Newsletter December 2012

A Different Direction on Contract Violations

David

By: Dave Najduch, President

Over the last few months is has become clear that the membership is experiencing a growing pressure on their time outside of the instructional day, over the noon-hour, and also being directed to give up preparation time to undertake a number of activities during the instructional day.

It is also clear that portions of what members are being asked to do is in violation of the terms and conditions which have been negotiated in the Collective Agreement. The act of placing items into a contract is only the first step in ensuring members rights are protected. The next step in the process is called enforcement. Collective Agreement provisions are only effective if they are followed on a day to day basis across the division. In many respects, the enforcement of these provisions can be the more difficult process.

The steps to ensure that the provisions of the Collective Agreement are enforced are clear. The member or group of members brings the concern to the attention of the WTA. If the concern is related to an entire school or a large group of teachers, the Association will usually speak to the WSD to have the matter addressed. The problem with this process is it can take months to have the Winnipeg School Division take appropriate action to rectify the problem. If the issue is based on an individual concern, the matter is documented and permission is asked of the member prior to going the Division with the concern.

New WTA Direction: Grievance Process

The WTA will now be looking to file specific grievances in the areas of the Collective Agreement provisions which are being violated. Strictly speaking, filing a grievance is not a new direction. The ability to pursue action in this manner has always existed; the difference now will be the Association using this method of dispute resolution more actively to respond to a growing list of contract concerns with the employer.

New WTA Direction: Professional Conduct Charges

The process of filing unprofessional conduct charges through MTS Code of Professional Practice will be new. The Code states that:

“9. A member adheres to collective agreements negotiated by the professional organization.”

It is clear that if one member has directed another member to violate provisions in a Collective Agreement, they are in violation of the Code of Professional Practice. As the President of the Association, it will be my job to file a complaint of unprofessional conduct against a member who is directing others to violate Collective Agreement provisions. This complaint procedure is completely independent of any grievance process and is handled in house by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.

New WTA Direction: Harassment Complaints

Under the new Provincial legislation and now the WSD policy, members have the ability to file a harassment complaint with the Division and/or the Province if they feel they are being intimidated or bullied. If a member is feeling bullied into taking action in a school, they are able to file a complaint through the Workplace Safety and Health Act to have this concern addressed. These complaints would come about as a result of an individual expressing a concern and wanting to file a complaint. The role of the WTA in this process is to support the member in the development of the complaint and to ensure that the WSD is meeting the requirements under the Act.

Just a few of the violations of the Collective Agreement we are hearing about …

  • Members being required to attend meetings over the noon hour without having voted to give away that provision in the Collective Agreement in September of that school year. These can be committee meetings, PLC’s, PD, training, learning lunches etc.
  • Members being required to attend meetings of committees prior to the start of the school day.
  • Loss of the minimum amount of preparation time in a six day cycle to provide coverage because another member is away with students participating in some type of activity

As always, if you have questions, comments or concerns about the contents of this article or items in general, call me at the WTA office at 204-831-7104 or email me at pres@wta.mb.ca

MTS Workload Survey

By: Nathan Martindale, Vice-President

As Dave Najduch mentioned in his newsletter article last month, The Manitoba Teachers’ Society will be conducting its’ annual workload survey in February 2013. In November, I attended the MTS Fall Bargaining Seminar where MTS Analyst Mike Bell explained how the survey will work and why it is so important that members complete it. (Some of the information in this article is directly from Mike Bell’s presentation, and he has given me permission to reproduce it for the purposes of this article).

The survey will only take 15-20 minutes to complete and all responses are confidential and the data cannot be traced back to individuals. We are encouraging ALL WTA members to participate in the survey: classroom teachers, non-classroom teachers, administrators, specialists, itinerant teachers, part-time teachers and substitutes.

Survey Process:

  • In January, the survey will be sent out to MTS school-based representatives (this position is filled by the WTA Council Rep at each location)
  • Council Reps will be expected to provide instruction to teachers about the survey and urge teachers to complete it
  • Council Reps will ensure that all surveys in each location are completed and returned
  • Council Reps will then hand the surveys in at the February Council meeting
  • In March/April, the WTA President/Vice-President will deliver the completed surveys to the MTS Teacher Welfare Department

A high response rate ensures that we have the data we need to both make and defend positions – both at the bargaining table but also at arbitration, if necessary. The more individuals who participate in the survey, the more valuable the data is.

MTS collects the information via the survey and then provides it to each association. The information collected is used:

  1. To collect baseline information useful to collective bargaining for the next round of negotiations
  2. To protect the current collective agreement and provisions teachers enjoy
  3. In the event of a future bargaining impasse, the information may be used in interest arbitration to help improve or protect the collective agreement

Specifically, the data collected is used to profile membership, measure, pattern and trend key teacher workload indicators such as time allotments (hours worked, prep time), class size and composition and the negative aspects these have on teachers both in their work life and overall quality of life.

Twenty minutes is a very small investment of time for a potential major impact on your future working conditions! Over the next two months I will be reminding members of the importance of this survey through the newsletter, website and asking Council Reps to speak to members in each location.

