Good Morning County!
This past Friday I had a chance to sit in with all the other local presidents at our annual local presidents conference. All the presidents had an opportunity to bring forward issues and concerns from their regions to the table, and it was fascinating to hear how, despite our geographic differences, many of our concerns were similar.
Topics up for discussion were such issues as “Negotiations/Post WTR”, “PA/PR concerns” and “Teacher Morale” and a great deal of clarity was provided for local presidents on many of these matters. I will be presenting some of the highlights at our rep meeting on Wednesday, but I do want to address a few key pieces here.
To start with, it was made perfectly clear that preparation for and attendance at any event outside of school hours is optional for NSTU members, including such things as musical concerts and graduation ceremonies. As well, there was clarification that if these events took place during the school day, members could be expected to attend, but should be paid mileage if they are travelling a distance in excess of their normal drive to school. The exact wording of the memo on that can be found on our short snappers page.
There was also some rather vocal concern expressed that the NSTU voice has somewhat disappeared after Bill 75 was passed. We were provided with some insight into that, and were assured that there is something in the works. However, it should be noted that once the writ has dropped on an election, the NSTU can not engage in any sort of PR campaign that could be considered as impacting the election.
Finally, in response to our concerns, we received a fairly detailed accounting of how the PR campaign was handled during WTR. I will be presenting a bit more on this at the local meeting this Wednesday night, but suffice it to say that the concerns expressed by the membership in County around the PR campaign were expressed and echoed by other locals.
My full report on the conference will be presented on Wednesday night.
Now, on to other things.
It would appear that all indicators are pointing to a spring election. Regardless of political stripe, the passing of Bill 75 was a tremendous blow to our ability to pursue fair collective bargaining. There is much more to the legislation than simply a wage package.
Thus, in order to continue to keep education in focus in the upcoming election, we are looking to build on a campaign that has come out of the Cape Breton local. We are asking teachers across HRSB to begin marking what we are calling “Tuesday Mourning”.
We would ask that, over the next four Tuesdays, you wear culturally reflective colours of mourning to school. The effort will span from this Tuesday, April 11th until Tuesday, May 2nd (The Tuesday before annual council). We would also encourage you to tweet a picture of yourself (prior to the start of your school day) protesting the passing of Bill 75 as marking “the death of democracy” using the hashtag “Tuesdaymourning”.
The idea is to make sure that Bill 75 remains a major focus in the upcoming election. This is not meant to be a protest against our current government, per se, but rather an attempt to express our displeasure around a specific piece of legislation.
For those of you who are more politically motivated, there is a rally being planned for April 27th between 4 and 5pm at the legislature to protest the passing of budget. This is not an NSTU event, but apparently a number of unions and political parties are planning on attending. Bring your signs and your noise makers.
Please don’t forget that our Provincial Executive Elections are coming up, and all three candidates will be speaking at the meeting on Wednesday night. If you have a question you would like answered, please send it on to your school rep. Our candidates are Duncan Cameron, Ron Nugent and Paul Wozney.
That’s it for today, folks. Please reach out if you have any questions.