Opening Statement



Thursday, 31 May 2012

TSU Election Results!

Here are the totals. I was awoken with the results around 2am and got up to post them for our nighthawks and  labour reps attending the council meeting in Vancouver, where there is a 4 hour time difference. From what I understand it took a long, long time to collect and examine the ballot boxes at TSU. Numbers of names had to match the number of ballots, which had to be cross referenced for accuracy and so on. We will wait to hear from the election committee and our scrutineers later on, but I understand there were numerous delays.



All positions were declared except for 2nd VP. The sequestered votes will have be be opened and verified later on today before a winner can be determined. Whew!



More to follow but for now:



TSU Executive Elect 2011-2012
President: Rene’ Jansen in de Wal (completing two year term)
1st Vice President: Gerard Ardanaz
2nd Vice President: Pending confirmation of sequestered ballots
3rd Vice President: David Chiarelli
Treasurer: Rosemary Lavery
Recording Secretary: Gillian Vivona
Councillors:
Bianka Hudec Luigi Martelli
Dave Szollosy
_______
TSU Elections Voting Results
1st Vice President
Gerard Ardanaz (589 ) Antonella Di Carlo (530 )
2nd Vice President
Frank Bruno ( ) Teresa Placha ( )
3rd Vice President
David Chiarelli ( 536) Sheila MacMillan (529 )
Treasurer: Rosemary Lavery (Acclaimed)
Recording Secretary
Ewa Lipinski (502 ) Gillian Vivona (570 )
Councillor:
Luigi Martelli (525 ) Bianka Hudec (627 )
Darrin Sciberras (490 ) Dave Szollosy ( 677)
Congratulations to all members who put there names forward and all those who voted or were active in our elections. We thank you all for your passion and commitment to TSU.
Special Thank you to the Election Committee and volunteers who worked late into the night.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Ad Hoc Sped Committee Report 2011-12

You will find below the summary and recommendations for this year's Ad Hoc Special Education Committee prepared for our TSU UAGM [Annual General Meeting] on May 16, 2012. Further information on our new 2012-13 Special Education Committee and the application process is included in the reports below this blog.
MEMBERS:
Exec Liaison: DC [JCM]; Chair LW [JCM], JB (Archbishop Romero); TM (Prog/Special Serv-North); UK (Prog/Special Serv-North);  JF (Dante Alighieri); SM (Special  Education-Hearing); AMR [Fraser]
TERMS OF REFERENCE: [see last blog]
Ad Hoc Sped Committee Summary:
Conducted Special Education membership survey on issues and concerns distributed through our survey monkey link.
Provided Survey Summary to TSU executive, and TCDSB Special Education Services, for joint discussion purposes.
Provided Survey Summary for department heads and members feed back.
Held follow up meeting with Special Education teacher members and superintendent for Question and Answer session.
Conducted follow-up Ad Hoc Sped committee analysis and discussion.
Ad Hoc Sped Committee Recommendations:
To put forward a motion at TSU AGM for creation of a standing TSU Special Education Committee.
To forward recommendation to the TCDSB Collective Bargaining Committee for a Joint Special Education committee to be included in our Initial Contract Proposal Spring 2012.
To conduct ongoing surveys and dialogue with our Special Education teachers, department heads, and TCDSB Special Services.


To further develop and seek constructive solutions for the issues and concerns expressed by our TSU members in the 2011-12 Special Education Survey.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

TSU Sped Committee Application Details

I regret any confusion! A revised version of our TSU committee application form was created to include our new Special Education Committee, but it hasn't been posted yet on the official TSU website. Today, I sent an electronic copy to all the department heads I have on my list from past meetings and events to fill out and share with their teachers. If you would like a copy please contact me at my gmail address on the top right side of our screen, or contact our secretary at the TSU office: sabina@tsuoecta.org

A few notes:

The May 18th cut off date on the form will not apply to our committee since it was formally created at our May 16 TSU UAGM. If you will recall, up until now it had been an Ad Hoc Committee, but no more. I have suggested a May 31st cut off date, but with this latest wrinkle in the application process will ask for approval of an extension until June 15th at our next executive meeting on Monday June 4th, and notify you accordingly. Please keep sending the applications in, by fax or email, once you receive them.

The new Special Education Committee is listed with the Collective Bargaining Committees on the second half of the application. These are full status committees just like any other. However, since they deal with work issues that would apply exclusively to our Toronto Secondary members, only our TSU members can apply.

Next see the list of Joint Committees underneath that. Part two of my committee plan is to ask for the creation of a TCDSB-TSU Joint Special Education Committee, which would then be listed here, should it be approved during our contract negotiations. These Collective Bargaining and Joint Committees deal with TSU contract issues, so only our TSU members can participate on them.

Under our TSU Constitution and By Laws, the Occasional Teachers [TOTL] are a part of what is known as our "Political Unit". The OT's can join any of our committees at the top of the page, along with our TSU members. These deal with matters that are common to all of us, but as far as discussing anything contractual, well TOTL has it's own "Collective Bargaining Unit" for that.