Please take the time to complete the survey and remember that the information that you provide will help ALL members of your Association – the WTA.

Group Benefits Information

By: Winston Blakey, WTA Group Benefits Committee Chair

As a beginning teacher, I had no idea what benefits were; let alone how to access them. In this article I will share some insights.

When we signed our contracts with our employer, we received a package of information. If you were like me, you filed it (not in the round filing cabinet!) and focused on the next day’s lesson plan. In that package was some important information! A booklet on Manu-life Extended Health Benefits, a Great-west Life Dental plan booklet and all kinds of life insurance information (Manitoba Public School Employees Group Life Insurance Plan). Here’s the low down:

The MPSEGLIP is administered by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society and the Manitoba School Boards Association in consultation with the firm of Mercer. It offers basic life insurance (up to 700% of earnings), family life insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance. If you have questions about this plan, refer to the website:www.mbschoolboards.ca/whatwedo/mpseglip

Our dental plan is run through Great-West Life Assurance Company. Benefits include reimbursements at the following rates; routine treatment 100%, major treatment 60% and orthodontic treatment 50%. Any Routine or Major treatment expected to cost over $300.00 and ALL Orthodontic treatment must first be submitted to Great-West Life. Substitute teachers are not eligible for coverage under this plan. Information is available atwww.greatwestlife.com or you can call them at 1-800-957-9777.

Our health benefits plan is run through Manu-Life. The booklet explains the many benefits for active and retired teachers. Highlights include; access to massage therapist, chiropractor, osteopath, podiatrist/chiropodist, naturopath, speech therapist, dietician, audiologist, physiotherapists, athletic and occupational therapists, psychologist, acupuncturists, drug expenses, hospital care, ambulance care and vision testing. The website for Manu-Life is www.manulife.ca. Look for the Manu-Life Plan Member link. You can sign up for on-line submissions of receipts which speeds up the reimbursement process as well. If you have questions about a claim, you can call them at 1-800-268-6195.

Benefit programs are designed to take care of us when we need them. I encourage all of us to take advantage of these benefits so that we can focus on our work and personal lives with less worry.

Reception Committee Information

By: Terry Willerton, Reception Committee Chair

Hello everyone and welcome back. Hopefully we are all settled into another year of teaching and learning.

Our first meeting of the Reception Committee was held on November 7th. We discussed possible activities for the WTA Council Representative “Fun Nite.” Some of our ideas included: Celebrations Dinner Theatre, Rumors Comedy Club, Go Cart racing and event The Golf Dome. So stay tuned for more information. Also, if you have any ideas as to a function, please let us know. You can e-mail me at twillerton@wta.mb.ca

The DSA (Distinguished Service Award) is one of the functions we as a committee have the honour of putting together. Although we do not do the selection of the honouree we make sure there is sufficient food and snacks available as well as setting up the auditorium with flowers, etc.

We are also busy planning the WTA’s Retirement Reception for next June. I know it is far off, but we still need to do a lot of planning to make sure everyone is remembered for their service with the WTA, and their time as a teacher.

Dental Plan Benefits & Coverage

Plan Covers:

  • spouses of eligible contracted teachers/lab assistants
  • dependent child under 18 years of age
  • dependent child under 25 years of age if fulltime student
  • dependent child who was incapacitated for a continuous period beginning before age 18 or while a fulltime student and before age 25

Annual Deductible:
Note: Effective January 1st, 2013 the annual deductibles will be increased to: $25.00 person/$50.00 family. If both spouses are WTA members the maximum deductible is $50.00 in a calendar year. (Also Note: There will NOT be a deductible holiday for 2013.)

Annual Benefit Maximum:
Routine and major combined = $2,500.00 per person
Orthodontic = $1250.00 per person
Total = $3750.00 per person

Any Routine or Major Treatment expected to cost over $300.00 and all Orthodontic treatment must first be submitted to Great-West Life.

Great-West Life Office Mailing Address:
Winnipeg Benefit Payments
P.O. Box 3050
Winnipeg, MB
R3C 4E5
Phone: 942-3589
Plan No. 51001
The 2013 Dental Fee Guide is in effect as of January 1, 2013.

Routine – 100% Coverage Major – 60% Coverage Orthodontic – 50% Coverage
cleaning, bitewing x-ray, fluoride (limit twice in a calendar year) crowns, bridges, implants, dentures, etc. correction of malocclusions of teeth
oral examinations replacement of prosthodontics (dentures, etc.) if appliance is at least 5 years old appliances
full mouth x-rays (once every 24 months) procedures involving gold if no reasonable substitute at lower cost could be rendered observation adjustments
extractions repairs
fillings bands
dental surgery (excluding orthodontic or extensive procedures) consultations
diagnostic x-ray and lab work
general anesthesia
endodontic treatment (root canal)
periodontal treatment (gum disease)
treatment for relief of dental pain
injected medication
space maintainers (not used for orthodontic
purposes)
consultations – relines, rebases and repairs to existing dentures
pit and fissure sealants (up to age 19)

Benefit payments for orthodontic treatment are spread over the treatment period.

