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  • Thanks so much. Wow, I hadn't planned on this but listen. I'll say it right from the start.

  • Those people who said that there's a lot of rhetoric in this round of bargain, that Sam

  • Hammond's spreading rhetoric all over the place, tat Sam Hammond is directing the course

  • of this round of bargaining. My friends, you've just showed everyone that you and you always

  • have, directed me, and this union on your behalf and thank you for that.

  • Listen I want you to know something, our brother Jim Iker was here, the president of the British

  • Columbia Teachers' Federation, you gave him a standing ovation for the stand that they

  • took in British Columbia, had to leave this morning. I want you to know that he sent me

  • a text he wanted me to share with you, he has on, as he's traveling back to BC he has

  • on our BARGAINING FOR THE FUTURE, RESPECTING OUR PAST t-shirt.

  • Delegates, friends, sisters and brothers, I am so very honoured to once again serve

  • this Federation as your President. Your confidence in me and the members of our provincial Executive

  • that you have elected has sent a very important message.

  • That is, that the 78,000 members of ETFO have always, and will continue to stand up for

  • our past and our future, our members of the past, the teaching profession, and the future

  • of student learning conditions in Ontario. Your

  • show of support with your sea of red T-shirts with our bargaining theme on them "Bargaining

  • for The Future, Respecting Our Past" makes that very loud and very clear. Our bargaining

  • colour red going into the future once again. Listen, parents and the government know that

  • our highly qualified members are what make our public education system one of the strongest

  • in the world. And that these members understand what is needed to give their students the

  • best education - every day, in every class, and for every student.

  • That's why the Liberal government's education policy is based on the promise that outstanding

  • education systems support teacher professional judgment and our members.

  • You know that. Parents know that. And yet for six months we have been faced with a list

  • of contract strips from the Ontario Public School Boards' Association and that has not

  • changed. These strips would erode teacher professionalism

  • and the ability for them to use professional judgment when providing instruction to our

  • students. I'm going to tell you right now, that will never happen and we will never agree

  • to that. As I said on Monday, for six months, the government

  • has stood silently by and done nothing, nothing to stop this brash attempt to control every

  • classroom at the expense of every teacher. These demands are not about, not at all about

  • improving education for our students. They are about increasing management rights and

  • a desire for control. Period. End of the conversation.

  • Our student learning conditions should not be and will not be impacted in this way. Nor

  • should our education system be weakened by the disrespect that OPSBA has shown for the

  • working conditions of our members that we bargained over several decades. Should we

  • allow our education system to be weakened by:

  • Interference with the preparation time teachers need to plan lessons and prepare specialized

  • plans for students? Have teachers to do more testing and less

  • teaching? Allow them to take DECES, ESPs and PSPs away

  • from their classroom responsibilities with students to do non-classroom tasks? That's

  • it. And allowing principals the 'flexibility'

  • to pass over qualified, experienced educators for classroom positions? Not going to happen.

  • It's not going to happen on my watch. Many of these demands undermine education

  • policies, regulations and programs developed by the Liberal government, the very government

  • that has stood by silently at the bargaining table for the last six months.

  • That just doesn't make sense and it will never make sense.

  • I say shame on them both for their continued attacks on the profession, the professionalism

  • of our members, and our outstanding publicly funded, public education system.

  • That is why at the end of the day, ETFO's 76,000 members began an administrative work-to-rule

  • strike action in May of this year. Our members will have been without a contract

  • for one year on August 31st. As you know, we have agreed to return to the bargaining

  • table on September the first. That is all the more reason for ETFO to keep up the pressure,

  • as you have done this annual meeting, to ensure that there is movement at that central table.

  • Movement towards a fair collective agreement that respects our members' working conditions

  • and students' learning conditions. We know today that our colleagues in OSSTF

  • have reached a tentative deal. That's great. Congratulations to our colleagues at OSSTF.

  • This may be a small sign that the government and OPSBA are finally beginning to recognize

  • the importance of resolving issues prior to the start of the school year. Given our past

  • experience, we WILL be prepared for anything and everything on September the first.

  • Sisters and brothers, I want to say at this point on this item, that we have worked in

  • solidarity with everyone. We will always work in solidarity with whoever we need to. We

  • will continue to move forward in that direction.

  • But I want you to know that as we go through this, that the people that I , the executive

  • and your provincial bargaining team, rely on, the people that we turn to, the people

  • that we trust are our family- You, and our 78,000 members across this province.

  • Straight up: Things must change at our central bargaining table in order for ETFO to reach

  • a deal. Our provincial Executive and you have determined that we will stay on course and

  • we will begin a Phase 2 work-to-rule in addition to the current administrative strike action

  • that we implemented in May. I want to highlight just a few of those components. Effective

  • the first working day of the 2015-16 school year,

  • ETFO members will:

  • will NOT participate in any field trips

  • will NOT participate in fundraising activities

  • will NOT perform or participate in any activities, meetings or training related to School or

  • Board Improvement Plans

  • they will NOT participate in board professional development

  • NOT respond to any electronic communication from the principal or vice principal outside

  • of the instructional day except where the safety of students is involved

  • and our members will NOT take on principals' duties by acting as Teacher Designate or Teacher-in-Charge

  • at any time

  • You know, while there will be no field trips until our issues are addressed in bargaining,

  • we will not at this time ask our members to stop their voluntary extra-curricular activities.

