REFLECTIONS-Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear
Now that the holiday season has passed and the start of a new calendar year has just occurred, it is commonplace for people to reflect upon the achievements of the past year as they prepare to embark upon the challenges of new one. This is a very important practice for teachers. On a larger scale, this reflective practice is very important for your Society and your Local as well.
As is the case every year, 2017 once again saw the Manitoba Teachers’ Society being front and centre in representing teachers and public education. However, 2017 was also a year that presented some new challenges that were suddenly thrust upon teachers and the system of public education. A few of these challenges included:
- Early in 2017, the provincial government announced the smallest increase to the province’s share of public school funding since the 1990’s;
- March of 2017 witnessed the provincial government dropping the class size provisions for K – Grade 3;
- In the Spring, the provincial government passed (but did not proclaim) Bill 28 to bypass collective bargaining on compensation issues and to freeze and limit teachers’ salaries and benefits for four years;
- This past Fall, the provincial government implemented cuts to French-language services.
Your Society was very vocal in opposing these and other challenges, and in the case of Bill 28, MTS has joined with other labour groups to oppose, through the court system, the unconstitutional nature of Bill 28.
For the River East Transcona Teachers’ Association, 2017 was a very busy year that was marked by local achievements. For example:
- The RETTA Council and Executive have a full complement of members representing and working on behalf of colleagues in all worksites. In addition to Council and Executive, RETTA members have volunteered their time to serve on our many committees. The strength of our Local has always been the active involvement of members.
- The RETTA Bargaining Committee deserves special mention. This committee has been working industriously for the last couple of years in preparation for the upcoming round of negotiations this Spring.
- As always, RETTA is proud to be a leader at the provincial level and many RETTA members serve on a variety of MTS Standing Committees, elected and appointed positions. At the MTS AGM, RETTA delegates are active participants and mentors.
The primary responsibility of the River East Transcona Teachers’ Association will always be to serve members. Your Local is here to serve you, support you and to advocate on your behalf.
2017 was a very busy year marked with many challenges, achievements and successes. With what has been announced by this government already this year, we know that there are challenges ahead.
The government has announced what constitutes a 1.5% reduction in education spending when inflation is taken into consideration. They have also indicated their desire to begin the legislative process of moving to a provincial bargaining model. We have many unanswered questions at this point and there will be a great deal to watch as the year continues. Now, more than ever, it is important that we be connected and in touch with MTS. If you have not yet signed up for MyProfile, please do.
The power of collective action brings about positive change and the 15,000 MTS members need to be involved in order that our voice is strong, that our voice resonates and that our voice is heard. We have a great responsibility as the vanguard of public education and each of us must fulfill that responsibility.
You have read just a bit of what your Society and Local have done for you last year. For 2018, what are you going to do for your Society and Local?
Take care of yourself and take care of each other.
President, River East Transcona Teachers’ Association