THE provincial executive of the Manitoba Teachers' Society has unanimously censured president Pat Isaak and ordered Isaak to take vice-president Paul Olson with her on all MTS business.
It is believed to be the first time the provincial teachers' union has censured its own president.
The MTS executive took the extraordinary actions this summer.
While all discussion took place behind closed doors, minutes of the MTS executive posted on the society's website show that motions voted on in public involved a denial of Isaak's request for vacation pay, and a dispute over who had authority to consult the society's legal counsel.
An executive vote June 18 denied Isaak "monies claimed to be owing for vacation days and service gratuity." A vote immediately following directed that only the general-secretary -- retired principal Ken Pearce, the senior employee in MTS -- be authorized to consult the society's legal counsel unless the executive otherwise directed.
Two more executive motions came Aug, 24: "That the president, Pat Isaak, be censured for defying the directive of provincial executive (motion passed June 18th, 2010) by seeking society-paid legal advice without the permission of the provincial executive on an issue currently being dealt with by provincial executive." And: "That the president shall invite the vice-president to accompany her when attending meetings or functions to which the society has been formally invited."
Isaak says the executive did not ask her to quit, and says she will serve until the end of her term in May.
"There is a disagreement between the provincial executive and myself," Isaak said in an interview Wednesday. The dispute is over "benefits that accrue to the president and vice-president during their tenure."
Isaak said every teacher in Manitoba is advised to consult an MTS staff officer when there's a problem, and that's what she did this summer. Isaak insisted she did not approach the society's legal counsel.
Isaak said she and the vice-president appear to be the only public teachers in Manitoba without a contractual right to settle disputes.
There was no immediate response to an interview request made to the spokesperson for the MTS executive.
Winnipeg Teachers Association president Dave Najduch says he's never seen anything like the censuring of Manitoba Teachers' Society president Pat Isaak in his time as a teachers' labour leader.
"It would appear to me that there is a power struggle going on between the president and the provincial executive," Najduch told the province's largest bargaining unit in the WTA newsletter.