Teachers, support staff under new leadership

NANAIMO – School district teachers and support staff have new union leaders.

Nanaimo school district teachers and support staff have new leaders.

The Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association holds elections every year and at its recent annual general meeting, Mike Ball was elected president.

Ball, who is currently first vice-president and a member-at-large on the B.C. Teachers’ Federation executive, will take over from Justin Green as president of the union local on July 1.

“I feel good about doing the job,” he said. “A little trepidation, but ready for whatever challenges arise. Having been in the office this year as first V.P. has given me that feeling for it.”

Ball expects a busy year ahead, between provincial bargaining and potential curriculum changes the Ministry of Education is considering and changes at the district level – the proposed 10-year facilities plan, the new learning services teams, a new approach to supporting students and promotion of the self-regulated learning model.

“There’s a lot of change in the system,” he said. “The facilities plan is going to be foremost in our minds.”

Ball said he continues on as a member-at-large at the provincial table for another year, so he’ll be able to bring a provincial perspective to the local table and take local issues to the provincial table.

Green, who decided not to throw his name in the hat this year, said he’s going to miss working at NDTA headquarters, but he wants to spend more time with his two young boys.

“I’m stepping away to be a dad,” he said.

As for the district’s support workers, CUPE Local 606, which represents mid-Island school district employees, recently elected a new president.

Rob Zver, who served as president between 2007 and 2011, returns to that position for two years.

He expects an uphill battle with collective bargaining – the contract for the local’s 900 workers expired almost a year ago and at the end of May, workers voted 89 per cent in favour of job action.

Zver said the other hot-button issue is the district’s proposed 10-year facilities plan, which calls for school closures, and he will be paying close attention to the impact that will have on members’ jobs if all or part of that plan goes forward.