Newsletter January 2013

Start of a new year!

David

By: Dave Najduch, President

Sandy Hook

It is already the middle of January in a new year; we are all busy doing the work we do. The events in Sandy Hook seem almost a distant memory, surreal are the images splashed across the TV screens around the world. As a classroom teacher and parent it is difficult not to be touched by the sadness, shock and horror. Sandy Hook is just one of many examples where a seriously disturbed individual has assaulted a core principle of public education, safety. Parents send their children to school every day with the expectation that they will be safe. Students and staff go to school every day expecting to be safe.

We will not let the actions of one person distract us from the wonderful work we do with students. We cannot let those actions stop us from ensuring our students receive a positive experience in our classrooms and at school. We will continue to work hard to provide that nurturing, caring and educational environment in which everyone can learn and be safe. We should also take a moment to remember with sadness the loss of so many.

The New Provincial Report Card

The WTA and the Division continue to talk about issues related to the implementation of the new Provincial report card. I am also hearing from many individuals across the system that have had both positive and negative experience around its implementation. The following are areas we are continuing to monitor.

  1. Length of the anecdotal comments:

    One of our major concerns was and continues to be the expected length of the comments which are to be placed in the boxes for each subject area. The province has asked that the reports be clear, concise and free of jargon. The comment box should not be expanded to allow for lengthier comments.

  2. WSD and the computer system

    Over the last number of years during the fall reporting period, our office heard from many members who were experiencing difficulties with the WSD computer system. A slow response speed, lost or jumbled data and, at times difficulties printing what was on the screen. To date, our office has not received the number or types of complaints that we have had in previous years even with the new report card being placed on line.

  3. Semester end/ year end comments:

    The WTA is waiting to hear from the WSD about the expectation regarding the semester end and year end comments which need to be included on the final reports. The provision of a full anecdotal report does not seem to make sense given the fact the students will be moving to either a different grade or subject area.

  4. EIP/AEP use

    It seems that one of the areas which has generated a lot of discussion is the shift in the use of the IEP/AEP process. The WSD has provided some direction in this area, but for many it is still not clear how this process is to be used and more specifically what types of written comments will be required.

  5. Progress Reports

    The WTA has been concerned from the start of the new report card process that teachers will continue to be asked to provide a wide range of progress reports/academic updates and stiil deliver the new report card. It was hoped that the provision of the new report would remove the necessity for these to be provided to all students. The WTA will continue to monitor what members are being asked to provide to parents between reporting periods.

I would like to hear from you about your experience with the new reporting system. I would like to thank those who have already provided their input, but we still have a half year of implementation left and the high school program yet to come on line. Let me know what has worked and what still needs to be improved. It would also be interesting to hear how parents have responded to the new format of reporting.

As always, you can contact me at pres@wta.mb.ca or by phone at 204-831-7104.

Happy New Year!

By: Nathan Martindale, Vice-President

Happy New Year! I don’t make resolutions, but I will make an appearance at the Y one day soon to work off all the Christmas (and Ukrainian Christmas!) food I consumed over the holidays. For those of you who do make (and stick to) resolutions at this time of the year – I applaud you!

School Visits

At the time of writing this article, Dave and I have completed approximately one third of the school visits. These visits are one of the most important interactions between the WTA and its membership. Information is presented and questions are answered. The visits also serve as information gathering for the WTA. We need to know what issues our members are facing on a day-to-day basis. If you are not comfortable asking a question in front of colleagues, or if your question deals with a very specific personal situation, please call the WTA.

MTS Survey

As I mentioned in my December newsletter article, MTS will be conducting a member workload survey in January/February. The Council Rep in each location will be the contact person for this survey. It is very important that each WTA member take the time to complete the survey as it provides valuable information for the Negotiations. Please take the time to complete the survey, as that one individual action will serve to strengthen the WTA as a collective group.

Negotiations Update

The WTA Negotiations Committee continues to collect data and examine other Collective Agreements across the Metro Region in order to begin working on an opening package for next year. As always, please feel free to email me at vpres@wta.mb.ca for suggested changes or additions to our Collective Agreement. As per Council Policy, a formal method of member input will be in place for September 2013. This will include a printable form on the WTA website that will be collected by the Negotiations Committee.

WTA Member Participation

The WTA Elections are approaching and I encourage all members to consider running for a position on the WTA Executive. Talk to a current member of the Executive and ask them questions about the time commitment and responsibilities. This is one of many ways that you can become more involved in the WTA. Another is by volunteering to sit on a WTA Committee or attending the Manitoba Teachers’ Society Annual General Meeting as a delegate. And of course, please exercise your right to vote in the WTA Election!

Group Benefits Information

Manulife Financial

Travelling?

Stable medical conditions are covered under your plan

Starting December 1, 2012, we’re making an addition to the Out-of-Country/Out-of-Province or Emergency Travel Assistance coverage provided as part of your Group Benefits plan. With the wording change, we’re helping you understand that coverage is available for unexpected medical emergencies related to a diagnosed medical condition if it was considered medically-stable before you left your province or territory of residence.

What does medically-stable mean?

