Newsletter June 2015

President’s Report

BY: Nathan Martindale, WTA President

The end of the school year is fast approaching, and after all the necessary end of June tasks have been completed, teachers often start thinking about next year. Similarly, as the business of the WTA winds down for the 2014/15 year, the WTA Office has already started mapping out plans for next year. For a more in-depth look at this past year, please review myPresident’s Report in the 2014/15 Annual Reports.

I would like to thank the following outgoing Executive members for their commitment of time, energy, skills and ideas: Winston Blakey, Matthew Jones, Iyvan Michalchyshyn, Carl Neumann and Orysya Petryshyn. I know that some of you will continue to stay involved with the organization as Council Representatives or members of committees.

I would also like to welcome the incoming Executive members: Rui Carvalho, Kristen Fallis, Cheryl Ottenbreit, Paul Shiaro, and Sam Zurzolo. I look forward to working with each of you in the upcoming year, and I commend you for increasing your level of involvement in the WTA.

Several times this year I was asked “How are you enjoying your new position at the WTA?” Most of the time I indicated that “enjoy” isn’t exactly the right word to describe the feeling I have for serving as WTA President. I used the analogy of being a new parent. I do not “enjoy” changing diapers or getting a mere two hours of sleep, but those are part of the responsibilities that an individual takes on when they become a parent. Similarly, I do not necessarily “enjoy” the endless schedule of meetings or constant barrage of phone calls on issues the employer can’t always address, but these are just a sample of the many responsibilities that I knew I would be taking on when I put my name forward for the position of President. On the other hand, I do enjoy advocating for a member, addressing a member’s concern, or even simply answering a quick question. In short, I enjoy this job when I am able to provide assistance and guidance to members.

Another enjoyable part of this job is the school visits to informally meet members during their lunch hour. This year the Vice-President and I visited 67 locations and met with over 800 members. A wide range of topics were discussed and I appreciate those members who took the time from their lunch hour to meet with us.

Looking ahead to next year, there are several exciting initiatives on the horizon. Stay tuned to wta.mb.ca for more information. In particular June 1, 2016 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the amalgamation of Mens’ local and Womens’ local of the Winnipeg Division. The Winnipeg Division Association changed its name to the Winnipeg Teachers’ Association in 1967. Our Association has a long history of providing service to members, and we look forward to celebrating our achievements.

As the school year winds down, I would like to wish you all an enjoyable and restful summer. Spend some time outdoors, stay active and engage in activities that are important to you. The time will pass quickly, so make the most of it!

 

Summer Babies Wanted!

Earlier this year, the Thompson Teachers’ Association settled grievances on the non-payment of maternity top-up benefits during non-teaching periods. This means that, as of July 1, 2015, any teacher member of the TTA will receive the full amount of top-up benefits regardless of when her baby is born. Benefits are still not payable during break periods, but will be paid in full once the break is over. This is an important and historic achievement for those teachers, and special thanks go to the teachers who were willing to file grievances to support their Association in achieving this breakthrough.

Subsequent to the Thompson settlement, eleven other teacher associations have been able to successfully negotiate the Thompson language into their collective agreements. Including Thompson, nearly one third of teacher associations in Manitoba now have language guaranteeing 135 days of top-up benefits to any teacher who takes maternity and parental leave, regardless of when the baby is born.

There is still work to do, however, as teachers in the remaining associations, including Winnipeg, do not yet have access to full top-up benefits. The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association is committed to trying to achieve full top-up benefits for its members. To this end, we would like any teacher who will be on maternity leave for any portion of this summer to contact either the WTA office (204-831-7104) or Nancy Kerr at The Manitoba Teachers’ Society (204-831-3086).

WTA Fees/MTS Fees

WTA members will see a $20 decrease in fees next year as Council representatives approved the 2015/2016 WTA budget. This decrease represents a 20% decrease over last year, bringing the annual fee down from $100 to $80. WTA members now pay the lowest annual membership fee of any metro teachers’ association in Winnipeg. In fact, our members pay less than one half of the fees paid by the members in most of the other metro associations.

WTA fees are deducted off your September pay cheques. MTS fees are deducted from your pay cheques for the rest of the year, October to June. Next year MTS fees will increase $17 over last year, bringing the annual MTS fee to $956 from $939.

Volunteer Opportunities at the WTA

The WTA Committee Chairs are always looking for members to serve on their committees. For more information on the roles and responsibilities of committees, read the 2014-2015 WTA annual reports here. In your review of the committee reports you may find something of interest to which you could devote some time and energy. New ideas and creative thinking are required in all aspects of the work of the Association. This is a rewarding way to “give back” to your profession.

Committees:

  • Annual General Meeting Committee
  • Credentials Committee
  • Distinguished Service Award Committee
  • Executive Nominations and Elections Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Group Benefits Committee
  • Monitoring Committee
  • Negotiations Committee
  • Reception Committee
  • Substitutes Committee
  • Teacher Welfare Committee
  • Workplace Safety and Health Committee

If you would like to serve on a committee please contact the WTA office at 2014-831-7104.

2015/2016 WTA Council Meeting Dates

Council Meetings in 2015/2016 will start at 5:45 PM and be held in the McMaster House Auditorium unless otherwise stated. Preceding each meeting a meal will be provided in the lobby outside the auditorium.

September 28, 2015 Monday
October 27, 2015 Tuesday
November 24, 2015 Tuesday
December 10, 2015 Thursday
January 25, 2016 Monday
February 23, 2016 Tuesday
March 22, 2016 Tuesday Executive Election Forum
April 25, 2016 Monday
May 24, 2016 Tuesday WTA AGM
June 6, 2016 Monday WTA DSA Reception
WTA Executive Election April 13 – 14, 2016
WTA Retirement Reception TBD

 

Miscellaneous

Upgrading to a New Classification?

When you up-grade your classification you must inform Manitoba Education & Certification in Russell (1-800-667-2378) as soon as you have your documentation from the University. Manitoba Education & Certification will process the documentation and forward information to the Division so that you may be paid at your up-graded classification.

Please make sure when you receive any information from Manitoba Education & Certification that they have your correct classification. The onus is on you to make sure your classification (and therefore your pay scale) is correct.

WTA Counselling Services

Counselling services are available to all WTA members. Keystone Counselling Associates are the Association’s counsellors. They can be reached at 204-774-4269. Contracted teachers within the WTA may also access The Manitoba Teachers’ Society’s Educators’ Assistance Program (EAP) at 204-837-5801.