Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Equity Motions and the BCTF AGM

At the upcoming BCTF AGM, there are a series of recommendations (from the BCTF executive) and one recommendation (from a union local) that deal with equity issues among elected officials within the BCTF.  I will list the relevant motions below (copied from the BCTF Reports and Resolutions booklet) and follow-up with a summary (my interpretation), my response and voting intentions. I have also attached here a complete list of my voting intentions for all of the recommendations and resolutions that are proposed for the AGM.

Recommendation 33
That By-law 5.1.a be amended as follows:
5.1.a There shall be an Executive Committee, which shall consist of a President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, an Immediate Past- President (when applicable), and seven
nine Members-at-Large, elected in such a manner as to ensure that at least three Member-at-Large vacancies are filled at each AGM. One Member-at-Large position shall be designated to be held by a racialized member and one shall be designated to be held by an Aboriginal member. The designated positions shall have the same term and role as the non-designated positions. They The Executive Committee positions are shall be elected by at the Annual General Meeting and shall take office on the following July 1 next following. Each member of the Executive Committee shall be a member in good standing entitled to vote, in accordance with By-law 1.1. An Executive Committee member may be removed from office under the provisions of By-law 1.7 or By-law 7. 


Recommendation 34
That By-law 5.1 be amended as follows:
d. All members of the Executive Committee shall be eligible for re-election 
subject to the equity criteria established in By-law 5.1.a.e. The Member-at-Large position designated to be held by an Aboriginal member is open only to the election of a member who identifies as being Aboriginal.
f. The Member-at-Large position designated to be held by a racialized member is open only to the election of a member who identifies as racialized, including those members who identify as being Aboriginal.


Summary: The executive will be expanded to include two new member-at-large positions to be held by an Aboriginal person and a racialized person*.

Recommendation 35
That By-law 5.4 be amended to add the following and be renumbered accordingly:
d. Candidates for the Executive Committee who intend to run for positions with equity criteria shall confirm that they meet the equity criteria by self- identification on the nomination form provided to the Nominating Chairperson. During the election process a candidate can drop down to run for an equity position for which they have self-identified on the nomination form, or drop down to the remaining positions without equity criteria.

Recommendation 36
That AGM Standing Rules of Order 13.3 be amended as follows:
That the election shall be conducted in the following order:
1. President
2
. First Vice-President
3. Second Vice-President
4. Member-at-Large designated for an Aboriginal 
member
5. Member-at-Large designated for a racialized member
6. Members-at-Large.

Recommendation 37
That AGM Standing Rule of Order 13.11 be amended as follows:
Candidates defeated in an election for any office shall be deemed to have been nominated for the office next to be filled, provided they meet the equity criteria. If they do not meet the equity criteria for a specific position or they choose not to run for a designated Member-at-Large position, they will be deemed to have been nominated for the next office to be filled for which they meet the criteria. At any time in the conducting of a ballot, any candidate may, by giving notice to the meeting, withdraw from the contest election.

Summary: Persons from equity-seeking groups, if not successful in filling designated positions, can run for non-designated positions. Also establishes sequence of votes.

Recommendation 38
That By-law 5.1.a be amended as follows:
There shall be an Executive Committee, which shall consist of a President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, and two Vice-Presidents, elected for one-year terms, an Immediate Past-President, serving a one-year term, and seven Members-at- Large, elected for two-year terms. They The Executive Committee positions are shall be elected at by the Annual General Meeting and shall take office on the following July 1 next following. Each member of the Executive Committee shall be a member in good standing entitled to vote, in accordance with the provisions of By-law 1.1. An Executive Committee member may be removed from office under the provisions of By-law 1.7 or By-law 7. 5.

Summary: Instead of a 1st VP and 2nd VP, just have two VPs with equal status.**

Recommendation 39
That By-law 5.1 be amended to add the following: g. At least two of the three table-officer positions— President and two Vice-Presidents—must be held by members who self-identify as being from an equity- seeking group, which includes members who self- identify as women. This ratio would be achieved over a two-year election cycle with at least one of the three table-officer positions being held by a member who self-identifies as being from an equity-seeking group in 2018–19 and at least two being held by members who self-identify as being from an equity-seeking group in 2019–20, and this ratio be maintained thereafter.

Summary: Of the top three positions in the executive (President, 1st & 2nd Vice-Presidents), two will be from equity-seeking groups, e.g. women, LGBTQ, Aboriginal, or racialized.

Recommendation 40
That AGM Standing Rules of Order 13 be amended to add a new 13.14 and be renumbered accordingly. 13.14 In the election of the table-officer positions (President and Vice-Presidents), if a member who does not identify as being from an equity-seeking group is elected to one of the positions, only those candidates who identify as being from an equity- seeking group will be eligible for the remaining table- officer positions to be elected. Candidates who were declared ineligible or who were unsuccessful may have their name remain on the ballot for subsequent positions for which they are eligible. 