To be considered medically-stable under your plan, during the 90-days leading up to your departure, you/your eligible dependant must not have:

  • been treated or tested for any new symptoms or conditions;
  • had an increase or worsening of any existing symptoms;
  • changed treatments or medications (other than normal adjustments for ongoing care);
  • been admitted to the hospital for treatment of the condition.

Other things to consider before you leave:

  • Coverage for travel medical emergencies is not available if you (or your dependant) have scheduled non-routine appointments, tests or treatments for the condition or another undiagnosed condition.
  • Coverage is available for medical emergencies related to pregnancy as long as travel is completed at least 4 weeks prior to the due date.
  • Having valid coverage under a Government Health Insurance Plan is required for you and your dependants.
  • Coverage for a travel medical emergency ends when the attending physician feels that, based on the medical evidence, a patient is stable enough to return home.

Accessing the service:

In the event of an unforeseen medical incident or emergency, contact Allianz Global Assistance as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that you and your eligible family members receive immediate and appropriate care that is monitored by the professionals at Allianz Global Assistance.

Call Allianz Global Assistance toll-free from:

Canada and the United States 1-800-265-9977;
Mexico #00-1-800-514-3702;
Dominican Republic 1-888-751-4403; and countries that participate in the Universal International Toll-Free (UhF) service, country code + 800-9221-9221.

We encourage you to use a land line telephone to make your call as the frequency on mobile phones are not guaranteed.

Strong, Reliable, Trustowrthy, Forward-Thinking

Emergency Travel Assistance is administered by Allianz Global Assistance and offered through Manulife Financial. Allianz Global Assistance is the registered business name for AZGA Service Canada lnc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd. © 2012 The Manufacturers Life lnsurance Company, All rights reserved. Manuliafe, Manulife Financial, the Manulife Financial for Your Future logo, the Block Design, the Four Cubes Design, and Strong Reliable Trustworthy Forward-thinking are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license.

Happy New Year everyone.

By: Terry Willerton, Reception Committee Chair

The Reception Committee is busy looking into several ideas for a WTA Member fun night. We are hoping to have something setup for the first week of March. Some of the plans are Rumor’s Comedy Club…Celebrations Dinner Theatre. There is still time for us to check out other venues so if anyone has an idea or a thought of some fun night out please let me know. I can be reached at twillerton@wta.mb.ca

The Retirement Reception plans are underway and everything is on track so remember to book a table if you are retiring or if a colleague is. The reception will be on June 12th 2013 at Shaarey Zedec Synagogue. More information to follow with times and dates to start booking your table.

Also the deadline date is nearing for nominations for this year DSA (Distinguished Service Award) so if you know of someone who deserves recognition let the DSA Committee know. This is all for now stayed tuned for more information on all upcoming events.

Exposure to Human Blood/Bodily Fluids

Safe Work
No. 161 July 2009

Potential Hazard:

There is a risk in many non-healthcare workplaces, especially those with sharp objects and machinery, of workers being exposed to the blood or bodily fluids of another worker. When a worker has contact with another person’s blood or certain other bodily fluids, there is a chance they can be infected by bloodborne pathogens. There are a number of bloodborne pathogens, of which Hepatitis B and C and HIV(AIDS) are of most concern.

Transmission of these pathogens occurs through direct contact with infected blood or certain bodily fluids (semen, vaginal secretions, blood tinged bodily cavity fluids, etc). Exposure to urine, feces, vomit, phlegm, saliva, tears, or nasal secretions are not considered risky unless they are visibly blood tinged.

This bulletin provides information on how to safely manage exposure to human blood and bodily fluids, particularly in non-healthcare workplaces.

How to Control the Hazard:

For workplaces where workers may be exposed to sharp objects (knives, saws, scissors, needles), safe work procedures for managing exposure to human blood and bodily fluids must be developed and implemented, and workers must be trained in these procedures.

The safe work procedures should include information on:

  • What is considered a significant exposure
  • How to safely clean-up an area contaminated with blood or bodily fluids
  • What to do when a worker is exposed to another person’s blood or bodily fluids

Each of these points is discussed below.

What is a significant exposure?

Significant exposure to blood or bodily fluids (where there is risk of infection) happens only in certain ways:

  • Puncturing one’s skin with a sharp object (needlestick, razor, saw blade, knife, etc.) that is coated with blood or bodily fluids
  • When blood is splashed on to a mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth)
  • When blood is splashed onto broken skin (cuts, eczema, other damaged skin)

When blood or bodily fluids come into contact with skin that is intact, this is not considered to be a risk for the spread of bloodborne pathogens.

How to safely clean areas contaminated with blood or bodily fluids

General
Employers must ensure that anything in the workplace that has been contaminated by blood or bodily fluids is disposed of or cleaned by a competent person in a manner that prevents workers from being exposed to the blood or bodily fluids.

When cleaning areas or objects contaminated with blood or bodily fluids, latex or vinyl gloves should always be worn. Hands should always be washed thoroughly with soap and water after any direct contact with blood or bodily fluids.