Reminder: Call for Nominations for the 2013/2014 WTA Executive Election

The Executive Nominating & Elections Committee is calling for nominations for the 2013/2014 WTA Executive. If you are interested in running for a position on the Executive please contact the Association office at 831-7104 or Fraser Oakes, Cecil Rhodes School.

What is the WTA? The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association represents all teachers, including substitutes, clinicians and lab assistants in The Winnipeg School Division. The Association negotiates for its members with the Winnipeg School Board. The WTA actively supports the well-being of all members through various committees such as Teacher Welfare, Professional Development and Public Relations.

Who can be an Executive member? Any member who indicates their willingness to run for election to the Executive when the call for nominations goes out. Candidates may be asked to speak at the Election Forum during the March WTA Council meeting. The new Executive year begins on June 15th.

What will I do if elected? All Executive members attend a retreat/workshop to become familiar with current issues and to determine (based on interest and experience) which committee they will Chair and/or sit on. There are committees which require less time and are ideal starting points for new members.

What is the time commitment for an Executive member? There is one Executive meeting per month. The meeting starts at 4:30 PM and runs between two to four hours (supper is served.) There is one Council meeting per month commencing at 5:45 PM. Committees meet at times determined by their mandate, or need, and can vary from two to three times per year to once a month.

What do I get out of it? Some rewards are extrinsic. Members are reimbursed for travel to Executive meetings and for dependent care. The opportunities for Professional Development are many and all are encouraged to take advantage of them. Substitutes are paid for by the Association when individuals attend PD opportunities.

Some rewards are intrinsic. Members of the Executive play an important role in achieving improvements in the working lives of teachers. They gain an insider’s view of the politics; negotiations and goals of those involved in education throughout the Province. Executive members know that they have helped all their colleagues by serving their Professional Association.

Is that all? No. You will get to work with a group of fun-loving, hard-working, supportive people who may soon become a group of trusted friends.

For further information please contact either the Association office or Fraser Oakes.

Distinguished Service Award

Deadline for Application February 15, 2013

Each year the WTA is able to honour an individual through the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award (DSA). The person can be an active WTA member (recipient of the DSA) or a non WTA member (recipient of the Honourary DSA). The basis for receipt of the award is “Major involvement and/or contribution to the Association.” A detailed nomination form can be found on the WTA web page in the Forms drop down menu. Please consider nominating someone for the award.

Ray Stoyko

$2500 Memorial Scholarship

The successful applicant will receive $2500 towards full-time enrollment in a Bachelor of Education degree program. The application deadline is the last teaching day of May of each school year. Completed application forms are to be returned to The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association, 202-2639 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3J 0P7 A copy of the detailed application form can be found on the WTA web page in the Forms drop down menu.

Ray Stoyko (1952-2007)

Ray Stoyko was elected the President of The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association in April, 2007. Prior to his full-time involvement with The Association, Ray taught English and Drama at Kelvin High School. He had a passion for the classics—both in literature and in art. He was a great supporter of local artists, including a number of his colleagues. As much as Ray had a passion for the arts, he had a greater passion for his profession—teaching. He was a true educator that instilled his love for literature and the arts into the minds of his students. Ray encouraged students to reach for the potential he knew they possessed.

Ray’s passion and dedication continued into The Association and for his fellow colleagues. One of his priorities for this organization was communication and member engagement. He knew that as the world and Winnipeg School Division were change/evolving—so must The WTA. Ray knew the importance of The Association. He believed in The WTA and for what it stands.

When Ray was the Chairperson of the Public Relations Committee, he advocated for and instituted the first WTA scholarships, awarded to a graduating student from each Winnipeg School Division High School. These scholarships continue to be awarded annually.

Ray was very proud to be the President of The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association. He was known as a quiet, intelligent, quick-witted, and thoughtful man. The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association is pleased to offer this scholarship in honour of his service.

2012/2013 WTA Pre-Retirement Seminars

If you are 48 years of age or older and a WTA member, you can register for one of the two WTA Pre-retirement Seminars offered for the 2012/2013 school year.

The date for the final seminar is February 7th, 2013

Deadline for registration is January 24th, 2013

Please e-mail Glenda Shepherd at gshepherd@wta.mb.ca for your TRAF authorization number and process for registration.

General Information

The Distinguished Service Award Application form is available here. If you are interested in nominating a WTA member or an “Honourary” member for receipt of the Award please fill out the application form and forward it to the WTA office by: February 15th, 2013.

The following electoral units were absent from the November 2011 WTA Council meeting: Adult EAL, APC, Andrew Mynarski, Argyle, COTE, Churchill, David Livingstone, Dufferin, Elmwood, George V, Grosvenor, J.B. Mitchell, John M. King, Kelvin, Lansdowne, Lord Roberts, Lord Selkirk, Luxton, Norquay, Ralph Brown, River Elm, Robertson, Stanley Knowles and WAEC – 700 Elgin Avenue.

The views expressed in all articles in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association.