Summary: Two of the top three positions must be held by persons from equity-seeking groups, thus they can't be filled by a "non-equity" person even if there are no "equity" persons running for the positions.  See Recommendation 43 for solution to this potential problem.

Recommendation 41
That By-law 5.1 be amended to add the following: h. Up to two of the seven non-designated Member-at- Large positions may be held by members who self- identify as men with this ratio being achieved over a three-year election cycle, with up to four positions open to being held by men in 2018–19, up to three in 2019–20, and up to two in 2020–21, to be maintained thereafter. 

Recommendation 42
That AGM Standing Rules of Order 13 be amended to add a new 13.15 as follows and be renumbered accordingly:
The election for the non-designated Member-at- Large positions must be conducted in accordance with the representation established in By-law 5.1.g and take into account the numbers of members who identify as men in the Member-at-Large positions not up for election that particular year. At any stage during the balloting process, once the ratios for the years listed below are met, candidates who identify as men will no longer be eligible to continue with their name on the ballot or be declared as elected.
1. 2018–19 up to four members who identify as men 2. 2019–20 up to three members who identify as men
3. 2020–21 and thereafter up to two members who identify as men.” 


Summary: The remaining seven positions on the executive for non-designated members-at-large can only have up to two men. This will be phased in over three years.

Recommendation 43
That By-law 5.5 be amended to add:
If, in any given year, the AGM is not able to fill the positions that require specific equity representation or meet the ratios designated in the by-laws, due to there being an insufficient number of candidates meeting the criteria, the positions shall be declared vacant and shall be filled by the Representative Assembly, applying the same criteria, until June 30 of the following year. 


Summary: If the equity quotas are not met, they will not be filled by "non-equity' persons but will be filled by election at a subsequent Rep Assembly using the same rules.

Resolution 101—Greater Victoria
That By-Law 5.1.a and 5.1.b be amended as follows: 5.1.a There shall be an Executive Committee, which shall consist of a President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, an Immediate Past- President, a TTOC/New Teacher Representative that is currently a TTOC in their first five years of teaching, and six members-at-large and seven members-at-large. They shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting and shall take office on July 1 next following. Each member of the Executive Committee shall be a member in good standing entitled to vote. An Executive Committee member may be removed from office under the provisions of By-law 1.7 or By-law 7.
5.1.b Notwithstanding the foregoing,
the TTOC/New Teacher Representative, and each member-at-large, shall be elected for a term of two years. If for any reason either position becomes vacated a member-at- large leaves the position after only one year, a successor shall be elected to fill the unexpired portion of the two-year term. 


Summary: The executive will contain a designated position for a TTOC/New Teacher Rep that is within their first five years of teaching.

------------------------- 

Response: I think the BCTF has evolved over the years, and has perhaps adopted many of its progressive views in advance of the general public (e.g. they have been leaders not followers). There are more women in leadership positions, including BCTF staff and the BCTF executive than ever before. There are frequently as many women running for executive positions as men, and with approximately the same chance of succcess given the electoral history. Some, but not all, of our recent executive committee have been composed by a majority of women. This does not yet reflect the fact that majority of BTCF members are women, but it is reflective of society in general. Aboriginal persons and persons of colour, women in particular, have also seen increased representation on committees and leadership positions, including the executive. In my mind this means that the BCTF drive for social justice and promotion of the rights of equity-seeking groups has been working. Persons from equity-seeking groups that have won elected positions and taken positions of importance in the BCTF can rightly say that they have earned it, that barriers or ceilings to their success have been reduced, and that they are there because they have earned it AND because the voting members saw their identity markers as assets and not detractors. Further evidence that existing equity measures have been successful: of our last five BCTF presidents (going back 13 years), three have been women (Sims, Lanzinger, Lambert), one racialized (Sims), and one openly gay (Hansman). Only one of the last five (Iker) was not from an equity-seeking group, but he was certainly one-of-a-kind!

One angle in the debate about the use of race and gender based quotas is that any attempt to mandate diversity will automatically exclude some groups. I think it is well established as to why race and gender form key aspects of privilege and therefore equity-seeking status. I get that, and my also my own status of privilege as a straight white male, but I also believe that we have a capable membership that can become democratically involved in ensuring diversity among elected officials without being forced to use race and gender as a voting criteria. If these recommendations are an attempt to create a more accurate reflection of society, they do not work. If they are an attempt to create a more inclusive set of voices around the table at the executive, they are missing some key voices. Why not create designated spots for persons with disabilities? How about a mandated cross-section of generations? How about regional representation? Is it okay for multiple executive members to come from the same region or even local? What about elementary vs secondary designations? What about subject specialties, e.g. so-called academic vs elective vs non-enrolling designations? What about designations for DL teachers, rural and remote school teachers, representation for bilingualism, etc.

