Canada - Toronto - Y2k foul-ups for School Board, thousands not paid or late pay : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

January 30, 2000

Wage fiasco leaves school staff unpaid

Computer foul-up causes `nightmare' at Toronto board

By Louise Brown, Toronto Star Education Reporter

Thousands of public school caretakers, secretaries and educational assistants across Toronto have been working with no pay or only partial pay since the new year because of massive foul-ups with a new computer system.

The Toronto District School Board employees - who include lunchroom supervisors, board clerical staff and instructors of English-as-a-second language - have been told they may have to wait until mid-February before their pay gets back on track.

``It's an absolute nightmare. We have hundreds of members whose cheques are bouncing, who can't make their rent or put food on the table,'' said grievance officer Steve Lillico of the Canadian Union of Public Employees' Local 4400, which represents 14,000 non-teaching staff across the amalgamated board.

Rod Thompson, the school board's executive officer of human resources, said it hopes to have the system remedied before Feb. 4 - the next round of bi-weekly paycheques. Until then, grievances will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis - although he didn't know whether anyone had yet been compensated for lost pay.

Many members who should have been paid Jan. 6 either received no paycheques or were paid too little, Lillico said. ``Hundreds and hundreds of workers got only 65 per cent of their pay, and hundreds more got none at all. We're trying hard to find someone who actually got paid right.''

When complaints poured in by the hundreds, the union launched a grievance on Jan. 18 on behalf of all members who have not been paid properly.

The non-teaching employees earn on average $35,000 per year, said school board chairperson Gail Nyberg. The lowest paid are lunchroom supervisors, who work two hours a day and make less than $10,000 a year, she said. Department managers are the highest paid, she said, earning up to $60,000 a year.

Thompson said the problems are a result of the recent amlgamation of boards. As part of it, the school board merged the payroll departments of its six former boards into a new computer system called Employee Information Systems. It began handling the teachers' payroll last fall and the non-teaching staff payroll on Jan. 1.

``It certainly didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped,'' said Nyberg.

There were ``challenges'' with the teachers' payroll last fall, and the timing of Y2K preparations may have made the latest switchover even trickier, assistant comptroller Mark Valcic said.

``In general we feel the system will be able to handle the (payroll) requirements. We always expect glitches as we implement a new system, from the sheer volume of activity.''

With files from Ariel Teplitsky

Source: The Toronto Star, Canada

-- Lee Maloney (, February 12, 2000

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