I had no idea what the MTA Annual Meeting was until about a year ago. Now that I know what it is, I think everyone should go to it.
What Annual Meeting is: It is an assembly of all the delegates from every MTA school district for regular and higher eduction around the state who get together and vote on newly proposed bylaws and budgets as well as elect MTA officials.
How it works: Every district in MA gets to send delegates to go to Annual Meeting held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The dates are usually the Friday and Saturday before Mother’s Day. Last year after I checked in early on Friday,and then I sat in my regional section in the convention center. I made some good friends those two days with people who live in my area (shout out to West Mass!)
Once everyone was settled in, then I heard some speeches: the 2014 Teacher of the Year Anne Marie Osheyack, MTA President Paul Toner, Senator Edward Markey, and even Senator Elizabeth Warren made an appearance in a prerecorded video after she received the Friend of Labor. Kathleen Roberts, Louise Gaskins, and Mary Gilmore all received the Friend of Education Award for their long term commitment to activism. The rest of the agenda was designated to discussing the proposed bylaw, budget changes, and new business. That’s where the real fun began!
All of the discussions had to follow Robert’s rules of Order (parliamentary procedure). That means that there were 3 different colored cards at 6 different microphones throughout the convention center. Those big cards were designated for asking questions, talking to a point, or making a point of personal privilege. Everyone had 3 minutes to talk while the projection of the speakers and their time left were shown on the big screens in front.
I was most intrigued by the process and procedure of how all of the motions move along and how the voting gets done, making motions and seconding everything. I thankfully sat next to a woman in my district who had been going every year for at least 15 years, so she knew her way around. She was helpful in explaining some of the more complicated motions. Since I knew nothing about the annual meeting or the procedure, everything was interesting to me. Also important at the meeting was the fact that we got to vote in 2014 on our leaders of the MTA, President Barbara Madeloni and Vice President Janet Anderson.
As a newbie at Annual Meeting, I took everything in as a learning experience and just sat back to observe everything. What a crew of characters! During the down times and breaks I also really enjoyed the booths in the lobby that were giving away lots of teacher swag. I loaded up on about 2 pounds of free pens and pencils, two reusable shopping bags, a stress ball, notepads, candy, a toothbrush, and $10 worth of Dunkin Donuts gift cards. Be sure to stop by the New Member Program table when you go! We’ll be giving out information about being a participant in our program and many other workshops at Summer Conference 2015.
How to be a delegate: Ask your local building rep union or president! My district pays for 10 delegates to go (that includes an overnight stay in Boston and a $200 food, gas, and toll allowance), but not all districts pay the same way or amount so ask at your local.
I look forward to seeing you at the 170th Annual Meeting of Delegates on Friday, May 8 and Saturday May 9, 2015!
If you want more information, you can follow along on Twitter #MTAAM or check out MTA’s website: http://massteacher.org/news/conferences/annual.aspx
Post written by MTA New Member Committee Member Kathryn Procter.
You can follow Kathryn on Twitter: @senoraprocter
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