It would take a whole blog to try to properly address these intricacies in any detail. Suffice to say, our new Special Education Committee is an official TSU Collective Bargaining Unit Committee dealing with issues and concerns particular to our contract with the board. As such it is only open to our Toronto Secondary members, not anybody else, except perhaps by special invitation as a guest. The reason is because the specific issues and concerns addressed only primarily concern and directly affect TSU teachers via our teaching contract with the school board.

So fear not, we now have a full fledged committee, with a Collective Bargaining Committee status that recognizes the great important of Special Education issues to our members.

We do not yet have a Joint Special Education Committee, though hopes are high. When created it's membership details will be announced. Most TSU Joint Committees include executive and committee members with important experience and skills for our meetings with the counterpart team from the TCDSB. The meetings are jointly chaired, for example on a rotating basis. The local committee [ie Special Education] would help develop a good, knowledgeable, skilled and comprehensive TSU team whom will be available to participate in the Joint Committee during the years ahead to maintain consistency and continuity to our effort.

The local Special Education Committee would also help discuss and develop plans to assist the Joint Special Education Committee. It would hold meetings with our superintendents  for informal discussion and consultation in between Joint Committee meetings. Our TSU Special Education teachers, department heads, and members would also be provided with an opportunity to meet with the superintendents for discussions too, through the committee, to provide info and consultation to and from from the field.

Complicated? You bet, but it is quite an exciting prospect that requires our utmost attention, so if you are interested, please apply.

One last thing. Some of you have seen them before, but these are the Terms of Reference for our Special Education Committee, as carried over from our previous Ad Hoc Special Education Committee. They are:


To gather classroom and Special Education teacher input on trends and concerns in Special Education

To outline developing trends, patterns and issues/concerns from TSU members in the field

To determine implications for classroom and special education teachers of Ministry direction and policy in Special Education

To determine implications for classroom and special education teachers of TCDSB direction and policy in Special Education

To help further develop the Issues, Trends + Concerns Survey Paper on Special Education with recommendations for TSU executive and our membership.


There are more details on our new Special Education Committee, and the creation of a Joint Special Education Committee in my previous posting below. I will post the 2011-12 Ad Hoc Sped Committee Report from our TSU UAGM here as soon as I can. It can help you understand the past work of the committee up until now.

Hope this helps! Please apply as soon as you can!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sped Committee 2012-13 News!


At our recent TSU UAGM two motions were approved which will have significant impact upon our Special Education portfolio for next year. First, Ad Hoc Sped is now a regular standing committee. There's nothing more ad hoc about it! That's important because it recognizes how important Special Education is for our teachers and puts it on the same firm, long term footing as any other TSU committee. Hence we will need to choose members, a chair and put forward our own budget by early in the new school year. Secondly, all committee membership must now be confirmed by early July and the successful candidates must acknowledge their acceptance, so if they decline, their position can quickly be offered to the next person on the waiting list.

You can apply for membership by using our standard committee application form available on the TSU website at http://www.tsuoecta.org  All applications are due by May 31st so please submit one asap if you haven't all ready and are interested in being a member next year.

It would also be very helpful if you could submit a brief description of your specific areas of interest and expertise to our TSU secretary  at sabina@tsuoecta.org . Please also "cc" it to me for follow up. These will be shared with the new executive when we meet to select the committee members. We need members with a wide variety of different backgrounds to cover all the many facets of our TCDSB Special Education programs so the committee is as comprehensive as possible.

If you were at our TSU Initial Contract Offer meeting, you will  know that we have asked for the creation of a Joint Special Education Committee. Like our other Joint Committees [Safe Schools, Health and Safety, PD etc] it would meet regularly with the school board, in our case with the Special Services Department, to discuss and develop solutions to the many issues and challenges we face. The superintendents have been very interested and co-operative with us so far, and this year took great interest in our committee's Special Education Issues Survey. We are quite keen on developing the initiative a lot further together. Hopefully the Joint Special Education Committee will be approved and included in our next contract, which is due by August 31.

Please also see my May PDT Update blog below. There may be some difficulties and delays with the new contract, but hopefully our Joint Committee proposal will be a no brainer low cost/ no cost item on which we can all readily agree.

Members from our Special Education Committee can apply for the Joint Committee once it is created. The Special Education Committee itself will serve as a discussion and research group that would assist and train members for the Joint Committee. We would also invite our superintendents to meet throughout the year with the Special Education Committee members, and set up other meetings through the committee where they could also meet with our department heads, and special education teachers.

My vision of our Social Education portfolio for this time next year would have both the Joint and the regular Special Education Committees set up and running in tandem. We would work co-operatively with the Special Services Department of the TCDSB to provide input, direction and support for the many challenges ahead. We share the common goal of wanting to best develop our programs for the benefit of our special need students. What better way could there be for our teachers and the school board to work together in this common pursuit? The prospect is very exciting indeed!

If you are interested please submit an application for our new Special Education Committee asap, by May 31st. Also the brief note as requested. Kindly share this link with the other TSU Special Education teachers you know so we can all get involved in this exciting new initiative!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

A Late May PDT Update!

