This is a jammed packed newsletter, but inside is some really great and important material. Please give it a thorough read through and it will update you on the issues that concern us locally and provincially.
In this newsletter:
- –Health and Safety Deadlines
- –Member Discounts
- –Job Integrity
- –Long Service Awards and FGM
- –School of the Year 2012/2013
- –Collective Bargaining Update
- –Upcoming Workshops
- –Better Choices
- -December 20th *IMPORTANT*
- -Fairness Works Campaign
- -Protective Services
- -Minimum Wage Campaign
- -Heinz in Leamington
Health and Safety Deadlines
Health and Safety Videos are due TODAY. Those members who do not complete the Board’s mandatory training will have their employment limited. They are still available here: http://training.staff.wrdsb.ca/login
Use your PAL username and password to login
Just a reminder of the discounts that are available to Teachers. During this holiday shopping season they may come in handy. Both the College of Teachers and OTIP have a website that lists discounts available to teachers.
Click the links below for more information.
Please be cognizant of job integrity. I realize that in life there are always issues that may arise that warrant the cancellation of a job. However, it is inappropriate to cancel a job at the last minute in order to work at another school or to swap a half day position for a full day. I realize there are always extenuating circumstances but be aware that it is important that we are committed to that job number if we expect the board to have the same commitment.
Fall General Meeting and Long Service Awards
The FGM was held on October 24th at Conestoga Place; it was a roaring success. An incredible opportunity to have Occasional Teachers involved in their local and taking an active role in how their dues are managed. The evening concluded with a presentation of awards to Long Service Members. A hearty congratulations to those that have reached the 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 year milestones.
School of the Year 2012 – 2013
We are pleased to announce that Ryerson P.S. was the recipient of the OT School of the Year award for 2012 – 2013! Congratulations to the entire staff at Ryerson. This award acknowledges the friendly welcome and support that an elementary school provides to Occasional Teachers, both in daily and LTO assignments. It was a pleasure to make the presentation of a cake and a plaque to the school recently.
Please watch for a request for nominations for the 2013 – 2014 award. The request will be posted next May. During the year, please take note of schools that you find are particularly welcoming and helpful to you as you complete assignments in the region.
Office administrators, custodians, support staff teachers and administrators are all part of the school community who can help make an assignment go smoothly for an Occasional Teacher, and demonstrate that our work is valued in the school.
Collective Bargaining Update
At the Fall General meeting, I outlined the changes made to our Collective Agreement as a result of the recent negotiations with the Board. Some of these changes include:
- If an OT in a Long Term Assignment is unable to reach their place of employment from their residence due to severe weather conditions, there will be no pay reduction. Please note that this stipulates that the OT must be unable to get to school from their home. If a member chooses to travel to i.e. Owen Sound, for the weekend and cannot get to school on Monday morning because they are ‘stormstayed’ in Owen Sound, this does not apply.
- If an OT is unable to return to work following the summer, December or March breaks due to issues/delays with personal travel plans, the Board will grant the teacher an unpaid leave of absence to cover the unscheduled/unauthorized absence.
- We were also able to get a Letter of Understanding that indicates that the Board will provide the Local with $1500 for each of the two years covered by the agreement to be used for Professional Development.
- All hiring to contract and LTO positions, new maternity leave benefits (very significant improvements for members in LTO positions), new provisions for sick leave/short term sick leave and disability, and Voluntary Unpaid Leave of Absence (VLAP) (again, potentially of real advantage to those in LTO positions) is covered by the MOU that was signed by the government and ETFO on June 12, 2013. It is included in our Collective Agreement. Please become familiar with these provisions.
I encourage members to read the entire new agreement carefully. It consists of the locally agreed to items, which were then stapled to the MOU. They were then stapled to our agreement for 2008 – 2012 which is still in effect unless otherwise overridden by the MOU or locally agreed to provisions.
The document can be found on our website, and through the ECNO/EPIP site. The agreement was signed on September 30, 2013. This agreement expires on August 31, 2014, so we are already involved in planning for the next round of negotiations.
