I recently completed my sixth year of teaching in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), working with students from grades 6 to 8.
… And Still We Rise
Four hundred women took part in this year’s …and still we rise Conference, which saw inspirational keynotes, leadership presentations, and workshops on the theme Dare to Dream.Pictured above, keynote speaker Mariatu Kamara, a survivor of the brutal decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone and author of The Bite of the Mango.
London Day of Action against Caterpillar Inc.
On January 21st, provincial Executive members and staff joined ETFO local officers and members from across the province to support locked out CAW Local 27 members who built locomotives at the Electro-Motive Canada plant in London, Ontario. Caterpillar Inc. stopped production and locked out its workers on New Year’s Day, 2012.
More than 350 members participated in Part II of ETFO’s collective bargaining training in February. With a theme of developing strategies for motivating members, the second conference focused on providing local leaders with the knowledge and tools to engage members in supporting provincial and local bargaining goals. Collective Bargaining Coordinator Jim White outlines ETFO’s bargaining goals in detail in this issue. Turn to page 11 for the whole story and stay in touch by visiting www.controlyourfuture.ca, subscribing to the e-newsletter at etfo.ca, and following us on twitter @ETFO/FEEO.
On December 20, 2011 ETFO donated $5,000 to assist with the crisis in Attawapiskat First Nation, as part of a longstanding commitment to the people of that community. “We support the fundamental right of all children to a good education and a safe and healthy environment,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond in a letter to Band Chief Theresa Spence.
Representative Council Meeting
On February 29 and March 1 over 150 ETFO leaders gathered for the winter Representative Council meeting. They were joined by more than 40 Union School participants. Much of the meeting was taken with discussions of ETFO’s decision to withdraw from bargaining discussions with the government.
Dr. Carys Massarella, a transgender physician from Hamilton, spoke to the council about the issues facing transgender adults and gender independent children. She said the two most important things ETFO members can do is recognize that there is nothing wrong with gender independent children and give them a safe place to be children. Dr. Massarella recommended three books: gender born, gendermade, Diane Ehrensaft; The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals,Stephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper; and True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism ForFamilies, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals, Mildred L. Brown, Chloe Ann Rounsley.
On Friday, September 11, after just seven days of bargaining, the Ontario Public School Boards Association and government negotiators told the mediator facilitating our discussions they “were done” and wouldn’t negotiate further with ETFO. In effect, they walked away from the table.