As of last week OECTA was the last remaining teachers' association at the PDT (provincial discussion table). All the other teacher associations have walked out, making it seem quite likely that we will have a long hot summer settling teacher contracts by August 31. What are the current odds of possible teacher job action including work to rule or a strike during the 2012-13 school year? Consider it about 50 percent, if there isn't a break through soon. Of course the membership would have to vote on any job actions first, but with the government standing fast on its position, one wonders how many members are going to favour:

A 2 year pay and grid freeze?

A reduction of sick days from 20 to 6?

A loss of accumulated sick days and a retirement gratuity?

A provincial government plan to cut its contributions to our pension plan?

OECTA can be expected to walk away from the table after it has exhausted all reasonable chance of pursuing the negotiations successfully. One has to think that could be very soon.

There has been some speculation on a possible split within the Liberal cabinet on the PDT talks. With Premier McGuinty apparently lining himself up for a run at the federal Liberal party leadership race as the longest reigning Liberal leader in Canada, the Ontario Liberal Party could be also faced with a leadership race too. One scenario has former Education Minister and current Municipal Minister Kathleen Wynne not on the same page as current Education Minister Laurel Broten and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan with the PDT talks.

Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwarth remains silent on the teacher PDT issue and word is that the recent party policy conference was hardly a labour love in. Andrea is now trying to move her party more to the political centre, with increased seats and a potentially unstable minority government situation.

Provincial Conservative leader Tim Hudak remains far out in the cold Ontario political wilderness with an even harder party line on public service cuts. With possible teacher job actions this fall one has to wonder if his position will not gain favour in the year ahead, although at present the Liberals seem to have out Tory'd the Tory's with their PDT position. It is certainly a big change for a party that has enjoyed huge teacher support in the last three provincial elections and has promoted itself as the education party.

As the saying goes "It isn't over until it's over" but right now the possibility of a settlement at the PDT and with our school board contract talks before August 31st looks quite bleak indeed!


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

And The Winners Are...

Here are the election results. You can verify them with the emails from your staff reps or the TSU main office. More reporting to follow when I get the chance. Stay tuned. Here they are:

President:
Rene Jansen. 532 @@
Ian Hedley. 218

1st VP:
Dave Szollosy 399 @@
Frank Bruno 346

2nd VP:
Gillian Vivona 505 @@
Ottavio Ariganello. 232

Recording Secretary:
Melissa Ammendolia 406 @@
Ewa lipinski 328

Councillors (3)
Bianka Hudec. 455 @@
Peter McKay 435. @@
Steve Watson 402 @@
Luigi Martelli 272
Michael Nicolaidis 226

Total Voters: 751
Total Membership: 2200 (approx.)

Congratulations everyone for a good election!

Commentary: This has been the least acrimonious election in recent memory. Hopefully we have moved beyond all the toxic political infighting of years past to focus on serving our membership best!

Voter turnout has also been the lowest in some years. My experience was that the younger teachers liked phone voting, while the senior teachers didn't. That's a generalization of course. The value and impact of telephone voting will require much further post election discussion in the days and months ahead. We've gone from paper ballots at the UAGM to paper ballots at school. Telephone voting was then approved by the membership. The first two methods certainly had problems too. See my blogs from May 2011 in my Archives below the main column. Computer voting has also been approved should the unit want to try that out, or add it as an option. Or were paper ballots best? At UAGM? At school? Where do we go, if anywhere, from here? Sounds like a lively debate!

My blog readership was about average, down from the volleyball coverage and Windsor AGM, but comparable to the rest of the last year since May 2011. It remains controversial. Either you love it or you don't. It seems to have helped my political prospects, possibly because you recognize my name, face and know my views on just about everything at TSU. What you see is what you get, the good stuff anyway! ;-)

I will have p.o.'d some folk for recommending this person or other but not so and so and so on. 5 of my picks for 1st choice fellow executive members got elected. 2 didn't. That's okay by me, and I hope it shows my blogspot views have integrity. I developed my criteria during the election, reviewed a few big issues, and tried my best to report fairly on all the candidates' vision statement and election speeches. The idea was to give you the reader an overview. You vote. You choose. You decide. You speak for the teachers because you are the teacher membership we serve in office. I hope my blogs at least helped in some small part whichever way you ultimately voted. I did not give preference to this side or that except within the terms of the criteria I set. I am hoping more of you appreciate the lack of bias then are upset. I'm trusting my readers don't come here for any b.s.

My sincerest congratulations go to everyone who ran and I will look forward to working together with you in service of our membership next year.

Ta!

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...................

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sparky on Melissa's Candidacy!

I am adding this letter from Sparky to my blogpage upon special request. It was real hard endorsing a recording secretary this year because the candidates were both very good. I choose experience over youth with Ewa. However, I have always been a big supporter of getting our new teachers involved, so his letter is attached below for your consideration, and to be fair.

This is a message for all TSU teachers, most important for those with less than ten years experience. Please pass it on, if possible. Many thanks.

