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Not all Oakville teachers are happy with the teachers’ union

I always knew when I finally had the chance to attend college I wanted to be either an attorney or a teacher. When the time came for graduate school and I explored both careers, the public at large seemed to really hate attorneys.

They had a terrible reputation and I was not sure I wanted to be connected to it. That, along with other factors helped me decide on a teaching profession.

Within a few years, it seemed the general consensus was that attorneys were no longer the dirtbags of society, but rather teachers. Now I know why.

In a small school like Oakville there are many challenges. The Oakville School District has done a fantastic job of moving forward with all the new changes, and the students for the most part have been steadily rising to meet the new challenges. New tests and requirements have been added every single year with no end in sight. Of course, there were difficulties and it has not been a smooth process.

We have consistently worked through problems and kept the momentum in a forward direction and our superintendent has led that process. Is she perfect? No. Is she passionately committed to the students, the school, and the community and are her decisions based on their welfare? Always.

I am saddened to say there has recently been another unfortunate challenge at Oakville that reminds me why the public disliked teachers in the first place. I can’t I blame them. Our school will not have the benefit of a grant it enjoyed the last three years and will have to accomplish more with much less next year. However, some staff hired with that grant are among the core group who highjacked our teacher’s union and have decided to speak for all in multiple demands that expose their greed. One is a demand of a rise in fringe benefit pay in their contract from four tri-days to 13. A tri-day is when a teacher gets paid but does not actually work at the school. It is intended to compensate for time put in outside of regular work hours. The superintendent almost doubled those days by agreeing to pay as high as seven tri-days to appease them. They still demand 13. That’s like $84,000 extra pay. Sure, I’d like the extra pay, but the manner used to get it is destructive and driven by personal agendas.

By attempting to demand the right to make the decision whether or not Oakville can afford to pay the 13 days or not, they insult our school board.

They are attempting to bully them by lawsuits and bad press into doing what they want. They talk of demanding to have the say about which positions will remain and which will not when the grant goes away. They are demanding to run the school as they see fit and are using the union for their own personal agendas without regard to our school, community, or students. All professionalism is gone. Disrespect is rampant. Not one of these teachers showed up to help pass the levy. Not ALL, but a significant part of the core troublemaking group constantly trash talk the students, the parents, the community, the tribe, and the superintendent. Some of them don’t even like the students. Most of them could give a rip about the welfare of the school. They think if they get rid of the superintendent they can take charge and having things their way. If they worked in the private sector they would have been fired in one day. They often literally jump up and down and high five one another in the halls after a nasty action against the school. In the teacher’s lunch room this fall, I listened to their joyful discussions that planned this whole mess. They were laughing and daring one another to move forward with various destructive measures and saying how funny this, or that, would be.

I resent the headlines declaring that Oakville teachers are suing the school because they didn’t get a ton of public records handed to them within a five-day period. I am a teacher at Oakville. I’m not suing my school. I love the students and my job. I work too hard and I am too busy to cause this kind of trouble. I belong to the union and pay almost $100 a month in dues. I knew nothing about the lawsuit and neither did other teachers until we read the headlines. There were no union meetings, votes, or notifications about any of it. It was done in secret, as have been multiple other actions that have been causing chaos. I am angry about their use of the union to bully and destroy our small school. From what I do know from their talk, they want the records so they can dream up other lawsuits to strong arm the Oakville School District. Mark my words. This is a nasty group who will not stop until the akville School is destroyed. So much for the school having celebrated it’s 100th year in 2012.

They have created an increasingly stress filled and hostile work environment that has made it very difficult to focus on teaching. They have disrupted the educational process for the last five months and that is against the law.

I asked my local union for copies of union business to be provided to me within five days, concerning expenses, dates, times, minutes of meetings and information about who made all these decisions without consulting union members, or a vote. I only asked for a few minor records since September, not five years worth of a whole school district. No response. This same core group of teachers, who happen to live out of town, didn’t have time for the levy, trash talk the students and community, dare to use my money to make their own secretive decision to sue our school for what could amount to $230,000 plus attorney fees. This comes straight out of the general fund meant for educational purposes. So much for caring about students. That’s who they are really hurting in the end. No one would knowingly lend support to this group if they knew who, and what they really are, and the nasty things they have been doing. There is a right and a wrong. These teachers are all about wrong.

Their intentions are to blackmail the school board into doing what they want or they will bring the school down. With teachers like these, no wonder the levy barely passed. They didn’t care enough to help with the levy, but they sure took excessive measures to wipe it out. They aren’t smart enough to know that shooting the cow will not force it to give more milk. All this because our secretary couldn’t get a three-week task finished in five days, along with her heavy work load. Then, when she did get it done, the copy paper that teachers needed for assignments the rest of the year was exhausted and we had to do without for some time. Next year, it’s likely there won’t be any paper. If these teachers are so desperate in their dirt-digging activities, they could have located many of the records by a click of the button on the Office of Superintendent Public Instruction website. But that wouldn’t serve their harassment tactics, would it?

My thought for the day is perhaps I should have gone into law practice after all.

Anni Evans

Oakville