very democratic organization. It's very unfortunate when members don't exercise their right to determine our leadership, and the directions in which our teachers' union will go. It's of course easy to get frustrated or complain, but it only takes a little of your time to come out, get involved, and make a difference. See you at TSU UAGM this Wednesday after school!

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