A couple of things this lovely long weekend…
Thanks to all who attended the rally in Toronto on Tuesday, whether in person, or in spirit, or by following the media! It was a lively event – the speeches were good and reminded us about the validity of ‘our protest’, the weather was perfect, the camaraderie was outstanding, and the Toronto traffic was horrific (particularly for those on the buses that didn’t arrive until the event was almost over L.)
On Monday I had the opportunity to sit in the visitors’ gallery at the Legislature and observe the introduction of the legislation known as Bill 115. It was difficult to listen to the Minister say it was necessary to introduce the bill in order to ensure that the schools would open on Sept. 4!! The schools were never NOT going to open. Particularly odious was the name of the legislation…’Putting Children First’… In my 32 years in classrooms, I always put children first! My own children will attest that I often seemed to put my ‘school kids’ before them! My Federation work in recent years, also, at the end of the day, focuses on providing the best for our kids by monitoring the working conditions of their teachers. For Ms Broten to insinuate that teachers don’t ‘put children first’ is insulting and demoralizing and indicative of the lack of respect being shown for the very important work we do!
The legislation is progressing through the system and our best estimate is that the vote will be held on Sept. 10. I know this is a busy time of year, but I am asking you to write to your MPP – particularly the Liberal and Progressive Conservative ones – or to Mr. Milloy – the Liberal MPP for Kitchener, who also is the House Leader, and let them know how you feel about the legislation and its intent to strip our Collective Agreements and to impose conditions on us that contravene the Labour Laws. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy, or particularly eloquent, email. Just highlight one example of when you have ‘Put Children First’, or highlight any ‘injustice’ or insult that you have found as you have followed this issue on the Control Your Future website, or in the papers, or in the social media. (Have you seen today’s commercial showing Mr. McGuinty speaking to our AGM just last year, attesting that he would not strip collective agreements?) Don’t hesitate – send an email now!!
Related to this, Catherine Fife has an election to win for the NDP on Sept. 6 in the KW riding! We cannot let Mr. McGuinty have a majority in the legislature, and the PC’s have announced that they are supporting the legislation (and indeed, they don’t think it’s strict enough!) Catherine’s campaign would very much like to have more workers during the next 6 days – especially on ‘E-Day’ – Sept. 6. We do have some funds available for members who are interested in supporting Catherine’s campaign by working with her next week. Please let me know if you are available. You can also call her campaign office this weekend and volunteer a few hours so you can ‘hit the floor running’ on the three days next week when you can be reimbursed for your time! There is a major Labour Day parade in Toronto on Monday, and following the parade a bus load of Labour activists and politicians and ETFO and OSS ‘folk’ will come to Waterloo and assist with a canvass blitz for Catherine! Sounds like fun!! Get involved in the political process! You don’t need to live in the riding to help out! If you do live in the riding, make sure you exercise your right to vote on Sept. 6!!
And speaking of FUN – the annual Labour Day Picnic, organized by the Labour Council of Waterloo Region, is being held on Monday, Sept. 3 at Waterloo Park, from noon until about 5:00! Use the entrance off Westmount Rd. Your teacher Federations in this region are helping to sponsor the children’s rides and activities. It is open to all – please consider coming out for some fun! Lots of things for kids to do! Hot dogs and hamburgers are available for a nominal price, beverages and beer, too! Several ‘carnival-type’ rides, a horse-drawn ‘stage coach ride, and ‘bouncy-castles’ are available for the kids! There’s a raffle-type activity and a band and a busker or two to entertain! Last year I was serving hot dogs! I don’t know what they have lined up for me this year – do come and say hello!!
Whatever you do, enjoy the weekend!! – and, as we head back to school next week… Happy New Year!!