Newsletter October 2012
FYI: What does 34 years of Service count for?
By: Dave Najduch, President
The September number count across the Division can be a difficult time for the membership working in schools. Once the count has been completed the WSD goes through the process of determining the appropriate staff count for the building. In some circumstances the Division will add additional staff because there are more students than anticipated. In other circumstances the WSD will reduce staff through the surplus process because of a declining enrolment. Those staff surplussed will be assigned to a new program in a new school.
This surplus process can be very difficult for those members who are reassigned. Much of my time in the office in late September, and into the first week of October was spent speaking with members who have been declared surplus. We talked about the process, reviewed why they were selected over other staff members and discussed their new assignment. For the most part the Association tries to be positive, supportive and speak to the Division when problems arise.
This September a member who had worked for 34 years in the same location was surplussed. This part- time person was first offered a program they had not taught in over 22 years at a level significantly different than the one they were most experienced teaching. After talking with Division about the issue, another program in a different school was offered that was marginally closer to the experience level this teacher possessed.
The school the individual was surplused from had a relatively large staff, however according to the Division, allowing the member to remain in the building would have caused too much disruption to student programming. It was also suggested the Division allow the member to continue to work in the building as a .5 addition to the staff complement. This was rejected by the Division as well. It would seem that the 34 years of service to the WSD, the school, the students and families in that community did not count for much.
It has been suggested that this was an attempt to force this individual into retirement. If that was the case, those who thought this would seem to have been correct. Rather than be forced out of the school , the member submitted their retirement notice effective immediately and it is my understanding the WSD has accepted it.
In my years as the President of this organization, I have seen the WSD be supportive and even compassionate regarding individual staff members and their situations. I have heard Trustees, Superintendents and Principals talk about how important staff is to the delivery of programming and services to students and families across the Division. Given the past divisional actions and comments by those in authority, it is still not clear to me how this individual member could have been treated so poorly by this employer.
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 831-7104 or email me at email@example.com
and Health Update
By: Nathan Martindale, Vice-President
This year I am serving as Chair of the Workplace Safety and Health Committee. Chris Pammenter was kind enough to chair the committee last year, while I focused on my role as Chair of Negotiations. Chris continues to sit on the committee and provide guidance and direction. The committee also includes: Kristin Insull, Rui Carvalho, Gary Comack, Paulette Krovats and Jennie Matteis.
Aside from chairing the WTA WPSH Committee I also attend the Co-Chairs meetings at the WSD Board Office to meet with representatives from the other union groups in the WSD along with the Director of Human Resources and the WSD’s Safety Officer. As well, I attend the WSD Central Committee meetings along with members of the WTA committee where specific Workplace Safety and Health problems and concerns are brought forward, discussed and eventually resolved.
This year’s WTA committee will be meeting to discuss, plan and execute various methods of educating our membership about the new WPSH Regulations the Province introduced last year as well as the Division’s new Harassment and Violence in the Workplace policies. These methods may include workshops, presentations at Council, pamphlets, newsletter articles and information posted on the WTA website.
The following websites were included in my article from November 2011, but I feel it is important to bring them to your attention again, as well as to make new members aware of the information.
- The Provincial Workplace Safety and Health Act
- The Provincial Department of Labour and Immigration website on all topics related to Workplace Safety and Health
- The Manitoba Federation of Labour Occupational Health Centre’s website
On the WTA Website (under “Forms”) the WSD Workplace Safety and Health Form can be accessed. If you have a WPSH concern at your school this is the form that you will need to complete. Please call me at WTA office (204-831-7104) for assistance in the process. The procedure is clearly outlined at the bottom of the form:
When a concern arises employees are to:
Step 1: Report the concern to the immediate supervisor/principal to resolve.
Step 2: If the concern is not corrected at this step, report the concern to the Worker Representative in the building. The Worker Representative will contact the principal/supervisor and together will attempt to resolve the concern.
Step 3: If the concern is not corrected satisfactorily, the Worker Representative will then bring the concern to the attention of theWorkplace Safety and Health Officer using this form.
As well, all WTA members, new and experienced need to be reminded of their rights and responsibilities as a worker:
RIGHT to Know
- Workers have the right to know about workplace hazards
- Workers have the right to access Material Safety Data Sheets regarding hazardous materials
RIGHT to Participate
- Workers have the right to participate in the Health and Safety concerns of the workplace
- Workers have the right to sit on WSH committees and/or as school reps
- Worker groups have the right to select reps for the Division WSH Committee
RIGHT to Refuse
- Workers have the right to refuse to do a job when they have reasonable grounds to believe that the task or condition of work may be dangerous to themselves or to a co-worker or to any other person
If you have any questions or concerns related to Workplace Safety and Health, please contact the WTA Office.
