A fully-funded wage increase is the best solution to ending the bargaining impasse between 27,000 CUPE education workers and the BC Public School Employers’ Association.
Years of funding cuts to BC’s public schools has undermined the quality of education that families deserve. The BC Association of School Business Officials estimates that the funding shortfall for school boards is more than $134 million per year and growing. To make matters worse, the 2013 provincial budget quietly funneled more than $15 million from “hold back” funds into next year’s Annual Facilities Grant—a move that is a cut to districts’ operational budget.
The BC government’s refusal to answer to the funding shortfall has ground negotiations to a halt, threatening to disrupt classes when fall classes resume.
“Education workers keep BC schools clean, safe, and inclusive. Our members can’t deliver services if the government won’t commit to funded bargaining solutions,” said Colin Pawson, President of CUPE Local 1091 and Chair of the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council.
It has been more than four years since the education assistants, clerical staff, trades, custodians, bus drivers and other workers represented by CUPE have received a wage increase. Virtually all of the 57 CUPE locals representing education workers have achieved a strike mandate.
Follow the bargaining updates on Twitter at @cupebcschools or online at www.bcschools.cupe.ca.