Issue #8 Notebook – February 8, 2018


Mike was a beloved and well-respected teacher, a supportive colleague, and as a CSR and NVTA Executive member, a strong advocate for teacher and pupil rights.

During the late 90s and early 2000s Mike was instrumental in making Health and Safety a major priority for the NVTA. Mike believed that all teachers needed to have healthy, safe worksites and workloads that would allow them to lead quality lives over the course of their careers and into retirement.

Mike was personally responsible for regenerating the District Occupational Health & Safety Committee, and for the district establishing trained and effective OH&S site based committees. Mike helped to achieve extensive air quality and microbial testing in many schools. The findings assisted in the improvements in air quality for all employees and students. Mold and mildew were finally dealt with, and regular maintenance schedules were established.

Mike, as OH&S rep., vociferously lobbied for more ladders at a time when the district had a high accident rating, argued for a plan for carpet removals, and persisted in achieving a schedule for the regular inspection and cleaning of vents, air ducts and heating systems. He also advocated for the timely replacement of portables and/or renos.

As well, Mike effectively advocated for policies and employee training in areas such as Safety including Violence and Violence Protection, and Emergency Preparedness. Mike and the district’s OH&S officer, Gord Kinney, worked collaboratively to ensure that construction and renovation protocols were in place, and that teachers were trained in these protocols prior to work commencing. Mike effectively lobbied for district provision of flu shots and hearing testing.

As well as these historic achievements in Health and Safety, Mike served on the Executive at a critical and demanding time: our Collective Agreement had just been stripped, and the NVTA needed a strong and united response to legislation. Mike helped organize rallies, worked diligently on the central Strike and Action Committee, and provided effective leadership at a time when teachers were extremely frustrated and demoralized.

Mike achieved all this as he battled bone marrow cancer and the aftermath of chemotherapy and other treatments. Mike never complained; he served all of us with a great sense of humour, with utmost compassion and respect, and with an energy that seemed tireless.

Mike was a major force in our union. He achieved so much for all of us. What message would he have for us? It’s so obvious, “WE MUST DEFEND THE PROTECTIONS WE HAVE WORKED SO HARD TO ACHIEVE.”

We are deeply saddened by his loss.