I do not believe that creating hard quotas and ratios based on a selection of identity characteristics (particularly race or skin colour) is a productive approach to increasing overall equity, be that in leadership, the general membership, or society. Such a move will be divisive among teachers rather than increase member engagement. The remaining barriers to equity and diversity of representation within the BCTF do no lie in the electoral system, but in the appeal and recruitment for these positions. An example from the general membership -- there are far more women than men in the teaching force. This does not represent society as a whole, and has led to a lack of male role models for many of our students, particularly at the elementary level. There are also very few transgendered role models for students. To resolve problems like that, the system could impose gender quotas for hiring (alongside race), or it could put its effort into recruitment and retention. Another example -- the current push for an Aboriginal Employment Equity Agreement. While I support the idea, the problem in getting more Aboriginal teachers isn't in hiring quotas, it is in recruiting Aboriginal men and women to complete degrees and apply to teacher training programs. To me, hard quotas are the easy way out -- they appear to solve the problem by forcing diversity at the expense of democracy, but do not necessarily increase representation or the addition of new perspectives.

While I am open to further thought, reading, and dialogue about this issues, at this point I will not support these motions. I think they swing to the extreme in their response to last year's equity audit and will be a conundrum on the AGM floor in terms of emotions and procedure (expect many proposed amendments). It is quite possible that there will be unfilled positions, while at the same time earnest and capable candidates will be turned away from vacant spots because of their cultural background or gender identity. I was one of the 3000 randomly selected persons (out of 41,000 teachers) to take a members' survey connected with the equity audit, of which there were 327 valid responses. I found it to contain loaded and leading questions. While a survey of less than 1% of BCTF members might indicate some trends and range of views, it is not a clear call to make the kinds of changes suggested in these equity motions.  Also, many of the recommendations of the equity audit report did not become AGM recommendations -- the use of the report was selective.

Despite the survey, I certainly respect the intent of the BCTF executive and staff to take equity issues seriously and to keep diversity near the top of its agenda. If these motions pass, however, it will signal to women, persons of colour, Aboriginals, and LGBTQ members that they need an electoral advantage in order to succeed. I'd say give them a head-start by encouraging them to come forward for these positions. And guess what, they already do come forward, and we can see that by the relative diversity on current and past executives. I would find the motions easier to accept if there were simply

I'd love to see a more diverse BCTF executive, but not through mandated identity quotas. I would find these motion more agreeable if there were simply some spots opened up on the executive (e.g. 3 of 7 members-at-large) and perhaps just one among the table officers open to all equity-seeking candidates and that if none step forward then they could to anyone.  I believe the motions as they stand go too far and at a cost. Our executive has become increasingly equitable not through quotas but because the BCTF has become accepting of diversity and welcoming to all, and has taken democracy seriously.


*I am assuming that a "racialized" means a person of colour or a visible minority, or someone who identifies through ancestry to persons of colour or visible minorities as opposed to some sense of "European descent." Or is racialized about racial equity, about races that some social historians would consider to have been the Other for some part of the past? If that is the case does racialized include "white" folks that have been historically marginalized, such as Jews, certain Slavic peoples, people from the Basque region, Roma, Mennonites, etc.? The term requires further definition (perhaps the BCTF has done this somewhere but I have missed it), and raises some serious ethical and historical issues when used as criteria for holding office.

** In regards to recommendation 38 (just two VPs, not a 1st and 2nd VP), I am less certain of my voting intention. In principle, it makes the spot of president more competitive and less of a coronation, however it removes the tradition of preparing table officers for the top position. Does this motion imbed the "slate" politics at the AGM, or does it open it up to more movement. Perhaps only time will tell, but one thing I know now is that I want the president to be the best person possible to represent teachers at the bargaining table -- everything else is bonus. In my mind, we know if we're getting the best by allowing that person to demonstrate proficiency in roles with gradually increasing responsibility. While inclined to support this motion jus to see what happens, I also wonder if this is simply a change in order to make Recommendations 39 and 40 easier to implement.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

An excellent post Glenn. I worry greatly about the lack of men in the teaching profession, especially at the elementary level. The solution would not be to create hiring quotas. It would be to make the profession more respected and attractive as a career. Unfortunately, the BCTF has been so bogged down with social justice lately that is has failed in the fight to make teaching a respectable profession.

VIVA STOCK EXCHANHE GENIUS AND CIVIL HERO MICHELE NISTA! said...

