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By Bill Cann, RTAM President 2021-2022

First, the Executive has worked very hard over the last two months to fix a serious staff problem and avoid a formal grievance. Our office staff have been waiting for the implementation of their Employee Benefits and Pension plans since November of 2020. This situation should have been corrected immediately by the Executive Director, especially since RTAM’s cost-sharing responsibility for the Employee Benefits is embedded in our Human Resources Manual. After researching a number of small Non-Profit organizations, the Executive is recommending two motions to address this situation.  

Solutions to the Succession/Leadership Crisis still remain a major focus for our organization over the next 4 months. In addition to appeals to Chapters Presidents and current RTAM Directors a list of twenty potential candidates has been developed. I plan to start personally contacting each individual in late in January or early February and encouraging them to run for election at the May AGM.

Our registered letter request for a meeting with Premier Stefanson has yet to be answered. This is understandable, given the Government’s current focus is dealing with the COVID Omicron variant impact on public health care and restarting in-person learning in our schools. In the meantime, ACER-Cart President, Gerry Teide, is working with Paul Harland to facilitate RTAM’s use of the New Mode software to develop an electronic letter writing campaign to local MLAs. This campaign will urge local MLAs to support the Liberal Party’s private members Bill #208 to grant RTAM a seat on the TRAF Board. I also will be corresponding with Leader of the opposition, Wab Kinew and Education Minister Cliff Cullen to request meetings to review RTAM’s Five Requests for Action. 

At the January 10 Executive Meeting, there were a couple of timed presentations. First, Jeff Norton, the CEO of TRAF, reviewed a proposed legal agreement formalizing the relationship between our two organizations and warning that RTAM cannot depend on TRAF providing the current services in perpetuity. It was decided to have the April Board meeting devoted to this agreement. The second presentation by Michael Juce of Prairie Sky Strategy outlined a possible political lobbying contract.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society is conducting seminars with teachers to prepare for the first round of Provincial Bargaining. Part of this process is gathering information on the working conditions of substitute teachers. RTAM has agreed to host a virtual meeting for retired teachers who substitute with MTS President James Bedford on Saturday January 22, 2022, from 10:00 -11:00 am. The focus of this meeting will be the working condition concerns of retired teachers who are working as substitute teachers. This is the first time ever that all retired teachers working as substitute teachers have been given a meaningful opportunity to have input on working conditions. The RTAM Board strongly supports this opportunity for our members to have input into the Provincial Bargaining process. As this is an emergent issue and the next KIT magazine will not be published until after the event, the RTAM Board approved distribution of this message to its members via email.