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Some teachers paid Friday, others not so fortunate

March break will come early at local public and Catholic schools, which will be closed this Friday as well as all next week. But there will be differences behind the scenes when it comes to teachers and other school staff being paid – or not – for March 7.
Local public high school teachers will be working and  will be paid Friday, although their students will have the day off, said public board communications officer Maggie McFadzen. Friday will be a professional development day, she said.
However, the public board’s elementary teachers, who are represented by a different union from the one the high school teachers belong to, won’t be having professional development and won’t be paid that day, she said.
Most other Upper Grand board employees will be at work  and paid on Friday.From Page 1
Meanwhile, all of the local Catholic board’s teachers are not going into work on what’s scheduled as a PD day, and they not being paid. In the Catholic system, elementary and high school teachers all belong to the same union, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.
The differences in what happens Friday are related to provisions of the current two-year contracts of the various employee groups, McFadzen said. She noted that high school teachers at the Upper Grand board signed a two-year contract with the board in late 2012, before contracts were imposed on many of Ontario’s teachers’ union locals by the province in early 2013. Contacts for teachers all over Ontario all expire this August.
The local unit of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association issued a news release Tuesday seeking to clarify for parents why teachers might be seen heading out on March break or shopping for groceries this Friday.
March 7 will be a second unpaid, non-working day for all of OECTA’s permanent teachers during the current school year, local OECTA president Mark Berardine said in the release.
Friday “may be a professional development day for some employees and a day off for students, but it is a second unpaid day for almost 500 permanent teachers” at the Wellington Catholic District School Board, Berardine said.
The first unpaid day for teachers was Dec. 20, 2013. The agreement with the province provides an opportunity for boards and teachers to generate savings in order to offset a second unpaid day. However, if insufficient savings were generated, March 7 became a second unpaid day for teachers.
“Our board was not able to generate enough additional savings to offset the additional unpaid day, and so for the second time this year all permanent teachers will not be at work, nor will they be paid for that day,” Berardine said. He noted that elementary school teachers at the Upper Grand board are in the same boat.
Berardine criticized the “austerity agenda” of former premier Dalton McGuinty, which led to the unpaid days off.
“Our members would prefer to be working in the classroom or engaged in professional development, as opposed to having the day off without pay,” Berardine said in the release.
However, he said, negotiating the unpaid days off “helped mitigate the impact of the government’s demands on many OECTA members” – especially younger teachers, who had faced the prospect of losing two years of advancement on the salary grid under the province’s original contract stance.

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