A NO KIDDING GRATEFUL POST OF OURS DEDICATED TO..
... COMMODITIES, CURRENCIES, STOCK EXCHANGE GENIUS AND CIVIL HERO MICHELE NISTA FROM LONDON! HE GET IT RIGHT ON WORLDWIDE STOCKS, CURRENCIES & COMMODITIES ALWAYS! ABOUT 5000 PREDICTIONS ON INTERNET SINCE 9.2007: 5000 SUCCESS! 100% SHOCKING WINNING SCORE!!! GENIUS, KING MIDAS, CIVIL HERO MICHELE NISTA (MICHELENISTA6@MAIL.COM PH NR + 44 (0) 7939508007)! ADVANCED IN EXTREMELY PERFECT WAY THE CONTINUOUS WALL STREET CRASH OF 1987 ( AND HE WAS, MORE OR LESS, JUST 20, AT THE TIME)! AS THE ONE OF 2007, 2008 AND BEGINNING OF 2009 WITH "JUST" 1 AND HALF YEAR OF INCREDIBLY WINNING FORETASTE! GENIUS, KING MIDAS, CIVIL HERO MICHELE NISTA (MICHELENISTA6@MAIL.COM PH NR + 44 (0) 7939508007)!AVDANCED IN EXTREMELY PERFECT WAY, THEN, THE MORE OF DOUBLING OF WALL STREET, SINCE 3.2009! HE PROPHESIED ALL THIS ON INTERNET, AGAIN, WITH MONTHS AND MONTHS IN ADVANCE! ALL AT FANTASTIC LIGHT OF SUNSHINE!!! ALL PROVABLE AND VISIBLE STILL NOW!!! GENIUS, KING MIDAS, CIVIL HERO MICHELE NISTA (MICHELENISTA6@MAIL.COM PH NR + 44 (0) 7939508007)! WAS "ONE OF THE NUMBER ONES" OF ITALIAN STOCK EXCHANGE, IN THE 90S, PRODUCING OVER 10 MILIONS OF EUROS OF COMMISSIONS OF THE 90S ( SO, 15 MILIONS OF NOW), FROM BELOW ZERO: WAS THE ABSOLUTE IDOL OF GOLDMAN SACHS, MERRILL LYNCH, AND NEARLY ANY "FOR GOOD" INVESTMENT BANK IN THE WORLD! THAT'S WHY EVERYONE WAS GIVING HIM AND STILL GIVE HIM THE NICK OF KING MIDAS! INGENIOUS HERO MICHELE NISTA HAS A GREAT HEART TOO, "NOT JUST" A SORT OF INVINCIBLE INTUITION! HE DEDICATES, SINCE HE WAS 17, ALL HIS GIFTS OF HEAVEN HE HAS TO POOREST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, VOLUNTEERING AND NOT ONLY, FOR MANY ORGANIZATIONS SAVING OR IMPROVING SUFFERING LIVES IN LATIN AMERICA AND AFRICA. HE IS CERTAINLY A CIVIL INCORRUPTIBLE HERO TOO! IN THE LAST 21 YEARS, IN MILAN, WAS THE MOST TENACIOUS MAN HUNTING TO DESTROY THE ASSASSIN DICTATORSHIP OF MAFIOSO, MEGA MAFIA MONEY LAUNDERER, EXTREME NAZIFASCIST, LIAR, MEGA THIEF, CORRUPTING PIG, PRINCIPAL OF HUNDREDS OF MURDERS AND SLAUGHTERS, VERY ASCERTAINED PEDOPHILE SILVIO BERLUSCONI! FOR ALL THIS, THERE WERE FOUR ATTEMPTS OF KILLING HIM, ORDERED BY BASTARD SANGUINARY, AS WELL AS METASTASES OF THE ENTIRE WORLD: SILVIO BERLUSCONI!!! AND HIS FATHER LOST LIFE ON ORDER OF NAZIFASCIST AND COSA NOSTRA'S BRUTAL, VICIOUS, CRUEL, FEROCIOUS PRINCIPAL OF KILLING SILVIO BERLUSCONI ( MAKING SHREWDLY TO PASS, VIA HIS PRIVATE OR PUBLIC NEW "OVRA, GESTAPO AND DINA" AL HIS ABSOLUTE REPELLENT HINDREDS OF HOMICIDES FOR FALSE ACCIDENTS, FALSE SUICIDES, FALSE ILLNESS, ALL THE TIMES)! AS A MATTER OF FACT, GENIUS, KING MIDAS, DEMOCRAT HERO MICHELE NISTA (MICHELENISTA6@MAIL.COM PH NR + 44 (0) 7939508007) " DECIDED TO EMIGRATE" TO LONDON, ON 2003, TO REMAIN ALIVE!! BUT GOD, IF HE'LL CONTINUE TO DESERVE SO, WILL MAKE HIM WIN!!! GROUP OF FRIENDS AND CLIENTS, EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO THIS KING MIDAS, TO THIS INGENIOUS AND CIVIL HERO OF OUR TIMES (MICHELENISTA6@MAIL.COM PH NR + 44 (0) 7939508007)!!!