Even before you choose to become a member of ETEA it is important to know that as a Canadian you have the right to form or join a union. That right is protected by The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Any interference by an employer in that right to form or join a union is discrimination and therefore is illegal. It’s your right, your free choice, to join ETEA. So if you are not already an ETEA member working under the protection and negotiated benefits of a collective agreement, then what are you waiting for? We have the resources, knowledge, and expertise to help you successfully do that. Together we are building a profession. Join us. It’s your right.
As a member of ETEA there are some core fundamental rights shared by the members of all ETEA locals. These core rights include but are not limited to the following:
- The right to membership and active participation in the union (ETEA) without fear of harassment or discrimination.
- The right to a workplace that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment.
- The right to fair opportunities to work under hiring, layoff and recall practices that follow union approved rules of seniority.
- The right to fair wages and periodic wage increases.
- The right to health and welfare benefits and paid sick leave as provided by your Collective Agreement.
- The right to enjoy legal holidays and vacation time as provided under your Collective Agreement.
- The right to fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory evaluation practices.
- The right to work under reasonable, fair and equitable discipline practices.
- The right to representation by, and support from an ETEA Shop Steward and/or Executive Member.
- The right to a fair grievance procedure when you feel your other rights have been misapplied, ignored or negated.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list. You have other rights under your Collective Agreement, and under the Laws of British Columbia and Canada.
Moreover, this list does not constitute a legal document; it is intended to be only a brief summary of the rights provided for under the various ETEA collective agreements. For full disclosure of your legal rights please consult your Collective Agreement directly.
Under the ETEA Constitution and bylaws, you have the following rights:
- The right to attend general meetings of the ETEA.
- The right to vote at ETEA general meetings.
- The right to run for executive and shop steward positions at the ETEA Annual General Meeting.
- The right to make proposals that affect ETEA policies and constitution
- The right to initiate a recall procedure
- The right to participate in debate at ETEA General Meetings
- The right to propose topics, and changes to topics for debate
Note: This list does not constitute a legal document; it is intended to be only a brief summary of the rights provided for under the ETEA Constitution and Bylaws
For full disclosure of your legal rights as a member of the ETEA, please consult the ETEA Constitution and Bylaws directly (ETEA_Constitution).
As a resident of British Columbia, you are also protected by the following acts:
- Labour Relations Code of BC
- Employment Standards Act
- The Human Rights Code of BC
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation (Worksafe BC, WCB)
- Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) of BC
ETEA has fought very hard to establish a reasonably comprehensive package of benefits for teachers. We continue to work for the improvement of our current benefits with the goal of eventually establishing a standardized package enjoyed by members in every ETEA local. If you aren’t already enjoying a benefit package then you need to change that by joining us at ETEA.
If you asked around at your school you would discover that even the administrative staff is receiving some sort of benefit package. By joining ETEA you would enjoy a professional benefit package. Here are just a few of the benefits won by ETEA locals through collective bargaining:
Professional hourly wages
Paid preparation time
Seniority systems that regulates layoff and recall based on hours worked
Paid sick days
Up to 6 weeks paid vacation
Unpaid leave provisions for longer term absences from work
Extended health and dental benefit plans
Representation and support through a grievance
Procedure that reduces management and employee conflicts in an orderly, timely, and professional way
A voice in class caps with teacher and student needs in mind
Security to advocate for educational needs
Improved health and safety rules
Transparency and predictability in the workplace
Dignity and Respect
A democratic voice in the workplace
Affiliation with professional organizations
Part of a broader community of teachers
Opportunities for leadership roles within the Union
ETEA continues to work on adding more benefits and improving the ones we have.
Note: Some terms used in a Collective Agreement, such as “reasonable”, are somewhat open to interpretation, and may depend upon such variables as the definition of “employee” that applies to you, or the type of program you are teaching. If you have doubts about whether your specific circumstances are reasonable, you have the right to challenge the interpretations that management applies to such words. Please contact your Local’s Union representative or ETEA if you have questions.
For those who want more information, we recommend looking up contracts for each local here.