CUPE K-12: Caring for BC students and public schools

Gilles Larose, president CUPE Local 382 - image 0

Gilles Larose, president CUPE Local 382

CUPE 382 represents 225 members who are outside workers with the Greater Victoria School District 61. There are two locals in the district, inside and outside workers. CUPE 947 represents secretaries, IT and Education Assistants and CUPE 382 represents the trades, non-trades, and custodial sector of the school district. Gilles served on the provincial bargaining committee in the last round of bargaining as well.

What are some of the challenges we face in provincial bargaining?

Bargaining provincially there’s the obvious challenge of dealing with a provincial government that is not typically labour-friendly. They’re always using the excuses of “no money, no money, no money.”  The government’s unwillingness to fully fund education is a huge challenge.

What are some of your goals in bargaining?

One of the goals for us as a Local is plan standardization of benefits. As a smaller local, we are so far behind. We don’t have a lot of bargaining power so this is one of the areas where our members could really benefit from the provincial aspect of the standardization of our benefit plan. 

How can members support the efforts of the bargaining committee?

Members can support the committee by being engaged. From my perspective as a committee member, it’s letting our members know exactly what’s going on and keeping them engaged and knowing that at the provincial table there’s that support for the Local, and then the Local stuff falls in hand.

If you could give a message to the employers, what would that be?

We bargain in good faith and we provide a valuable service to the districts. We should be valued for the work that we do.

What do you think members need to know about bargaining?

The provincial bargaining committee looks upon the bargaining aspect as a global thing for the whole province.  Even though we bargain for our areas, at the end of the day it’s about the whole community as far as CUPE is concerned.

The provincial table specifically deals with monetary items because our employer is the provincial government. They’re the ones that hand out the money to the various districts. So at a local table we’re pretty well hamstrung as far as monetary issues go because the provincial government makes the decision. So it just makes sense that the provincial table is where we need to extract the dollars.