  • But I want to be very clear. This is Phase 2, and if we cannot get a deal at that table

  • and get it sooner rather than later, as I said on Monday, OPBSBA, Liberal government:

  • You are in for the fight of your lives. Thanks so much. Anyone who says I control

  • you needs to be here. Listen, all of the information around Phase

  • 2 will be coming out later this afternoon. It will also be posted on our Union Collective

  • Bargaining website at www.etfocb.ca this afternoon. As I told you on Monday I've invited all of

  • our local presidents and chief negotiators to discuss our plans for collective action

  • in much more detail on September 14th and I look forward to that.

  • Along with our Phase 2 work-to-rule, our focus will be activism outside of our schools and

  • classrooms. Thousands of you, as I said on Monday, traveled to Collingwood for the Liberal

  • and the OPSBA annual meeting. Our members have been without a collective

  • agreement for an entire year. You have been without an agreement for an entire year. There

  • are many ways that we can speak with one voice about this unacceptable situation. You have

  • been, and you will, and I know that you will continue to do just that. One way is through

  • social media. I'm asking all ETFO members to join me on

  • Twitter to send a Thunderclap message to this Liberal Government and to OPSBA on August

  • 31st. You'll be sent information next week by CB eNewsletter about how you can be part

  • of our Thunderclap message. In September, we will be rallying and picketing

  • outside Liberal MPP offices and school boards in every corner of the province.

  • And if we still can't arrive at a fair, negotiated settlement, we are going to descend, all 78,000

  • of us, on Queen's Park during that same month. In short, together, we are sending the message

  • to the government and OPSBA, and education stakeholders that ETFO members will never

  • allow the erosion of our members' working conditions.

  • Because as you all know in this room, teacher working conditions are student learning conditions.

  • And if you erode working conditions, it immediately and directly

  • impacts learning conditions.

  • Let me be clear, my friends. ETFO has remained ready and willing to negotiate fair collective

  • agreements for our members. But I say to the Liberal government and OPBSA. You must come

  • to your senses and get serious about bargaining a fair collective agreement - for the future

  • of our members and the future of our students in this province.

  • Everyone in this room, and our 78,000 members understand this necessity. And we are prepared

  • to stand firm and stand united in this goal, today in this room, over the past three days,

  • and in September and every month coming after, in every public elementary school across the

  • province. I know that you are prepared to stand up for what is right. You do it every

  • single time that you are called upon. You have my heartfelt thanks for that.

  • And my friends, to close, we will do this together. Our members, every one of our 78,000

  • members, need to hold their heads high. They are the heart and soul of one of the best

  • public education systems in the world, and we will do what we need to do to protect them,

  • our students' learning conditions, and our collective agreement. Thank you.

  • Thanks so much. Wow, I have the best family in the world.

  • Listen, I want to turn now to what we would normally do at this time- Wow, from the bottom

  • of my heart- I can't thank you enough. You're amazing.

  • Listen, so I want to turn now to the tremendous exercise of democracy that we have been engaged

  • in over the last three days at this Annual Meeting.

  • I want to thank you, all of you, for your attendance and your participation in the debate,

  • the very respectful, and thoughtful, and great debate that we have had on this floor, and

  • in the process determining the direction of our Federation for the next short while. This

  • democracy, that very transparent and accountable democracy is what makes our Federation so

  • strong. You know, the tone of the debates this year

  • was extremely respectful. This is thanks to you, and thanks to the skills of our amazing

  • parliamentarians. You know there's only one person that scares

  • me at a microphone, and that's Ruth Ann Morley. Listen, you just did, Ruth, Wulf, Doris, Yolanda,

  • thank you so very much. You just did- you are doing, an amazing job on our behalf.

  • I'm going to tell you, it says in my speech here that this morning we passed our budget,

  • enabling - well we haven't done that yet, we will get to that.

  • You know, bargaining was at the top of everyone's mind this week, we debated some important

  • aspects about the ongoing work of our Federation and our long term future.

  • One of which was our commitment, our solid and unwavering committment to equity.

  • Equity work requires planning, commitment and continual reflection. It involves taking

  • concrete steps to remove barriers and create inclusion.

  • We have always been leaders in fighting these battles, and we've always walked the talk.

  • With our Transgender Policy, we have also taken a historic step to align our Federation

  • with the Ontario Human Rights Policy on gender identity and gender expression. More importantly,

  • this policy will help ensure that transgender members are welcomed, respected and provided

  • full rights and protections within our union and our workplaces because it's the right

  • thing to do. Delegates, you also voted to endorse the Truth

  • and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report and its 94 recommendations and thanks so much

  • for that. Moving forward, we will provide a forum for members to learn more about how

  • the recommendations impact educators in the public education system. And we will not,

  • not for one minute, ever forget about our First Nations, Metis and Inuit brothers and

  • sisters in this country and we will do everything, everything to support them into the future.

  • So, if this is your last annual meeting and you will admit it, I'd ask you to please stand

  • and be recognized by the delegates of this Annual Meeting.

  • We all respect and appreciate everything that you have done for us, and it's an honour for