The importance of the October provincial election and bargaining new collective agreements were President Sam Hammond's focus in his opening address to some 600 annual meeting delegates.
Hammond reminded delegates that the election outcome could have a significant impact on public education. He urged delegates to support candidates who had a proven track record of improving education and outlined the role the federation would play in the lead up to the vote. (The election results are now well known. ETFO’s public relations campaign also became well known, sparking lots of debate among members and the public. See page 17 for an overview).
As well, in the forthcoming year ETFO will be negotiating new teacher, occasional teacher, and ESP/PSP collective agreements. These agreements expire next August. ETFO is also negotiating first agreements for DECEs. Hammond reminded delegates of the gains made in previous rounds of bargaining and noted that “every round is hard when you are in it. In hindsight, when you look back, you recognize that you just didn't give yourself enough credit for achieving what many said were unattainable goals.”
“When we began bargaining in 2004 how many believed that 200 minutes of preparation time was achievable? ... Because of the solidarity of local leaders and the unwavering support of our members we negotiated the 200 minutes and achieved more.
"In the 2008 negotiations, facing the toughest economic climate ETFO has ever seen, our occasional teachers negotiated the highest raises ever achieved in a single round. Teachers maintained the integrity of their collective agreements, accepted no strips, improved benefits, and negotiated additional prep time."
“There is a lesson in this. Something we must never forget…In the face of adversity, we rise to the challenge. This is how we bargain; this is our heritage; this is what we do!
ETFO’s bargaining priorities were set with input from members and local leaders. The bargaining goals will be approved by local leaders at the October Representative Council meeting. The uncertain economic climate will make this round of bargaining challenging, Hammond said, adding that “bargaining only succeeds when members are engaged, fully informed, and personally involved in the process.”
Elections for the ETFO executive take place at the annual meeting every two years. The newly elected members will serve until 2013.
Sam Hammond, President
Sam Hammond was acclaimed to a second term as president of ETFO. Hammond was elected president in 2009. Prior to that he served one term as first vice-president and two terms as vice-president.
Hammond has a long history of federation involvement. From 1998 to 2003, he was the chief negotiator and grievance officer for the Hamilton-Wentworth Teacher Local, a position he held when the local’s 2,300 members went through a 17-day strike/lockout in 2000.