Posts tagged ‘Montreal Teachers Association (MTA)’

December 1, 2011

Salary Provisions of the New Contract Demystified – Part One

By Robert Green

Last fall members of the majority of Quebec’s public sector unions voted to approve an agreement on salary that had been negotiated by the leaders of the Common Front.

Prior to the vote, the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT) which represents teachers in Quebec’s English school boards had done very little to ensure that its members clearly understood the proposed deal. The usual mail-out was forgone in favour of a link on QPAT’s website and very little time was made available for members to study the details of the deal before being asked to vote on it. Although a more detailed explanation was provided at the Montreal Teachers Association (MTA) general meeting, very few attended this meeting. As a result Quebec’s teachers, for the most part, are left with a salary agreement whose true implications few understand.

In two parts, this article will attempt to remedy this situation by demystifying and contextualizing this agreement that we will all have to live with until 2015. Part one will discuss the context of the agreement and its core guaranteed elements. Part two will explore the possibility of additional salary increases being triggered and look at the effects of inflation.

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November 24, 2011

Were Teachers Adequately Informed? QPAT and the Democratic Process

By Robert Green

Teachers in Quebec’s English school boards contribute a significant amount of their hard-earned wages each year to fund the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT). In doing so, they expect QPAT to work actively to defend and advance their interests. They also expect to be part of any major decisions QPAT takes on their behalf. This is particularly true with regard to the process of negotiating and approving the collective agreements that affect all of our lives as teachers in such a direct way.

However, with the details of the most recently negotiated contract coming to light many teachers are beginning to feel that they were not adequately informed about the details of this agreement at the time that they voted. A previous two-part article entitled “Surprise! The Collective Agreement We Voted On Is Not the One We Got!” outlined in detail some of these ‘surprise’ changes.

This article will take a closer look at the democratic process by which this contract was approved and the specific information teachers were given in order to make this decision.

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November 10, 2011

Surprise! The Collective Agreement We Voted On Is Not the One We Got! Part Two: The New Systems for the Payment of Year-end Bonuses and for Department Heads

By Robert Green

Part one of this article focused on two of the ‘surprise’ provisions in the new collective agreement: the new system for calculating sick days and the new system for salary deductions. Part two will look at the new systems for the payment of year-end bonuses and for department heads. While the positive or negative implications of these four provisions may be debatable, what is not debatable is the fact that teachers were not given adequate information about these provisions prior to voting to approve the collective agreement. Further, since the contract came into effect last year teachers received no warning from their union that many of these changes were scheduled to be implemented at the beginning of this year. As a result, teachers have been scrambling to react to these changes without having a clear picture as to their implications.

New System for the Payment of Year-end Bonuses

Appendix XXVI of the new contract contains provisions for teachers to receive a year-end bonus by way of one of two provisions.

The first provision is referred to as “recognition supplements” and can result in a bonus of up to 8% (which as you’ll see in Table 1 below is nearly impossible). Borrowing the language of corporate reformers in the US, the appendix states that such supplements will be granted based on “value-added” for taking on additional responsibilities not described in the collective agreement and for supervising activities that are not part of the student timetable. It then outlines an elaborate credit system for different ECA’s (extra-curricular activities) that seems to be based on the principle that a half hour of ECA supervision will result in one credit. The credits will be approved by the school’s staff council and then sent to the board level committee that will prepare a report of each teacher’s credits that the board will use to disperse the funds by June 1.

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November 5, 2011

Surprise! The Collective Agreement We Voted On Is Not the One We Got!: Part One: New Systems for Calculating Sick Days and Salary Deductions

By Robert Green

With the text of the new collective agreement now in circulation, teachers in Quebec’s English school system are coming to realize that this agreement contains numerous important changes they were not aware of. They were not adequately informed of these changes when their union leaders recommended they vote for the agreement. Nor have the details of these provisions been adequately explained to them at any point since the contract came into effect last year. Now teachers are scrambling to react to the implementation of these changes without fully understanding their implications.

This article will attempt to outline some of the implications of the surprise changes that have been noticed so far. Part one will focus on the new system for calculating sick days and the new system for salary deductions. The second part of this article will focus on the new system for the payment of year-end bonuses and the new system for department heads.

New System for Calculating Sick Days

As teachers were being asked to fill out their personal presence time for their administrations, information began to trickle out that this would have implications for their use of sick days. As an MTA memo of Octobre 24 explained, absences would now be deducted by the minute rather than by the day, resulting in a system whereby a teacher could potentially lose more than a single sick-day from their bank of sick-days for phoning in sick on a particular day.

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