Monday, May 6, 2013

The importance of experience and building unity/L'importance de l'expérience et de l'unité

Un message à nos membres francophones: Comme vous, je travaille actuellement à temps plein comme enseignant. Il m’est donc difficile de traduire correctement, en temps opportun, tous les messages que je publie sur ce blogue. J’apprécierais grandement toute aide de votre part en ce sens. Par ailleurs, soyez assurés que si je suis élu dans deux semaines, toutes les communications provenant du bureau de l’AEEM continueront d'être complètement bilingues.

It's important that you the members make an informed choice. With Ruth retiring this year, this election is too important not to. If elected, it will not matter to me whether you've supported Ruth in the past or not. I've supported her because I think she does a great job. What matters is this: I will be there to support you, all of you, in your dealings with your school administration, and our dealings with EMSB management. I've always spent as much time and energy as possible directly confronting school administrators and the school board to uphold your rights, and make your teaching less stressful and more fulfilling. Unfortunately my opponent does not share my experience. He has no experience confronting his school administration. I suppose he's never had to. Instead of trying to work with the MTA leadership, he's spent the last few years fighting the MTA executive and MTA reps, both of whom are elected by you the members of the MTA.

A union leader must always think about keeping teachers united. A divided leadership and membership, just like a divided school staff, can never be very effective in its dealings with management. Unlike my opponent, I have real experience in uniting teachers at my school, with all their diverse opinions, towards our common goal of improving working conditions. If you work in a school that is managed well, as I believe Rob Green does, then it is easy to focus one's energy on accusing our current leadership (of which I am a member) of all sorts of half-truths and non-truths. Unfortunately for Rob, that's not at all what the position of President is about.

In a little more than two weeks, we will have a new President-elect of the MTA. On July 1, one of us will begin the huge task of uniting and mobilizing you the members, advocating on your behalf in your schools, to EMSB management, and QPAT, our provincial association. I think that I am better equipped to do this, here are some of the reasons why:

Support from current election candidates and acclaimed executive members

3 acclaimed executive members and
5 candidates
4 candidates
Number of schools represented among the 20 teachers on the Presidential candidate nomination form

Number of schools represented among the candidates and acclaimed members (including the Presidential candidate)

4 High Schools
4 Elementary Schools
1 Adult Ed Centre

3 High Schools (including 3 candidates from the same school)
Experience in advocating for you at QPAT
Two years on the Board of Directors, including helping to successfully convince QPAT Board of Directors (and the other 9 QPAT local unions) to re-open our collective agreement as regards to changing the absence system that counts minutes.

Experience in listening to concerns brought up by MTA reps (who are elected by you the members) and educating reps on members rights

Attended every reps workshop for the last seven years, including this past year when I ran a session on how to be an effective rep.
Has never attended the MTA reps workshop, despite the fact that we have one every year that is approved by members at our AGM.
Experience in confronting school administration and EMSB management regarding collective issues faced in his school
In the last year...

   Overturned our mini-day because it was not working for my teachers

   Removed after-school detention supervision by using the current (unloved, and soon to be changed) system of counting minutes to our advantage.

   Ensured class sizes are equitable for teachers by successfully demanding, if need be, scheduling changes.

   Ensured that value-added provisions of our contract are respected. I don’t wait until after the fact to raise concerns at a Reps assembly

    Sucessfully reduced the number of classrooms teachers were placed in at JFK (@Rosemount High) and, made the school board give us adequate office space in the building. Also, forced the school board to find/purchase replacement textbooks and technology, helping teachers and students.

    Presented, and spoke to, a letter signed by every teacher (and others) at my school at last June’s Council of Commissioners meeting regarding the JFK building. Made subsequent representations to EMSB management to resolve an approximately  $500,000 dispute between the EMSB and the contractor cleaning the building, ensuring the cleaning was not delayed indefinitely.


Over the last few years, Mr. Green has made numerous unproductive accusations and insinuations on his website, at reps assemblies and at our Annual General Meetings. In the next couple of weeks, I plan to address these issues. I realize that some of you may agree with some of his positions, or disagree with some of mine, but remember that there are only two of us in this race. This is as much an interview process as an election. You are electing an individual to help you deal with your day-to-day struggles in your school, to confront EMSB management on issues of collective concern (and as you know there are plenty) and to advocate for you at QPAT on matters relating to our provincial contract. You are also being asked to elect someone who can work to find common ground among our diverse membership, to achieve unity on the common issues, and thus be able to tackle these issues effectively. I have the skills and experience to do this, and my team and I ask you for your support.



  1. the big question mark here is not 'what experience has Rob in confronting school administration and EMSB management regarding collective issues faced in his school,' but why has Rob's school not needed to 'confront' the administration and EMSB mgmt to solve school issues needing attention and action.

    This looks like a need to share information between schools about how to foster positive relationships between teachers, administrators and management, rather than spinning this accomplishment as some gap in Mr Green's experience or character.

  2. @Anonymous Thank you for your comment. Here is my response