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APPALACHIAN TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

QPAT Negotiations Bulletin 6

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March 2005  / Volume 6

 

Solidarity

 

The cornerstone of our teacher union movement is and always has been our involvement, our commitment and our solidarity.

 

The bulk of the working conditions we presently enjoy are the results of our exemplary mobilisations over a number of rounds of negotiations.  The strikes of 1971, 1976, 1979, 1983 and 1998 may be long gone, but their results are with us today in our collective agreements.

 

In this difficult process of give and take, we have won many victories… and suffered some losses.  In all cases, it is our collective determination and our concerted work actions that produced the gains and limited the damage.

 

Negotiations are never easy.  The employer will always test our ability to mobilise.   And much to their chagrin, we will always rise to the challenge.

 

Not doing so would give a green light to the government to proceed with its cutbacks and clawbacks.  We are at just such a point now.  If we were to allow the employer position to prevail:

 

·        Our salaries would fall behind the cost of living for each of the past two and the next four years.

·        The provisions for special needs students would deteriorate.

·        Workload pressure could be exerted on teachers in each school by school administrators to develop a school organisation that does not respect contract provisions for class size and teaching time.

·        The professional obligations of all teachers would be substantively increased.

·        The de-indexation of our pension plans would continue to impoverish teachers who taught between 1983-2000.

·        Job security would be threatened by the disappearance of the 50 km clause that limits distance beyond which a teacher can be transferred for any reason.  Teachers in Montréal could end up in the Gaspé… and vice versa.

·        Adult and vocational teachers would lose the little protection that recall lists now provide.

·        Salary insurance (the first two years of disability) would have more restricted accessibility.

 

The employer’s objective is clear – increased management rights and decreased funding in the education sector.

 

Our demand, on the other hand, is based on the present reality of our schools.  Providing adequate working conditions for teachers and appropriate quality services for students requires MORE, not FEWER, resources. 

 

Public education is our future.  Mr. Charest, invest now!

 

Our action plan has been very successful so far.  Now is the time for stronger action.  In the very near future, you will be called upon by your local union to vote on a mandate for two days of strike – one on a rotating basis in April and the other to be exercised on a single day in May – in conjunction with our Cartel partners.

 

The very announcement that teacher unions have this mandate will be an unequivocal message of teacher determination.   The walkout threat will show the government that we are strong, willing to stand together in solidarity and unshakable in our demand for what is right for our schools, our students and our profession.

 

When your local union calls on you to vote on this issue, remember what is at stake, and vote “YES!”

 

 

Sunday March 21 update: So far, two of the QPAT locals unions have voted, and in both cases (LNSEPA and CVTA) the vote was in favour of two days of strike. More locals (including ATA) will be meeting to vote this coming week.

The ATA Supports Quality Public Education
in the Eastern Townships