A teachers union in Canada decided that the vote-decision processes of its Indigenous, black and racial members would be extra burdened if there were not enough minority representatives on the board.
Since the start of the school year, so-called weighted voting has been in effect at a local bargaining unit of the larger Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) in the Halton area, the Ontario National Post reported.
The unit, which represents some 1,400 teachers and school staff, voted this June in the controversial system – aimed at improving representation of minorities. It was endorsed by 68% of the delegates at its annual general meeting.
The new system ensures that Indigenous, black and racial representatives will always have 50% of the vote, even if less than half of them are attending board meetings.
This means that if 20 people are voting, five minority representatives would weigh the same as 15 other people who do not consider themselves to be racist.
When there is equality between groups and 50% of non-white members are present, the vote proceeds as normal.
“I believe this is a very positive move for equities,” Daryl LeBlanc, a teacher and union branch president, told the newspaper about the measure.
Union materials on distributed weighted voting among members last month insisted that despite the consideration of one person’s one vote, it appeared appropriate, “Fair doesn’t necessarily mean just.”
“Equal opportunity to participate in a federation does not mean treating all members equally,” stated in the documents. “Within a democratic framework, promoting the engagement of members of groups seeking equality is a valid and necessary approach to reaching equal results.”
“Black, racial and indigenous members do not feel safe or welcome in union activities” And something needs to be done about it, suggested material seen by the National Post.
However, many members disagreed with the changes, calling them discriminatory. Concerns were reportedly expressed by representatives that it might violate Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
“If your school representative is racist, you get a higher percentage of the vote,” The teacher, who chose to remain anonymous, told .
When asked by the National Post for comment, Caitlin Clark, a spokeswoman for Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lessey, wrote that “Teachers’ unions have failed once again.”
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