Why is a retired teacher supporting Melissa Ammendolia for TSU Recording Secretary?

Allow me to state a few points on Melissa’s behalf, and on yours, so that you know why I’m working for her.

During this school year, we have seen a minority provincial government be taken to task at the expense of its public service sector, and in our case, teaching. The province intends to amend, through forms of cutback, annual pay raises, sick day accumulation and its related retirement compensation, and, potentially, financial involvement in the teacher pension. This can not be happening at a more unfortunate point, given both the state of today’s economy and the expiry of our current collective agreement at the end of August.

So, without question, this Wednesday’s TSU election is the most important one yet for all teachers, and moreso for beginning teachers and those within their first ten years since it is this group who will bear the brunt of these professional and financial cutbacks.

Having a reliable and capable younger teacher on TSU’s executive is now more important than ever! That teacher is Melissa Ammendolia, running for Recording Secretary.


While I am now a retiree, from both teaching and after having been on our TSU Executive, I have not forgotten where I ‘came from’. I volunteered to assist during April’s ‘Beginning Teachers’ volleyball tournament. As it turned out, having done so was not without reward. The camaraderie and collegiality amongst this fine group of teachers was amazing, and the positive energy was empowering! They reminded me about the value of a good working environment and teamwork.

It is no wonder that the following Saturday saw so many teachers within their first ten years show up for the ‘Queens·Park Rally Against Cuts’.

TSU Executive can benefit so much from a younger teacher. It really is time for Melissa!

Am I the only veteran feeling that youthful input is important? Not a chance! This sentiment is shared by fellow executive and candidates, RenĂ© Jansen·in·de·Wal, David Szollosy, Gillian Vivona, Gerard Ardanaz (retiring from Executive), Bianka Hudec, Peter MacKay, and Steve Watson, by the way, many who also showed up for Saturday’s Queens·Park rally.

On Wednesday, be sure to make your vote count
for the future of teachers! For TSU Recording Secretary, please vote Melissa Ammendolia
‘As a young teacher, I’d bring to the Executive the concerns of young teachers at a time in which the changes that are occurring threaten to alienate those new to the profession. We need to be heard. Let me represent you. Let me be your voice.’

Posting written by Mark "Sparky" Stelmacovitch Thanks Mark! We miss having you around with us!

More election coverage and candidate info below......... 

Election 2012 Vision Statements

My experience on executive is that the best officers have a sense of vision. They can see the "forest for the trees", so they aren't merely caught up in the issues or events of the day. They seek the "big picture" of where TSU is headed, of where we should go. This will govern their decisions and actions. It's for the greater purpose and benefit of all. It is a very important aspect of real leadership. It goes beyond the everyday and mundane. It rises above acrimony and infighting. It is based upon the goal of providing the best service possible for all our members.

During the TSU UAGM election debate I asked all the candidates, as promised, the following question:

What is your vision for TSU? Where do you see TSU 5 years from now? How would you get us there?

Here is a summarized version of their answers. The answers are organized by executive position and in alphabetical order, to avoid any perception of bias. They are based upon my understanding of what they said,
when they said it. So be it

President:

Ian Hedley: TSU will be a stronger because of increased skill and focus on CB [Collective Bargaining] in our contract talks.

Rene Jansen: TSU will have a greater capacity for meeting your needs through increased teamship, member involvement and skills development.

1st VP:

Frank Bruno: TSU's success at settling grievances will have the school board "shaking in it's boots"

David Szollosy: TSU will be stronger through putting CB gains into practice and engaging our new teachers in the ownership of our unit.

2nd VP

Ottavio Ariganello: TSU will be bigger and better with more committees and member involvement.

Gillian Vivona: TSU members share more pride and efficacy in our union collectively with increased assistance in learning how to use our tools and skills.

Recording Secretary:

Melissa Ammendolia: TSU will have grown as a community. Everybody, including our new members, will have learnt they can openly express their opinions and be heard.

Ewa Lipinski: TSU will be involved in "less talk and more action". More members will also be involved in our Unit AGMs

Counsellors

Bianka Hudec: TSU member awareness and engagement will have lead our members to take more pride in our union.

Luigi Martelli:  TSU executive will be more democratic. We will "play by the rules with a level playing field".

Peter McKay: TSU will have engaged more member involvement in the office and with the executive.

Michael Nicolaidis:  TSU will be empowering and supporting our members with more resources so we can better help ourselves.

Steve Watson: TSU will be more like an extended family. Different opinions will be respected in the pursuit of mutual agreements.


Friday, 18 May 2012

2011-2012 Grievance Numbers?


President Jansen advises us that the "TSU Notes" on grievance procedures and numbers for the 2011-2012 school year are available at:

http://tsuoecta.org/tsugrievance.php

The current number of "live grievance files" is 104 as of April 1st. 40 new grievances were filed this year. 120 complaints were resolved locally without having to file grievances. 9 grievances are at step 1 and 7 are at step 2. 2 were withdrawn. 12 are in arbitration. 10 have been resolved or are pending sign off in a letter of understanding.

