If you've read the latest edition of OSSTF Update, you will have seen a lot of election ads, audit information, an article about the Student Achievement Awards but more importantly, an article about International Women's Day. If you read that article you would know the first International Women's Day occurred in 1911. As the article title says, it's a time to celebrate progress and share hope. There are many different ways you could do just that:
Doing just one of these things could make a big difference!! I also have 7 of the OFL International Women's Day pewter pins available to the first 7 people who post a comment on this blog. The winners will need to arrange pick up from this office, 51 King St in Barrie. Go and paint the town PURPLE!!
We all have the best of intentions. We are just trying to help out, trying to save some money, trying to do the best for our students. Unfortunately this often means teachers are driving students. We are told 'the team can't afford to go if you don't drive', 'it will cost too much to get a bus', 'nothing will happen', 'you're being paranoid' etc etc etc. I am telling you now, it just isn't worth it. As a president I received a very clear message from our provincial organization WE ADVISE MEMBERS TO NOT TRANSPORT STUDENTS! They actually had their version of the message in all caps as well (I added the exclamation mark). The Highway Traffic Act, Section 192, Liability for Loss or Damage means the owner of the car incurs liability, regardless of who is driving. Is your spouse or partner willing to take that risk for your goodwill?
We know that some of our members will still insist on driving students but ask them to please take the following facts into consideration:
1. Drivers owe a special duty of care to child passengers
2. Members should purchase the maximum amount of third-party liability coverage (not the minimum of $200000)
3. Regardless of the coverage carried by the Employer, the member's own insurances ins the primary coverage.
4. Any litigation allowable un No Fault insurance would be settled using the member's insurance, a potentially stressful and time-consuming process.
Please note as well that if you are frequently transporting students, you need to extend your coverage beyond the scope of the basic automobile policy which result in a change to your premium paid.
The easiest way to avoid any insurance or liability issues is to simply not drive students. Ask your principal if they would be willing to take that risk. You may be surprised at the response.
You may or may not have heard about a very lengthy job action happening in Toronto. At time of writing, the workers at Crown Holdings in Toronto have been on strike for 17 months. They are the people who make beer cans for Molson, Labatts, Coors, Budweiser, Moosehead, Steam Whistle, Creemore and many more. They also produce the cans for Cotts soda. Buying cans made by Crown while a job action like this is happening means you are buying cans made by scab workers. If you would rather not do that, please consider buying your beer in bottles until they settle their strike. These workers are trying to protect the workers of the future, workers who the employer would like to pay half as much as the current workers. All this while paying their CEO over $6000 an hour. I am including a pamphlet, some youtube videos and some facts about the strike for you to consider. You can also visit their website at bottlesnotcans.ca. I know they appreciate the support as they stand up for workers' rights.
• 120 Toronto workers, members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9176 were forced on strike by Crown Holdings, Inc. on September 6, 2013
• Crown's Toronto facility has been unionized for over 25 years and many of the workers have worked for Crown for over two decades
• The company consolidated labour relations at its US headquarters and has little knowledge of the unique nature and issues of the Toronto facility
• Crown is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of food and beverage cans
• It claims to make one out of every five beverage cans in the world, and one out of every three food cans in North America
• Crown operates approximately 140 plants in 40 countries; about 12,000 of its 21,300 employees worldwide are covered by a collective agreement
• Crown nearly doubled its profits in 2012, to $557 million from $282 million in 2011
• Crown’s CEO was paid an average of $13 million/year in the past five years
• The Toronto facility is one of Crown’s top producers in North America and received the 2012 “Plant of the Year Award” for outstanding “safety, productivity and budget management”
• The facility produces over 5 million beverage and food cans per day for customers such as Molson, Coors, Labatt, Budweiser, Moosehead, Creemore, Morgan’s and Cotts
Our sisters and brothers are walking the picket lines in this frigid weather to fight for basic rights. Please watch this video and do something to show our support for them. Honk your horn, drop off Timbits, walk the line with them but most of all, let them know they aren't alone.
Ever wonder why you're a member of OSSTF but the Elementary School teacher at the feeder school is a member of ETFO? Or why there's a whole union for Catholic Teachers? Or French language teachers?? The Ontario Teachers' Federation has created a very short video outlining the different teachers federations in Ontario. This isn't the case in the rest of the country so you probably aren't the only person with questions. Take the time to watch this video and inform yourself. It's well worth the 2 minutes you will spend.
I just read a really good article shared on Mashable about what to do when you are at your limit and someone wants you to do more. We are starting second semester and all want to do our best. We are dedicated professionals and we struggle saying no. Sometimes though, you just can't cope. Let's assume you are already accessing support from either the OTIP Employee Assistance Programme Posaction or from the board with Sheppell but you just can't take any more on. What do you do. Well this article gives three examples of what to say, depending on who is making the request.
If it's your supervisor (your principal, someone in admin or department leader) try this(take right out of the article):
OK! I can definitely tackle this, but I’d like to review something before I proceed. Right now my current priorities are: [list them in order]. Would you like this new assignment to be my top priority? If so, that’s no problem, but it means that—since we’re pushing several other items down the list—all of my other projects will get completed slightly later. I can create a timeline of when everything will be completed, if that’s helpful to you. Thanks!
If it's a colleague who wants you to do a little bit more, try saying:
Hey! I can definitely help you with this. However, right now I am working on a different project that’s a top priority for my department. Try giving a specific date and time when you would be able to help them out and see if that works for them.
The last part of the article was talking about dealing with requests from clients. Now in our job students (and perhaps parents) are our clients. The article suggests you additional billing or shifting timelines, neither of which work for us. I would suggest you always deal with students and parents in a timely fashion.
The article also suggested Remember, too, that whoever is making this “ridiculous and unreasonable” request is probably just as swamped and stressed out as you are. Try to be compassionate. I would add, it's ok to say NO. Just keep it professional.
You can read the original article yourself here:
The view from my desk, as Teacher Bargaining Unit President for D17 Simcoe