OECTA TSU has announced that the unit will stick with the OECTA MOU third party plan. A general meeting and survey showed that was the overwhelming member choice. It is quite understandable. Many TCDSB secondary teachers, having now finished the 120 days are "falling over the cliff", that is to say, they must now go on an unpaid medical leave if they are unable to return to work. The school board often only provided a few days notice of the cut off date and proper industry standard accommodations for a return to work were not made. Nor was any assistance provided for making a smooth and seamless transition to the LTD plan. Let me provide an example to personally share with you.
Heart + soul?
I have been on a medical leave for 120 days this year. Despite my unsuccessful attempts to clarify the exact date the paid leave would end, I only received a letter in the mail at the end of April, advising me that I would be on an unpaid leave beginning the next day. The following day I received another letter advising me that I needed to submit a void cheque if I wanted to continue my medical and dental benefits. As of today there has still not been any attempt by the board to make accommodations for my return to work. My LTD claim has been delayed probably because I should've applied for it months ago but didn't know I was talking to an ETFO colleague who informed me that they rarely if ever have run into such a case, whereas in my case, I am but one of many. Nice eh?
It's as if the school boards are being pressed by OCSTA not to negotiate the terms of the sick day plan with the local units. Indeed, the TCDSB plans to adjudicate the long term sick plan themselves, which will include a 0% option with their own "in house" disability management team. Suddenly an attendance management plan, that was apparently all ready underway, is now also being set up to assist their team in the decision making process. It is a very hard line and arbitrary way for the school board to handle the short term sick plan decison making process. I don't see this anywhere in our original OECTA MOU terms of reference. I'm sure we all now wait with bated breath to see how OECTA Provincial, and hopefully the MOE responds. And so we dive, down, down, down, into the deep blue MOU sea.
Other OECTA locals have decided they would rather trust the devil they all ready know. Manulifes procedures, as third party adjudicator, has often been a confusing road map to figure out on a large scale with such short notice.They require a mountain of paperwork for the sick and distressed teachers. A lot of union office time needs to be spent helping properly facilitate the memberships claims over the course of the year.The local OECTA unit might as well opt for the OSSTF MOU plan if a very good relationship exists with their board, including proper respect for a sick teacher with a certified doctors note. Why would they then want to set up a whole new complicated and time consuming procedure for their members?
It is indeed ironic that the different OECTA local units in the Catholic school boards across the province will now be using both the OECTA and the OSSTF MOU plans. Ultimately it becomes a question of whether we have a caring and empathetic Catholic employer who is there to first and foremost help its teachers during a time of great personal need should they become sick or injured over the course of the school year. When our Catholic school boards are fixated on control and spending issues above all else, even perhaps despite their possible best intentions, it surely alludes me how they can claim to provide "schools with a difference" except in a most uncharitable manner.