The report explains the process, steps, time lines and difficulties in detail, which can be quite illuminating in light of our recent election debates. It would seem there is no easy fix for getting the grievances all quickly and easily resolved, despite our executive release officers' efforts. Indeed, the report claims our number of live grievance files is similar to other comparable GTA [Greater Toronto Area] units.

It is interesting to note that the 7 main issues for grievances for our secondary level teachers at the TCDSB [Toronto Catholic District School Board] have been:

1] Staffing and LLSAC
2] Discipline/ Representation
3] Accommodations/ WSIB [Workmen's Compensation]
4] Postings/ Positions
5] Health and Safety
6] Harassment/ Safety
7] Workload/ Initiatives

Most of the grievances are from 6 to 7 of our schools. The report critiques the TCDSB Decision Making Matrix and proposes a better process model. TSU office capacity demands and our staffing model are also examined in detail.

Any candidates who wish to critique and contest these figures and the report may forward a posting for my blog. That is only fair! Otherwise I would have to say this report would seem to pretty much provide the  answers to the discrepancies in numbers argued during the 2012 election campaign and Wednesday night's debate. Take time to read it over carefully if in doubt.

More of my UAGM and executive election news and updates are posted below. Further reports will follow on a regular basis through the election on May 24th.

I hope this helps!


Presidential candidates Ian Hedley and Rene Jansen during this year's election speeches and Q+A.

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.

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!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Help the Steve Hnatiuk Fund!


The Steve Hnatiuk Memorial Fundraiser at the Horseshoe Tavern has fallen about $10,000 short of it's goal to raise $30,000 for a student bursary acknowledging athletic and academic achievement in Steve's name.
Organizer Julia Nobrega [JCM teacher] shares with us the final results and how we can still make a donation to this good cause to push the numbers over the top. Please help out!

See below;

Julia writes......

The Grand Total is...

$20,122
$16, 762 - ticket sales, raffles, auctions
$1400 - from McGuigan fundraising
$1960 - donated online so far (that's including the $1500 from Steve's Michigan family)

From now on people may donate online through the school board and get a tax receipt.

Please push this option to EVERYONE you know. Emails, facebook, twitter....

The link to donate is available on: www.tcdsb.org (see RIGHT hand side of home page and look for the CANADA HELPS icon). Once inside the Canada Helps TCDSB site, click on "donate now" and you will be able to view a list of our funds under "Fund Designation". The Stephen David Hnatiuk Memorial Award is at the bottom of the list. You will get a tax receipt for anything over $25.

Friday, 11 May 2012

TSU Election Sleeper

Zzzzzzz. So far our TSU election has been a real sleeper. A snoozefest. Totally under most everyone's radar. I don't have anyone running against me. There's been a slight flurry of flyers hitting your school mailboxes towards the end of the week. Business cards are being used again this year by some candidates. There are school visits to press the flesh. I'm not sure how successful they will be, but as long as they aren't carried on during the school day that's allowed by our election committee too.

Next week should be more interesting. Wednesday at our Unit Annual General Meeting [UAGM] there will be candidate speeches and an audience Q and A. You should find most all the candidates there to meet. Attendance was real low last year when it was scheduled after the election. In year's past when it was held before the election, maybe 100 members would stay for the speeches.A lot, if not most, had made up their mind all ready and were pretty much there to cheer on their favourites. The mood of the audience often did not reflect the actual election results.

I doubt if the election results have rarely been strongly swayed by the debates, IMHO, but they can maybe swing a few voters this way or that. A candidate really would not want to perform poorly but otherwise? Perhaps insignificant in swaying large numbers of voter, some of our elections have been won by a handful of votes. I was tied once. Others have won by one vote! They can make a small but significant difference if a candidate gains a few extra votes. Every vote counts!

Sleeper elections can tend to favour the incumbents. The mood so far comes as quite a surprise. During the past four elections at TSU the positions have often been hotly contested by two opposing factions. This time? So far we seem mercifully short on mudslinging. What a big relief! Personal attacks or dirty politics can turn voters off from voting or even turn them against the belligerent party. We hope as teachers we are above it, but politics can be a blood sport. Like with hockey games lots of the spectators will want a little excitement,  some fighting and so on, truth be told. Long term however, this can create a very toxic union work environment long after the election is over. It can hurt the effort to provide good service for our members. One hopes the current sense of detente will continue to set the tone of this year's TSU executive election race.

Often, in the final analysis, the election winners are the ones who can get the most number of their voters out to vote. This is true federally, provincially, municipally and even at TSU, where elections can sometimes be won with but a handful of votes. It will be interesting if more members vote this year, our first election by phone voting. I'm not sure they will. You need 2 security numbers, for very good reason, but then it also becomes a hassle. It only takes 2 or 3 minutes to vote by phone and will be like using SEMs. The challenge won't be about convenience and security but in making sure members are prepared and actually vote!

Whether this remains a sleeper election or not the results and analysis afterwards should prove very interesting indeed! Please stick around for more coverage and please don't forget to vote on May 23rd!

