Welcome Back!

The 2015/2016 School Year is Here!

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Photo courtesy of the Windsor Star. President Paul Elliott addresses Labour Day participants on Monday September 7, 2015

I trust that everyone had a great first week back! I want to thank all members that came out to celebrate Labour Day with OSSTF.   OSSTF joined thousands to celebrate Labour Day and to celebrate the contributions of the working class in Windsor and Essex County.  I look forward to seeing each of you this year at an OSSTF sponsored member engagement activity, OSSTF workshop, and/or an OSSTF meeting. It is the participation of the members that makes our union great. You won’t be disappointed in what your union has to offer you!

Paul Elliott, Provincial OSSTF President joined OSSTF District 9 this year in our march and addressed the crowd at the Fogolar Furland. He brought greetings on behalf of the Canadian Labour Congress and delivered a message of why we need to become actively involved in the October 19th Federal election.

Click here to watch President Paul Elliott’s speech to Labour Day participants

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Left to right…Mary Ann Sauve Essex PS, me, Natalie Beausoliel (her daughter is holding the flag) Talbot Trail, Susan Bolton ESS Executive, Kristen Garrett-Spanswick 1st Vice President, Nancy Burress Northwood

 

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING UPDATE

We have scheduled dates for Central Table Bargaining September 23,24,25 and we have one local date scheduled for this Wednesday. Workplace Reps were asked to conduct site meetings this last week. If you have not had your meeting, please get updates from your Worksite Rep.

The media has reported that talks have broken off with the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.  As a sign of support and solidarity I ask that members wear our OSSTF gear and/or  blue on Monday September 14th in support of ETFO . Their fight is our fight and we must stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.

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ECE Reorganization

Kristen and Tracey are meeting with the board this Wednesday and Thursday to do ECE staffing with the board. Barring any hiccups, members should expect to hear from their administrators by Friday about placements for the year.

It is our position that members should be only instructing and supporting the students identified on their class lists. If you are asked to instruct, supervise and deliver curriculum to classes that are not staffed with an ECE (the smaller classes under 15) please contact the Federation office for advice on next steps.


GETTING TO KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

If the provisions in your collective agreement are not being followed please ensure you take the following steps.

  • Speak to your administrator in an attempt to correct the situation
  • If not resolved,  call the Federation office for advice and support 519-948-7570

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I want to make sure that everyone is aware of some of your entitlements and rights in the Collective Agreement.

What employees are in the Bargaining Unit?
The Bargaining Unit represents all permanent, casual and temporary employees working in educational support staff positions in public elementary schools, secondary schools, and alternative programs throughout Windsor and Essex County.

What are the hours of work? How are lunch and breaks scheduled? (Article 25 – Working Conditions)

The work hours for  support staff are 7hrs per day (excluding lunch) or 3.5 hrs. per day. Members working 7hrs per day are entitled to the following:
• Two (2) fifteen (15) minute breaks and up to one (1) hr. unpaid uninterrupted lunch. The member’s lunch break shall be scheduled between the hours of 11am and 1pm if working this schedule. (balance and non-balance school days)
• One (1) paid thirty (30) min continuous break and one (1) unpaid thirty (30) continuous break. (for balance school days or non-balance school days if mutual agreed)
• One forty (40) and twenty (20) min break (balance or non-balance school day if mutually agreed)
Members working 3.5 hrs. per day are entitled to one (1) fifteen (15) break at the midpoint of their day.
Members working as Early Childhood Educators shall have their breaks and lunches scheduled during non-instructional time.
Breaks are not to be unused and cannot be attached to the start/end of the workday. Each member must take their scheduled breaks to ensure that they are rested for the remainder of the day.
Overtime (Article 25 – Working Conditions)
It is not a requirement for support staff to stay past their scheduled work hours. Should situations arise where you are required to stay for staff meetings, program meetings, field trips and mandatory professional development outside of scheduled work hours, your administrator needs to seek approval for paid overtime from the Superintendent of Special Education. Where possible,it is recommended that Administration cover support staff issues at the beginning of a staff meeting, so if support staff can not voluntarily stay for the entire staff meeting, you will be aware of issues that affect all staff.
Yard Duty/Supervision (Job Descriptions)
Our job descriptions state that support staff are to supervise identified students in and around the school. That means that yard duty should be staffed with teachers as if the principal did not have support staff in the building.
Technically, support staff could be supervising identified students during every recess, but shall not have the responsibility of supervising all of the students on the playground.
For example:
A Support Worker Hearing Impaired employee should be outside to interpret for students with a hearing impairment.
Educational Assistants should be outside to supervise identified students that require additional support.
Child and Youth Workers should be outside to promote social skills and positive peer interactions.
While support staff have a duty of care to the other students on the playground, support staff cannot be staffed to accommodate the Elementary Teachers’ Federation Supervision Cap. At no time should support staff cover a teacher’s break or prep time.
Also, support staff supervision duties should be divided equitably amongst each other, as much as possible.
Support Staff and Union Representation (Article 3 – Union Recognition)
The collective agreement gives every support staff (permanent or temporary) the right to have a representative from the union present for any meeting with a Board representative when a potential discipline or discharge matter is being investigated. If you have any questions  regarding potential discipline, contact the Federation office
The collective agreement is very different than ETFO/OSSTF Secondary Teachers. The union representative must be the OSSTF-ESS President, Martha Hradowy or another ESS Executive member, not the workplace representative when discussing a discipline action.
In solidarity always,
Martha
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Author: Martha Hradowy

President of the Educational Support Staff Bargaining Unit District 9

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