Cleaning Products
Soap (and water) is the most common and most easily accessible cleaning product. A commonly used disinfectant is household bleach solution, one part bleach to nine parts water, prepared daily. For decontamination of aluminum or electronic equipment, use 70% isopropyl alcohol solution applied for 10 minutes.

Spills
Floor areas or benches which have been contaminated should be promptly cleaned with absorbent disposable paper towels which are then disposed into plastic bags. The area should then be cleaned with water and detergent followed by disinfecting with a household bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water), and then given time to air-dry. If mops have been used in the clean-up, they should be thoroughly washed in soap and water and dried before re-use.

Soiled Clothing
Clothing soiled with blood or bodily fluids should be removed and laundered in the usual fashion.

Soiled Tools and Instruments
Tools, chisels, drill bits, etc. which come into contact with blood or bodily fluids should be cleaned with paper towels, washed and decontaminated with an appropriate disinfectant. Extra caution should be taken when cleaning sharp tools and instruments.

Sharps Disposal Procedures
When disposing of sharp objects, safe pickup procedures must be practiced. Sharps must be disposed of in a puncture proof container (not in the regular garbage) and safe garbage handling procedures must be followed.

What to do when a worker is exposed to blood or bodily fluids

If a worker has been exposed to blood or bodily fluids, the following steps should be taken:

  1. The worker should flush the contacted area with water as soon as possible and report the incident to their supervisor and occupational health personnel/first aider.
  2. If a significant exposure (see previous page) has occurred, the worker should seek medical attention immediately, preferably within two hours. Timely assessment is necessary for the initiation of preventative medication and/or vaccination.

For additional information, visit the Manitoba Health website at:http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/index.html

Reference to legal requirements under workplace safety and health legislation:

  • First Aid: Manitoba Regulation 217/2006 Part 5
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Manitoba Regulation 217/2006 Part 6
  • Chemical and Biological Substances: Manitoba Regulation 217/2006 Part 36

Additional workplace safety and health information available atwww.safemanitoba.com

WTA Ad Hoc Committee – Special Education Article

Special Education

We have the right to feel safe in the workplace no matter what job we are performing. If incidents of violence and harassment at school are not reported through the proper channels, how can we make the necessary changes to make everyone feel safe? By reporting and properly documenting incidents, our employer will have the documentation needed to move forward with an investigation, and to provide the necessary supports.

Q: What do I report?

Answer:

  • Any physical act of violence (pushing, throwing items, kicking, spitting, biting, scratching, pulling hair) even if it does not cause bodily harm.
  • Any physical threat with intent to cause harm (shaking a fist, stabbing motions, picking up a chair to throw, shoving furniture).
  • Any verbal threat (talk about harming someone with weapons, damage to personal property.

* Please don’t feel guilty about reporting minor incidents, these reports are intended to let our employer know our concerns so that supports can be allocated.

  • Harassment (from students, parents, colleagues, administrators), any interaction that makes you feel uncomfortable and is ongoing.
  • If you witness any of the above things happening to someone else, you may either encourage them to file a report, or file the report yourself.

How do I report?

Answer:

Step 1: Fill out the Winnipeg School Division Employee Accident Report. This should be in all school offices. Keep a copy for yourself, and submit the form to the office clerk.

Step 2: Fill out Winnipeg School Division Workplace Safety and Health form. This form should also be in all school offices. If you are unable to find it, ask your Workplace Safety and Health Representative or go to the forms section of this website. Keep a copy for yourself.

No incident of violence or harassment is too small to report. If you are unsure, or uncomfortable, call the WTA 204-831-7104.

Many teachers believe that violence and harassment cannot happen to them. However it can happen to anyone, in any teaching setting. Document thoroughly, fill out all forms and keep copies for yourself. We are not covered under Workers’ Compensation but we can apply to the division to have our sick days reinstated after an incident and we return to work.

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 here. 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 here.

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.

General Information

Reminders:

  • Maternity/Parental Leave and the Dental Plan… Please be advised that individuals who go on (or are currently on) Maternity/Parental Leave are covered for the length of the leave 54 weeks.
  • Maternity/Parental, Adoptive Leave Seminar – February 27th, 2013 – If you are interested in attending the seminar, please fill out the registration form, under the “Forms” section of the newsletter.

ManuLife Information

Life Events for Enrollment Status Change

An employee who had waived coverage initially is eligible to join the plan upon:

  • marriage (including common-law after 12 months cohabitation)
  • legal separation/divorce
  • birth, legal guardianship or adoption of the first eligible child
  • death of a spouse or dependent child
  • termination of a common-law relationship
  • involuntary loss of coverage under spouse’s benefit plan (does not include retirement)
  • term teachers whose contracts become permanent

Note: you must enroll within 90 days of the life event occurring.

Electoral Units not represented at the December Council meeting: APC, Children of the Earth High School, Churchill High School, David Livingstone School, Dufferin School, Elmwood High School, George V School, Isaac Brock School, Lord Selkirk School, Montcalm, Niji Mahkwa School, Pinkham School, Queenston School, R.B. Russell Vocational High School, River Elm School, Robertson School, Strathcona School, Tyndall Park School and WAEC – 700 Elgin Avenue

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