Our operators will be waiting to help if you have trouble voting!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Who Speaks For Teachers?

Thank you for the congratulations on my acclamation as your 2012-13 TSU 3rd VP. I look forward to continuing to serve you again in the year ahead.

I won't need to campaign for myself but I was all set up and ready to go. I will use this site and my Youtube Channel to regularly provide you with thorough TSU election coverage through until May 23. For the first time in 6 years of TSU executive politics I get to just sit back, relax and enjoy the race with you. Whew!

In my May 3rd report below I provided you with an overview of the candidates for each elected position. I found something good to say about everybody. I will be providing upbeat and positive election news. Please continue to visit my site during the election. 

You are teacher professionals and will want good information so you can decide for yourself who to vote for. I can work with pretty much anybody you choose. We will all be working together to represent you at TSU during a very challenging year ahead. May the best candidates win!

Our contract expires August 31. We have many Joint TSU-TCDSB Committees working on your numerous important needs, such as Professional Development, Safe Schools, Health and Safety, and maybe Joint Special Education soon too. More on a Joint Special Education committee later. Suffice to say you need a strong group to represent you at the TSU executive table.

Include here your need for teacher information and help with your workplace grievances too. The list of TSU executive duties goes on and on. Please understand that it is very important that you vote and choose the best executive possible to help you in the year ahead.

As always, you need good elected reps who speak with and for you. My new election series will be called Who Speaks For Teachers, for that very reason! I will be examining the important aspects you need to consider in choosing your new executive. The focus will be  on three main areas:

1] A Vision for the Common Good of our teachers.
2] Providing Good Service for our membership.
3] The Teacher Issues that will be most important next year.

My election coverage will be interesting and entertaining, possibly even intriguing too. There's so much to consider!

In the meantime, please note that the telephone voting information was sent to the staff reps for distribution today by our election committee. Your will need a voter number, your SAP employee number, and a telephone to vote on May 23. Check out the notice for more details. The candidates fliers and resumes will be posted at the TSU website which is our official source of info on the election. Please visit the site at:

 http://tsuoecta.org

Stay tuned! Visit here for my regular supplementary updates, in which I can review what's happening during the election. I will discuss our new telephone voting system more too.

Here are some important dates to keep in mind:

May 3 was the deadline for candidate endorsements, which is now past. I reviewed the final list of candidates in my May 3 blog below.

May 16 is our TSU AGM [Annual General Meeting]. You will vote on member sponsored motions providing direction for our unit. The candidates will also give speeches and be available for a question and answer period from the floor. Please plan to attend. It will be at the OFL [Ontario Federation of labour] offices. More info and directions to follow.

May 23 is election day. You can vote by telephone from wherever you are between 8-6pm. There will be a help line set up and other election services provided at our TSU offices on Wilson Avenue. The results should be available fairly early avoiding the late night affairs of year's past.

The election race is on.................................Who will win?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

RAC: Religious Affairs Update

I was out of school much of this week for meetings, events, and symposiums relating to my Religious Affairs Committee [RAC] portfolio. As TSU 3rd VP, I am not a release officer. I still have a class at school, in  my case with the AU-DDME's, and a roster of fine OT's [Occasional Teachers] I can call upon for excellent coverage. Let me bring you an update on what is going on.

Tuesday was the Right To Life [RTL] Youth Leadership Conference. 200 students were in attendance which was good, only down about 40 or so from last year. Quite frankly I think there were some teacher's who weren't interested in exposing their students to the guest speaker Michael Coren. He's a local talk show host with a very abrasive, bully like manner. Everything is always just a big joke but he can really hurt people, and I hardly find him a good role model for building consensus, more so he's someone who seeks and provokes confrontation to make his point. Is this really the way we want the Pro Life movement to go with the students in our care?

That aside it was a good speaker's list, and the mass at St. Basil's was very moving. It's a beautiful old downtown church, right across from St. Mike's College University of Toronto. There was a small lunchtime business crowd there too, for the express mass, in a very idyllic, uplifting church setting.
I found it very inspirational just being there celebrating the mass with our students.

There have been some false rumours going around that OECTA TSU boycotted the Youth Leadership Conference this year, so as executive liaison I felt it was very important that I be there. Our support will be ongoing. Last year we contributed a significant amount to Right For Life for the conference; fliers, the student's lunch and so on. I purchased some teacher and student guidebooks on how to set up a Pro-Life Club at school, which I distributed to the interested parties, in hopes it helps.

This year we are spreading out our donations more for various Respect For Life Week activities We will be distributing wrist bands in your teacher mailboxes for Respect Life Week. Please wear it, or give them to the students. We are sponsoring a guest speaker from the Respect Life Week Catalogue. Bev Hadland-Turner is a well respected youth counsellor who will speak on "Straight Talk About Sex, Love and Dating." She is free to speak at you school to the students on a first come first served basis during the Respect Life school week of  May 14 to 18th. Contact our RAC Chair Mark Sherlock via his board directory email to book her asap!!!

