| Zuzak Letters |
Winnipeg Free Press | 06Feb2013 | Nick Martin
Teachers' union willing to
Is it worth $1.5 million to Manitoba teachers to put their
name on one classroom?
Manitoba Teachers' Society president Paul Olson thinks so.
He's urging the union's 15,000 members to approve a plan at
their annual general meeting in May to name the new classroom at the
Canadian Museum for Human Rights after the MTS in perpetuity.
"Unions have always been involved in human rights work," Olson
said Tuesday. "We're obviously hoping for a lot of support."
Olson said it works out to one takeout coffee a month for
teachers -- $1.50 a month per teacher on their union dues for five
The MTS has already donated $62,000 to the museum, which has
given the union rights of first refusal to buy naming rights to its
"That's basically a plaque in the hallway, a plaque in the
room," Olson said. "It is a really big classroom with two dividers that
can be pulled out to create two small ones."
The Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights have
already sold naming rights to 15 areas of the museum, and have another
34 available, from $1 million for various facilities up to $7.5 million
for naming the main exhibit gallery.
Selling all 34 could fetch the museum more than $70 million.
The CMHR, scheduled to open in 2014, has repeatedly emphasized
how much education, and both student and teacher involvement, will be
key components of its ongoing operations.
The naming rights are basically a contribution to the museum,
He told teachers in a letter to all 15,000 members: "Every
day, we welcome children and families into our schools from every
corner of the province and of the world. They have known and lived
poverty, war, disease, famine and exploitation in their most heinous
"Despite great progress having been made, we still -- today --
have students who fear entering our schools because of the colour of
their skin, their gender identity or orientation, their sex or their
"We teach many subjects -- but first, we teach people. And any
teacher who's been in the field for more than a few weeks has looked
into the very old eyes of a very young child, and felt a shudder. For
many people, human rights are an academic abstraction. For us, it's
called 'going to work.' "
Olson said tens of thousands of students from Canada, the
United States and overseas will visit the museum each year and take
programs in that classroom, which can accommodate up to 90 people.
Kathi Neal, interim chief executive officer of the Friends of
the CMHR, said naming rights "are a way to recognize and to thank our
incredible donors for their passionate commitment to furthering human
"As early supporters and also our early donors, Friends of the
Canadian Museum for Human Rights feels that the Manitoba Teachers'
Society would be the right fit for this naming opportunity because they
understood, right from the very beginning, that education is the heart
and soul of the museum."
More information about naming rights is available at
http://friendsofcmhr.com/support/, while Olson's appeal to teachers is
Republished from the Winnipeg Free
Press print edition February 6, 2013 B1
Glen1423: 7:14 AM on 06Feb2013
The teachers I've talked to are dead against this, but they know it will pass because that is what the union brass wants.
$1.5 million for a plaque at the moneypit? - what an embarrassment.
Teacher salaries are paid by taxpayers. Union dues are deducted from
teacher salaries, so in essence it is the taxpayer who will be funding
this ridiculous idea.
But it is good to know what the union's priorities are - definitely not improving the quality of education.
PegTeach: 7:32 AM on 06Feb2013
As an MTS member, I am greatly disappointed that MTS is pushing this. I
do not support personally paying $100 towards this embarrassing museum
(that is approximately what it works out to per member). As other
commenters have said, what do Manitoba teachers get out of having a
classroom named after them? Nothing. MTS's big push is that we are in
support of human rights; well, duh, of course, but I am not in support
of this museum. I think the 62K that MTS already gave them of our money
is (more than) plenty and it should stop there.
riderfan 1: 3:38 PM on 06Feb2013
I know a lot of teachers that go above and beyond.. they come in early,
stay late, bring supplies for students and share their lunches with
those don't have one. I see nothing wrong with the 62,000 they have
already donated the CMHR, but 1.5 million is a lot. Could that money not
be better spent, if it must be spent, putting it back into Manitoba
schools on behalf of the teachers? Maybe make their jobs just a little
easier? Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure someone will...) but a lot
of teachers care about the children they educate. And when they 'look
into the very old eyes of a child' maybe they are wishing there were
more resources to help 'that' child. Probably not wishing for a plaque
Cyrus: 5:14 PM on 06Feb2013
I just got back from having a conversation with three teachers who live
in my neighbourhood. All three are passionately opposed to this
donation, but they know it will be approved.
So I asked them
how this voting will take place. They said they are to email their local
association president and tell him whether they agree or disagree. They
said there is really no scrutinizing of who votes which way, and how
many members will actually send an email. They don't want their
president to know how they vote. I thought it would at least be some
kind of secret ballot, which is what they want. They also said that
their local president in his initial email tried to strongly convince
the teachers to agree to the donation. Union democracy at its finest.
I thought I would post this because it seems some union supporters on
here are convincing us that it is actually a plebiscite that will
determine this decision, but it is far from that.
Maybe MTS should donate money to every other community outside the perimeter.
puddlebug: 6:48 PM on 06Feb2013
I am a teacher who cares very much for human rights. I support the
museum and wish them all the best. However, the majority of teachers I
spoke with DO NOT want to be FORCED AGAINST THEIR WILL to "donate" from
their paycheques. The leadership of MTS is bullying us into supporting
this by urging us to agree in emails, and being a part of articles such
as this that imply teachers are in support of this idea. The way in
which we are voting (some are told to send an email, others are told we
will do a show of hands) demonstrates that clearly it doesn't matter and
MTS doesn't care what we think - they have already stated their
support. I just think it is important for the public to know that most
teachers (not all, of course) are ENRAGED about this and if it goes
through, you can rest assured it had nothing to do with teachers
themselves. Surely the Aspers could find some richer people to steal
from. Given the purpose of this museum, it's a little ironic how they
are going about funding it. Reading the other comments, I hope MTS
realizes how awful this is making them look.