Issues discussed at June 11th collective bargaining:
- Two students were left behind and not evacuated from the Atsugi school during the March 11th earthquake. Staff officially claimed they evacuated, but a teacher who went back up found them there. This is one reason why we are stressing that employee safety training is so important and should be a priority.
- Begunto asked for a definition of what’s a reasonable or legitimate disrequest, and what’s unreasonable and should not be counted. For example, disrequesting someone based on gender or race should be considered illegitimate.
Management said there were no rules or clear standards. (However, in the work rules, Berlitz management states that it’s committed to equal opportunity and would not discriminate against race, color, religion, national origin, physically challenged, gender, age, sexual orientation, or maritial status.)
The decision of reasonable or unreasonable used to be up to the I.S. If the teacher got a disrequest for something regarding the lesson content, the I.S., who is also a teacher, would listen to the teacher’s next lesson and determine the quality. Now, in some cases the teachers aren’t shown the disrequest paper or given the chance to write a comment and sign it, even though there’s a place on the form for the teacher’s comments.
Begunto would like to see disrequests handled at the local level first, before any disciplinary action is taken by HQ.
One Begunto member made a point that he received a disrequest from one student that prompted a request from another (strict correction). Therefore why punish the teacher for a student’s personal preference, if the teacher is doing his job using the Berlitz method?
- Begunto asked, how many disrequests can one get before suspension?
Management replied that again, there was no rule or clear standard, and it depends on the disrequest. Begunto would like to know who decides, and would like to have an official standard for what number of disrequests would lead to disciplinary actions.
- Begunto asked that Management train all staff and teachers in safety procedures, update personal information on a yearly basis, and also provide information for Other Language teachers who travel frequently.
Management’s response was that they are working together with HR in putting together a multi-lingual emergency manual. They are also attempting to get kids to carry contact information of their parents. However, personal information is only updated if there’s a change, and Management said that it’s not necessary to recheck every year.
Begunto thinks it is necessary.