Next day I attended the TCDSB NCC [Nurturing Catholic Community Committee] Witness to Faith Symposium on TSU's behalf. We have been offered a seat on the committee, to which I have been appointed. All the CUPE affiliates were also invited. We were welcomed by our organization's name in the opening introductions. I was directed to a seat at the table side front where I sat with TCDSB Director Bruce Rodrigues, and later Cardinal Tom Collins joined us for lunch.

I have met with the Cardinal a few times before on your behalf, when he was Archbishop of Toronto, but it was a special honour to be able to congratulate him now in person on his new position within the church. He later graced the symposium with a homily on faith, which I recorded on my Ipad 3. I have posted an excerpt on my Davechiarelli Youtube Channel. The full homily will be broadcast of the Light and Salt Channel May 7th, but I managed to capture a nice taster, which is inspiring to see.

Cardinal Collin's Homily [Excerpt] Click Below:


Director Rodrigues actually taught at my school, JCM, back in the eighties or so. I was surprised he still remembered so many of the staff names. He looks kind of small and diminutive, not in a bad way, rather unassuming like, at least when I saw him. I could sense a serious heaviness to him, expressed perhaps best by his eyes, that would suggest he definitely has a lot on his plate and he takes it very serious. Anyway, he was also a pleasure to talk too and I later passed on his greetings to our staff back at school.

The student choirs at lunch were extraordinary, and there was a delightful group of dancers lead by their teacher.I think they really captured the joyous spirit of the occasion. As we all know, community building is very important if we are to survive as a Catholic school system, and it is not always there. I was pleased to discover Superintendent Geoffrey Grant has made it a priority and invited a very broad representative cross section of our Catholic community to bring us all together as a part of the NCC. A teacher, parent and student from each school across the board was also invited to attend the symposium, so I should think somebody at your school must have gone and can tell you more.

I ended the week at the OECTA Reach Every Student Conference: Supporting Marginalized and LGBT [Lesbian, gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered/ Trans-sexual] Students in Catholic Schools. It was jointly funded by the provincial government, the Catholic Principal's Council of Ontario [CPCO], and of course our own Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association [OECTA]. OECTA Lawyer Paul Cavalluzzo presented  a very informative legal analysis of the implications of Bill 13: The Accepting Schools Act which will require that anti-bullying measures for LGBT be implemented in all our schools, along with a club of some sort to help these students.

Paul Cavalluzzo noted there are many, many legal right verses denominational right  issues and other gaping ambiguities in the act which will probably have to be tested by Supreme Court challenges. They could be quite a concern for teachers accused of being too conservative or too progressive in offering assistance with the students and the clubs. It will be very risky. You could even end up before an Ontario Teacher's College [OCT] tribunal and risk losing your license to teach. Of course it is a very good cause, and very important to a lot of our students but.....................whew!

The OCT presented a workshop on how they are setting up an AQ [Additional Qualification] course for teaching LGBT student's but it is still just in the planning stages. We are facing some very interesting and difficult years ahead! There doesn't seem to be any easy answers either! I think this was one of the best forums for intelligent discussions on the issue of LGBT students that I have yet attended. Any hyperbole on all sides of the debate was openly challenged in a constructive exercise to try to make sense of the issues, no easy task!

Our TSU delegates finished Friday with dinner on Church St in the village. We enjoyed a well earned break and enjoyed some intriguing TSU election talk with much merriment and mirth. Having been acclaimed as your TSU 3rd VP certainly leaves me in an interesting situation. I can just move about talking with everybody on all sides and was touched by the congratulations.

I am beginning a Who Speaks For Teachers? thread as part of the Election Edition of my blogsite later this week, with more links to my new Youtube channel. My coverage will be very teacher issue orientated. Please stay tuned!

Photos from my week of RAC work is being added to the slideshow top right corner of my site screen.




Cardinal Tom Collins speaks on Faith at this week's NCC Symposium. See the link above to watch and hear him on my new Youtube Channel! 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

TSU Election 2012 Begins!

Yes! It's official! As of 5pm today the nominations are closed for our 2012 TSU executive elections. I am very happy and honoured to have been acclaimed your TSU 3rd Vice President for another term. I look forward to continuing to provide service and information for you as your union executive representative.

Relieved of having to mount another election campaign, Janet, Sparky and I headed out to Makimono's at Weston Rd and Hwy 7 for Sushi and rolls tonight, over some good cheer and excited speculation on this year's election race.

Since I am acclaimed I will not have to race to announce my TSU goals and plans for next year. I will of course continue to explain and develop them for you here on my blogspot both during the election and afterwards, as always. If you check my Blog Archive below this column you will also find over 100 postings on my teacher and union news and views on pretty much everything I planned to address as of a year ago in my Blog Manifesto. I may provide an updated statement soon, and will also post an updated resume here in the sidebar, when I get a chance.

For now though, let me announce the official beginning of my Blogspot TSU Election Coverage. It will run through until election day on May 23. You might consider this Who Speaks for Teachers?More to follow, but where to begin?