There are several ongoing things that may have considerable influence over the next round of negotiations. The government’s Bill 122 is currently in second reading in the House. It proposes centralized negotiations for many items of common interest for all Ontario teacher groups. ETFO has been closely involved with making suggestions for suggestions to that bill. As well, ETFO is involved in talks designed to modify some parts of Bill 274 – the legislation that outlines the hiring process for LTO and contract positions. There seems to be some willingness on the part of the Minister of Education to consider some changes to that policy. We are following these processes carefully.
Next week, four members of the Local Collective Bargaining Committee will be in Toronto to get more information regarding the above processes. Information about the priorities and process for the upcoming round of negotiations will also be presented. Assuming that ‘provincial bargaining’ will be legislated under Bill 122, it will be interesting to see if there will realistically be much willingness by the Boards to discuss local issues. This was an issue in the recently concluded round of bargaining – it must be said that the frustration was felt on both sides of the table.
Please watch for notices regarding a member survey, and opportunities for you to speak with CBC members, that will be coming to you in January. These are your opportunities to let your bargaining team know what your concerns and priorities are. We encourage and welcome your input. Please participate in the opportunities we will provide to express your ideas.
Members frequently ask about issues that are covered in the Collective Agreement. Here are a few of the sections of the agreement that members frequently question…
- Occasional teacher should have complete plans left for them when they accept an assignment. These plans should be available for the first three days of an assignment if necessary. If you feel the plans are insufficient, please discuss the plans with the administrator. We strongly encourage all members to photocopy the daybook page, (and your comments regarding how the day unfolded) for all assignments.
- The requirement that members complete 10 occurrences of teaching in order to stay on the OT roster for the next school year was waived by the Board in June 2013. I fully expect that it will be reinstated and enforced in June of 2014. Half-day assignments count as one occurrence; a full day also counts as one assignment. It is counted by separate job numbers. If you have no intention of Teaching with the WRDSB for the 2013/2014 school year please make your intentions known to human resources.
- Please use the calendar book we sent all members in September to record job numbers for daily assignments, or log-in to Subfinder and click on the “current jobs” tab.
Up Coming Workshops
The Professional Learning Committee is pleased to present Music: A workshop for teachers! Please join us as Lyndsay Buehler shares her ideas for teaching music to elementary students. This workshop is ideal for people with little musical background or for those looking for new and fresh ideas.
The workshop will be held Thursday November 21, 2013 from 4:30pm to 7:00pm at the WROTL Office (130 Highland Road East, Kitchener). A light meal will be provided.
Please note that if you register for an event and are no longer able to attend, 24 hours notice is required as we often have other people on a waitlist for our events and food will be ordered for all those that register.
The PL Committee
The next workshop will be a French workshop for Occasional Teachers who don’t usually teacher French! Circle December 10th in your calendars, registration coming soon…
Seeing as how our employment is directly affected by those who sit as School Board Trustees; it is very important that we are well informed. Municipal elections will be coming up this year and I would like to direct members to get involved in the “Better Choices” campaign. Check how you can make a difference! http://betterchoiceswr.ca/
Unpaid Day December 20th
*VERY IMPORTANT* Friday, December 20th is only an unpaid day for Permanent Teachers. Those of you currently in an LTO are expected to be at school that day in order to be paid. I expect direction to come from the Board or Administrators as to what the expectations for that day will be.
Hopefully you have all seen this feel good commercial, but if not, here is the link.
I think is a great voice for what the Labour Movement is all about. Share with everyone!
ETFO Protective Services puts out monthly memos, they are available here : http://www.etfo.ca/adviceformembers/prsmattersbulletins/pages/default.aspx
The latest one “It could happen to you” is especially important for Occasional Teachers.
Minimum Wage Campaign
Ontario workers are struggling to get by working 2 or 3 low paying jobs. No one should work full time and yet still live in poverty.
The minimum wage has been frozen at $10.25 for three years. It’s time for an increase!
I am disappointed with the decision of Berkshire Hathaway and 3G to close the Leamington Heinz plant. Last year Heinz posted a net income of almost $1 Billion and provided over 700 good, well paying, unionized jobs for that economy. This closure will devastate the local economy. As a federation that supports workers and Canadian products, I hope members will be vocal in regards to the closure of this plant. Who will teachers teach if their student’s families have no place to work and all the jobs have left the province and Canada? What is even scarier is that the CEO and Executive of Heinz walked away with almost $500 million just this past year.
ETFO WROTL President
“History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.”
–Martin Luther King Jr.