Throughout my entire teaching career, I have had the good fortune to be engaged with Nova Scotia Teachers Union.
Since the second year of my probationary contract, I have been actively involved as a site rep, a committee member, a VP, a local president or a member of the Provincial Executive.
Through this time (I‘m in my 29th year) as a teacher and NSTU member, I have witnessed many changes within the organization from both a policy perspective and structural perspective. Before 1999, there was no Community College Local. I was an active member of the Pictou Local, listening to, and being part of challenges in Public education.
Like any organization, the NSTU needs to change to adapt to the expectations and requirements of the membership and to those of public education.
Sometimes we have done this very effectively, but unfortunately, sometimes we have lost our focus. Over the past 3 governments, and especially so with the current regime, we need the clearest focus and a strong, united membership. If elected, a primary goal of mine is to unite all the constituents of the organization.
As we saw in the vote last fall, there are widely varying opinions about the direction. Whatever the direction, to be successful, all of the members, with the leaders, have to be working as one, smooth, well-oiled machine. My goal will be to build trust within the Provincial Executive. With trust will come a singular focus, that of engaging and building trust across all of the locals.
Without trust of the PE, without trust of the Local presidents and other leaders, we the members will be unable to unite and look outwards.
We must look outwards, focusing our collective energy and dissatisfaction with the employer outward toward the employer. We need to be 10,000 plus strong, one united voice, supporting the bargaining team, but willing and able to make the difficult decisions.
When I was part of 5 bargaining teams with the Community College, we had to make these decisions. We had a galvanizing issue. On one occasion the members voted to strike, and we worked as one. No member wanted to strike, but most realized that this is one of the few weapons in our arsenal.
But… 60% is NOT ENOUGH for a strike vote. To be EFFECTIVE it requires 90% plus!
We surpassed that 90% threshold.
If we cannot demonstrate, even before a vote, that we are a united cohesive group, we will not be regarded seriously. We have to be able as leaders, to demonstrate that we speak for the members. We can only demonstrate this if the members believe it.
This goes back to my point about trust. The President has to trust the membership.
The Membership has to trust the President. The PE has to work as a team with all of the players going for the same goal. The local leaders have to feel genuinely included as without this unity, we will not be successful.
I believe that I have the skills, knowledge and attitude that will enable me to unify the wildly differing personalities for the good of the organization.
To be successful in negotiations, we must be united, one strong, loud, clear voice.
I would be honoured to be the focus of this voice.
If elected, I believe that I can carry this message. I ask for your support. Please vote for me on May 25th.