Monday Memo – December 12, 2011

MEMO TO: Staff Reps

COPIES TO: STA Executive Committee

FROM: Denise Moffatt, President

Date: December 12, 2011

Save the Date:
General Meeting with Speaker from the BCTF and AGM delegates election – January 11th, 2012 at Bombay Banquet Hall, 7475 – 135 Street, Surrey.

Next “Mark In” –
January 23rd, 2012, 3:30 – 5:30 pm. More info to come.

Opportunity for Members:
The BCTF will be appointing 3 representatives to the new BC Teachers’ Council. If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, please read the attached bulletin . The deadline for application is January 12th, 2012.

School Board Rally:
Over 60 Surrey teachers attended a rally outside DEC before the inaugural meeting of Surrey’s newly elected Board of Education last Thursday. Teachers then entered the meeting room and spilled out into the hallway, holding up their signs within sight of the Trustees as they took their oath of office. The presence of this many teachers made quite an impression. There was coverage of our rally in both local papers. See the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9gkdpoIkwQ and the article in the Now Newspaper www.thenownewspaper.com/story.html?id=5838146 . Our press release is attached .

Timetabling for Term 2:
As Secondary Schools begin preparing for second term, some counsellors have been requested to assist the AO with timetabling. We are not assisting with this task, as stated in the LRB ruling: teachers will “not assist the AO in administrative tasks like building timetables.” We are waiting on further advice from the BCTF on semester 2 start up. We expect the advice by tomorrow and will communicate further with counsellors.

Provincial Exams Reminder:
If approached by administration regarding invigilation, administration or marking of provincial exams, do not agree to a schedule at the school level. Human Resources must work out this schedule with the Union. The employer must utilize management and excluded staff to the best extent possible to replace teachers for these activities.

Teaching Certificates for teachers on leave, retired, or non-practising:
There are upcoming changes to certificate categories made in the Teachers Act. There will now be only one category – practising. This eliminates categories that reduced the fee cost for teachers on leave, retired, or non-practising. The interim registrar, Susan Kennedy, has sent letters to these teachers advising that they must either pay the $120 fee by January 6, 2012 for the 2011/12 year to maintain their practising teacher certificate or their certificate will be cancelled or terminated. The BCTF and the BC Retired Teachers’ Association believe there is an unfairness to this decision. We are pursuing our options. In the meantime we will be sending our own communication to members advising them of the change.

Provincial Bargaining, Dec 7th: “19th century labour relations for the 21st century”
BCTF reiterated that negotiating language on growth plans, performance review plans, and mentorship is not a provincial objective for us; a better place to discuss these issues is at the local table. BCPSEA continues to try to reclaim control of our professional development. Teachers are professionals who have a wide range of skills, abilities, and educational backgrounds. We use our skill and expertise in order to make professional judgments about how to do our job. Adaptation, personalization, and responding to unique needs are all things that require more autonomy rather than more bureaucratic control. BCPSEA also went over its post and fill, and employer initiated transfer proposals. What they tabled would strip local collective agreements of their existing language on these topics. Consistently, they want us to discuss their proposals but they will not discuss ours. It is interesting to note that BCPSEA’s response to each of our proposals is: “we can’t discuss this because it does not fit with our net-zero mandate and this mandate is not negotiable.”

BCPSEA silent on LRB loss on report cards and 15% levy:
Despite BCPSEA’s best efforts to suggest “life and limb” would be threatened by teachers not sending out report cards, the LRB determined that teachers need not prepare or distribute report cards. This was the case in the 2001 and 2005 essential services orders and was again agreed to by both parties in July 2011. Most importantly and unsurprisingly the board found that BCTF members are providing a range of feedback to students and parents. On the punitive 15% reimbursement grab, the LRB rejected any notion that teachers are only working 85% of the scheduled time. Rather the board ruled “that they are working their regular hours teaching but not performing non-essential duties.” The employer has been remarkably quiet on this loss of their bid for collection agency status!

The BCTF’s great big video challenge:
In response to the challenges facing us, your union is giving you another one! We’re launching a great big video challenge to encourage teachers to let their creative juices flow. “EduPlan or EduScam” is our kickoff and the challenge is on. Watch Gerry’s video on the BCTF website at www.youtube.com/mybctf . Create a video of no longer than two minutes. Comment on a current education issue, the state of bargaining, the funding crisis, or anything that’s on your mind. See the BCTF homepage for details or contact Dave Halme at dhalme@bctf.ca.

Prince George Administration Given Extra Holidays
The Vancouver Sun reported this morning that administration in Prince George has received an extra week of holiday time to compensate for the additional work they have done because of the job action. Ironically, teachers have not received similar compensation for the work that has been added to our load over the past 10 years. Wouldn’t it be nice to receive similar treatment at the bargaining table? The full story can be read at http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Extra+holidays+awarded+compensate+teachers+action/5845686/story.html

Reminder of our 3 Main Objectives:

  •   improvements to our teaching and learning conditions (class size / composition / specialist teacher ratios);
  •   improvements to salary and benefits;
  •   the ability to negotiate local solutions to local problems.

Monday, December 12th, 2011. Filed in Category: Monday Memos Staff Representatives