BURNABY – On Saturday, June 7, 2014 the K-12 Presidents’ Council and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) reached a tentative provincial framework agreement.
“We’re pleased to conclude a strong agreement that improves education for students and benefits our 27,000 members,” said K-12 Presidents’ Council Chair Marcel Marsolais. “This agreement is a significant improvement over our last one since increases are provincially funded and will remove pressure on school boards.”
The tentative agreement is for a five-year term from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019 and includes provincially funded wage increases consistent with the provincial government’s current mandate. Highlights of the agreement include increased hours for education assistants; improvements to extended health benefit plans through standardization; an Employee Support Grant in recognition of lost wages for CUPE members who do not cross legal picket lines; and a commitment to implement a job evaluation plan to address recruitment and retention issues.
Once the agreement is ratified by K-12 Presidents’ Council members, it will form the basis of local agreements between K-12 local unions and their respective school boards. CUPE members will vote on the provincial agreement as part of their package after local bargaining with their respective school board is concluded.
“We bargained hard to arrive at a settlement that recognizes and respects our members’ work and improves the learning environment for students in B.C. schools,” said CUPE K-12 Sector Coordinator Rob Hewitt.
“Our support for the BCTF and the struggle teachers are undertaking for a fair and reasonable contract and a commitment from this government for long-term adequate funding of the education system hasn’t changed one iota,” said CUPE BC President Mark Hancock. “Just as the teachers have been at our side as our members have fought for public education, we continue to stand with them.”
CUPE represents more than 27,000 education support workers in 59 locals and 53 school districts throughout B.C. including: education assistants, school secretaries, caretakers, First Nations support workers, IT workers, Strong Start facilitators, trades and maintenance workers, and bus drivers. CUPE members do many different jobs to provide safe, clean, well-run and supportive education for students of all ages.
The current contract would have expired on June 30, 2014. The K-12 Presidents’ council represents K-12 support staff unions, with CUPE being the largest. Increases contained in the agreement are fully funded by the provincial government.