Here's an overview of the candidates for each of the TSU executive positions:

PRESIDENT:

Rene Jansen [TSU officer] is our incumbent president, riding a voter wave into office for the last two terms on a TSU platform of modernization and positive change.You might consider Rene our "big picture" guy.

Ian Hedley [Senator O'Connor] returns to the TSU political scene with a run for active office duty at the top. Ian packs a solid resume of TSU involvement from a few years past. It will be interesting to see what ideas and vision he plans to bring to the presidential election race this year.

1st VP:

No incumbent here! Note Gerard Ardanaz is not running this year and probably is looking forward to a well earned rest, not that he won't be still doing lots of other things around the unit and elsewhere. Enjoy your first summer off in 4 years Gerard! You've certainly earned it!

Frank Bruno [TSU officer] steps up as this year's 2nd VP for a run at the 1st VP spot. With a thick resume, a solid reputation in Health and Safety, and as frequent TSU flag carrier at our labour and provincial politic meets, he seems quite ready for the race for 1st. Frank is one of the strongest campaigners I know, so this should be an especially interesting race!

Dave Szollosy [BMT] is a well known labour and social justice advocate. He has been a campaign manager for many of us here and at OECTA provincial over the years, and also brings with him experience in municipal politics. It's hard not to like and respect Dave for his strong heartfelt advocacy, agree or disagree with his stand on many issues. We might do well to drill both Dave and Frank on Labour issues as we proceed into our contract negotiations before our present board contract expires on August 31st!

2nd VP:

No incumbent. Frank has stepped up.

Ottavio Ariganello [Dante] looks set to throw his all into this year's race in his reach for second. Committee experience and many years of service as a Guidance Counsellor provides him with an interesting set of skills to make his case. You may well recognize Ottavio, many of us have seen him around, he's a familiar face.

Gillian Vivona [Basil's] is Mrs. SSAC/ LSAC at TSU, our schools and even trumps our board in her knowledge and efforts to put staffing issues on a solid footing, as per our contract. She is also our Collective Bargaining Executive Liaison this year, a very poignant portfolio. She is well known as a very hard worker.

3rd VP: Me again. Acclaimed.

TREASURER: No contest.

Rosemary Lavery [Brebeuf] completes a solid first year of her term and the position is not up again until next year.

SECRETARY:

No Incumbent. Gillian has stepped up.

Melissa Ammendolia [Basil's] is a promising local union figure in her school who's out to show us what she can do. As one of our newer [but not a Beginning] teachers she brings a fresh promising new face to our election race.

Ewa Lipinski [Henry Carr] is a tireless worker in our union activities who is taking another run for this position. Perhaps her years of effort and service will finally pay off? This should be a very interesting race.

COUNCILLOR:

You can vote for 3:

Bianka Hudec and Luigi Martelli are our 2 incumbents

Bianka Hudec [St. Mary's] has been a strong teacher political advocate in our Ontario provincial election and government lobbying campaigns since 2003. She is also involved with women's issues at the Queen's Park level. She also has been very active as editor and at the executive level on Highlights for the past few years.

Luigi Martelli [Brebeuf] has been an active TSU PAC political campaigner, who like many of our candidates also has direct experience from the Harris Years. Luigi was first elected last May after many years service at TSU. He has taken on the steep learning curve as executive liaison for many of our committees, no small challenge and accomplishment for his first year in office.

Pete McKay [McLuhan] brings years of experience with him as staff rep and on many of our committees. A regular face around TSU, our AGM's and various unit activities, Pete is actively involved in Labour issues and CB. IMHO his run for office is long overdue and he is another welcome addition to this year's race.

Michael Nicolaidis [Fraser] has pretty much come out of the blue at TSU for his first and all ready very active run for office. Of course we always want to keep strongly in touch with our grassroots on executive. Apparently Michael has an extensive background and qualifications in Labour so we look forward to learning more.

Steve Watson [O'Connor] is a familiar TSU face seeking a return to executive office. He has continued to be very active on the Labour, Human Rights, Social Justice and many other fronts. He's definitely a very experienced OECTA TSU AGM/ UAGM trooper who brings a wealth of teacher and union knowledge and experience to the race.

So there you go folks! Please note you will need to look over each candidates resumes for the full complete facts. This is just a taster, some off the top observations. Also come meet them, hear their speeches, and enter into a member Q+A with each at our May 16 AGM. As always, the views expressed here are my own. I will continue to try to always be fair and balanced in my election coverage, while providing my teacher news and views service for you on this blog service.

I intend for the majority of my TSU Election Coverage to be member issue, service and unit vision based. I aim to keep it always interesting. I will share my insights as a fellow teacher and as your TSU 3rd Vp to help you decide for yourself who can best fill each position when you vote on May 23.

Please stay tuned! You will find photos, blogs and video links to my new Davechiarelli Youtube Channel here at my blogsite. It promises to be a very interesting race ahead and it might not always be easy to choose amongst so many good candidates! So get your telephones and cellphones ready......the election race is on!

Good luck everybody, and may the best candidates win!

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!