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Colleen Martins for EA Shop Steward

April 17, 2021

Dear CUPE 716 Sisters & Brothers ,

I am pleased and honored to stand for the position of EA Shop Steward.

For those who don’t know me, my name is Colleen Martins and I am one of the EA Consultants on the District Support Team.  I work in several schools, which include both elementary and secondary schools. 

I have been an EA in the district for 18+ years and have seen many changes and challenges to our job.

I have held a few positions on the CUPE 716 Union Executive such as Sergeant At Arms, Para Educator Shop Steward, EA Shop Steward, and most recently as Transportation Shop Steward, where I am proud to have been involved in opening up dialogue with members and management to help address various concerns.  I am presently representing CUPE on the Diversity and Anti-Racism Working Group, Aboriginal Equity and Inclusion Committee, Negotiating Committee for the last round of bargaining (2019), the District WVRA Committee and my site Health and safety committee  

I have been privileged to have taken CUPE courses such as Conflict Resolution, Talking to Management, Bullying and Harassment, Mental Health in the Work Place, Decolonizing Practices, Territorial Acknowledgements, and will soon be taking Challenging Racism.

I have also had the opportunity over the years to participate in District courses such as; CPI, First Aid, ABA, Deaf and Blind, Visuals, and the opportunity to collaborate with my school-based team in Great Beginnings.   

All of these courses have broadened my knowledge and have given me a more expanded information base.

 In my new Role in the District as EA Consultant I have had the opportunity to upgrade my skills in Challenging Behavior, utilizeing strategies to help EA’s from the ground up and build on ways to improve their situations together in hopes of improving their working environment. This has allowed me to take more courses around behavior, self-regulation, communication and collaboration as a team member.

In addition to being an Education Assistant I also have over twenty years as a Behavior Interventionist.  This has allowed me to grow in the area of conflict resolution and problem solving to come to a mutual ending to move forward and improve on situations.

Representing CUPE members has given me the benefit of a keen understanding and insight not just with the diversity of our local, but also the strength and resilience of our members in all areas of our local.  This has shown me that over the years, especially right now during these uncertain times of the pandemic, our members, especially the EA’s are truly on the front-line.

Why should you vote for Me?  For those of you I have represented in the past, you know that I have worked tirelessly for your rights and safety as a member of CUPE 716. Over the last few years, in my capacity as Shop Steward, I have built a respectful working relationship with Management, HR, and local administration.  As your EA Shop Steward I will continue to do so.  As an EA Consultant visiting many, many schools I have been witness to the challenges faced by hard working and dedicated EAs.  While being on the WVRA Committee I volunteered to initiate an audit for the Union to track and ensure that the necessary procedures were being met in accordance with WorkSafe Regulations.  The safety and wellbeing of EA’s in the workplace is my highest priority.

I am asking for your support for the position of EA Shop Steward in the up coming Election.  As you know, I have always been available to address your concerns, whether it is a meeting after school or late night phone call – I am there.

In Solidarity,

Colleen Martins