Richmond Hill teacher says union won't control her choices
A public school elementary teacher in York Region has let it be known that her union will no longer control her choices. She has taught for 20 years in addition to supervising extra-curriculars and planning field trips and she will keep doing all of those things.
Susan Beattie was a union steward for 4.5 years but resigned that post earlier this year. She wants all teachers to know that they do have a choice, unless they are in a legal strike position.
The Grade 1 teacher has written an open letter to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario expressing her feelings. “You cannot compel me or any other member to withdraw from voluntary activities. I will attend monthly staff meetings. I will run my choir. I will plan field trips. I will attend meetings outside the instructional day, if I so choose. And I will not allow you or other executive officers to diminish or dismiss me.”
Beattie also writes, "Stewards who do not conform are asked to step down, as I did. I have learned from experience that raising concerns about the actions of our union executive is greeted with hostility and disrespect. You claim that teachers want their “voices heard”, but sadly, the only voices that are welcomed in our organization are the ones that concur with the leadership."
Elementary school teachers have not resumed their volunteer activities, even though their high school counterparts ended their boycott as a gesture of goodwill.
Beattie ended her open letter with this, "You have spent most of your career in the union. I am deeply concerned that, along the way, you have forgotten that teachers do not work for you — you work for us!"
(with files from the Richmond Hill Liberal)