Group Benefits Committee Information
By: Winston Blakey, WTA Group Benefits Committee Chair
The Group Benefits Committee is a group of teachers, chaired by a member of the Executive, who are tasked with overseeing the Great-West Life Dental Plan and the ManuLife Extended Health Plans. The committee also hosts two Pre-Retirement Seminars and two Maternity, Parental, Adoptive Leave Seminars. The Committee is also assisted by the WTA’s Business Agent, Henry Shyka, the WTA’s Administrative Assistant, Glenda Shepherd and the consulting firm, Aon Hewitt.
The Pre-Retirement Seminars are mainly open to active teachers who are 48 years of age or older. The primary focus of the seminar is a presentation from the Teachers’ Retirement Allowance Fund (TRAF). This presentation goes through the many plan options that you can choose from when it comes to receiving your pension (there are 8!), how you may be able to increase or add to your pension, information on how the plan is funded, some of the options you might want to consider for your retirement (i.e. CPP, OAS, extended health plans, life insurance) and how to apply for your pension. Great information can be found on the TRAF website: http://www.traf.mb.ca
The Maternity, Parental, Adoptive Leave Seminars are designed to provide information to members who are thinking about a child, expecting a child or want a better understanding of the benefits available to them related to these leaves.
The Committee tracks usage of both the dental and extended health benefits plans (how much is being paid in benefits, collected in premiums), solicits suggestions for plan additions (or deletions), compares the plans to other plans and decides on premiums. Premiums are basically based on the usage and claims that each plan is experiencing. If there is an increase in usage, the plan costs will go up and this means an increase in premiums. The committee is very diligent in its discussions when it comes to deciding on premiums.
I’d like to thank the Committee members for their hard work and the time they put in. As with any extra-curricular involvement, it is very rewarding to work with a group of people with a variety of opinions and backgrounds. Opinions may vary but the committee is very dedicated to its work.
What’s in a name?
If you have to speak to staff in the Payroll or Human Resources Departments
at the Division or if you have inquiries with Manulife, please take a minute to
request the name of the individual on the other end of the line. Sometimes
our members encounter problems, or have questions about the information
they receive. When this happens, we can better help you resolve your difficulty
if we know to whom you’ve spoken.
Electoral Units Absent from the September 2012 Council Meeting:
Champlain, Children of the Earth, College Churchill, David Livingstone, Dufferin,
Hugh John Macdonald, King Edward, Norquay, Pinkham, River Elm, Rockwood, Sargent Park, Support Services, William Whyte and WAEC – 700 Elgin Ave.
MANULIFE INFORMATION (The following information is provided from the Manulife Financial Group Benefits Admin Update Q3 2011)
Orthopaedic shoes: New requirement for claims after January 1st, 2012
Manulife has been monitoring market trends and fine-tuning their practices to ensure they pay claims consistent with the intent of the benefit. They just completed a review of orthopaedic shoes and found that many vendors are promoting off-the-shelf walking or sports shoes as orthopaedic. In response to this market trend, they are making some changes to manage utilization and prevent abuse or fraud.
The following is a summary of the information required for all claims for off-the-shelf medically necessary orthopaedic shoes. The only new requirement is #2, the manufacturer’s name and the brand name and model number of the shoes or boots. This information should be provided with a completed and signed Extended Health Care Claim form.
From a physician:
- the diagnosis of a medical condition and a prescription for shoes or boots as treatment for that medical condition.
From the supplier of the footwear:
- the name of the manufacturer, and the model name and/or model number of the shoes or boots.
- details if the shoes or boots:
- are attached to or part of a brace or
- have been altered/adjusted by the supplier for the specific medical needs of the wearer, including a description of the alterations.
- details of all costs, with costs for the footwear shown separately from costs for any alterations to them.
- the date the shoes or boots were picked up from the supplier.
- the original sales receipt showing the date and method of payment.
Starting in November Manulife’s explanation of benefits statements will carry a message to flag the change to plan members making orthopaedic shoe claims their Customer Service Centre team will also be explaining the claims changes to members calling in.
Manulife’s usual practice is to return incomplete claims to members so that they can provide the missing details and resubmit their claim. Plan members are responsible for any costs associated with providing this information as part of their claim.
Manulife wants to help plan members understand what footwear is eligible.
Manulife wants plan members to understand their benefits and help if they call or write to them before they buy orthopaedic shoes.
After plan members have a physician’s diagnosis, members need a chiropodist, pedorthist or podiatrist to recommend shoes. When they have details of the footwear, any medications and proposed costs (described in items 2 to 4 in the previous list), they can call or sent Manulife a predetermination request so that they can confirm if those shoes or boots will be eligible under the plan.
Information about Manulife’s claims requirements is available on their
Secure Plan Member Site athttp://groupbenefits.manulife.com/canada/GB_V2.nsf/public/pm_welcome
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 dates of the seminars are:
November 29th – Deadline for registration is November 15th
February 7th – Deadline for registration is January 24th
Please e-mail Glenda Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org for your TRAF authorization number and process for registration.