Welcome to the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council site

Welcome to the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council site

The K-12 Presidents’ Council represents 57 CUPE locals in school districts across British Columbia.

CUPE represents more than 30,000 education workers including: Education Assistants, School Secretaries, Caretakers, First Nations Support Workers, IT Workers, Strong Start Facilitators, Trades and Maintenances Workers, and Bus Drivers.

We strive to protect quality public education for all.

Bulletin #48 – STOP contracting out

Important information about EA hours and early care and learning

CUPE National and CUPE BC have long supported the creation of a universal system of affordable child care. Members and staff have campaigned for this particularly hard in the last two years. We also bargained language to ensure that CUPE locals and members will have an opportunity to work collaboratively with school districts to create a broader education system. That language is under threat.

The re-election of the BC NDP to a majority government has given us a historic opportunity to create a universal system of affordable child care.


The only way we can achieve universal affordable child care is by delivering it as a high-quality, public service. We know that the most effective and efficient way to create a truly universal system – accessible to everyone who needs it – is by building out the existing K-12 public education system to include early care and learning.

High quality affordable child care in schools — and in every neighbourhood in the province – would be life-changing for families.


In our last round of negotiations with BCPSEA we specifically bargained language in the Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA) that committed school districts to work collaboratively with CUPE locals to explore opportunities to better transition children from early care and learning to kindergarten. This was meant to bring child care into our schools and to create opportunity for our existing membership, particularly education assistants, to access more full-time hours.

Despite our efforts, we have seen a troubling trend emerge. Child care is being contracted out in many school districts, without any dialogue or opportunity for collaboration with CUPE locals. This is a direct violation of the PFA and we must put a stop to it. We cannot allow our work to be contracted out. We cannot remain silent while our contract is ignored.


This issue is very serious. We can turn this trend around by taking action in our individual districts. CUPE staff are prepared to support you in this effort. Please get in touch with your servicing rep who will work with your local and district on this.

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Bulletin #47 – K-12 members get the message out

Troy Tardiff
CUPE 1851 custodian

Custodian Troy Tardiff has always loved working with people. He was a cleaning supervisor in a hospital before coming to K-12. Now at Shortreed Community School in Langley, Tardiff was featured in the Langley Advance Times.

His dedication, relationship with students and concern for others shine through.

“Kids are amazing,” says Tardiff.


Patricia Richetto
CUPE 4227 education assistant

EA Patricia Richetto overcame pandemic stress and negativity by remaining positive, embracing technology, and through art. Before COVID she didn’t own a computer! But like many K-12 support staff, she learned Zoom and other programs to connect with students online.

Richetto is featured in Counterpoint, CUPE’s national quarterly newsletter.

“I’m very happy to be back and working with students,” she said.


John Johnson
CUPE 523 custodian

The Penticton Herald chose CUPE 523 custodian John Johnson to represent 2020 newsmaker of the year – frontline workers, as selected by readers.

Johnson used to work evenings in a middle school but was moved to day shift because of the pandemic.

“Moving to day shift connected me more to the staff, the building and the students in it,” said Johnson.

Our key messages

As we continue to face COVID-19 together and begin to prepare for collective bargaining next year, we will have many opportunities to reach our members, employers, K-12 partners and the public. We need to let everybody know who we are and that our work is crucial to education. It benefits our families and communities

Whether it comes from CUPE Locals, members, staff or elected officials, we need to deliver a consistent message using social media and other forms of communication.

As well as sharing our message widely with members, we will be reaching out to the public with earned media (letters to the editor and opinion columns) in major and community newspapers. Stay tuned.

CUPE continues to call for increased transparency and timeliness of COVID-19 exposure notifications.

Safe schools are clean schools. We need permanent daytime custodians. Safety plans must be followed to keep schools open.

School districts must support isolation and/or quarantine by continuing wages and benefits to members.

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Overcoming the pandemic with positivity

NORTH VANCOUVER—Before COVID-19 hit, Patricia Richetto had worked at École André-Piolat for 14 years. It was her comfort zone. The life-changing pandemic brought negativity and stress, but she not only coped, she conquered.

Prior to the pandemic Richetto didn’t even have a computer at home and was not familiar or comfortable with technology. Because her work as an education assistant switched to remote, online learning, the school sent a computer to her home. In the beginning she was frustrated. Despite a steep learning curve, Richetto learned how to use the computer with help from teachers and others in her school who were patient and supportive.

Now, working with the computer is a regular part of her life. As an EA, Richetto usually works with special needs kids and had many students with complex needs. She worked with 10 students from four classes. One of the challenges of working remotely was developing a schedule that worked for everyone. It took about a week to come up with a proper schedule. Answering parents’ emails was also an important part of her at-home work.

In the midst of all this, Richetto’s 22-year-old son, who was in Montreal for military training, contracted COVID-19. He got very ill, lost a lot of weight and went into isolation for one month. When he was finally able to come home, he was no longer contagious, but remained sick for a long time. He has since recovered and is working at a restaurant while looking for work in his field.

Despite personal challenges, Richetto worked to remain positive throughout. She went for lots of walks during the suspension of in-class learning and got to know her neighbours. She took a twelve-week course studying on the weekend and at night to earn a certificate to teach gifted children.  “I tried to find something positive,” said Richetto.

Learning the computer and how to do Zoom calls enabled her to contact a niece and nephew that she hadn’t spoken with for years. They started having Skype meetings and exchanged photos. They spent time together online. Richetto met her brother and sister, niece and nephew and their children in Montreal this summer. “It’s been wonderful to see their little kids. I’m very happy that I was able to take something so rewarding from this pandemic,” she said.

Art has been a big part of keeping positive. She worked with students on weekly journals and they put the drawings into the school newspaper. Richetto created a cartoon featuring a little girl in different situations. She put together a podcast for the kids and an interactive book for children.

Her advice to her students is to stay hopeful and live day by day. Richetto encouraged students to do a rainbow drawing to put in the window. “It’s good to continue to support each other. We help each other and move forward together.”

Being back at school is not without its own challenges, with all the new rules, schedule changes, and wearing masks. “Being in school is difficult,” said Richetto “Although it’s stressful, I’m very happy to be back and working with students.”

This translated article is also available in French on the CUPE 4227 website.

Langley custodian highlighted for his role at Shortreed Community School

LANGLEY—CUPE 1851 member Troy Tardiff, a custodian at Shortreed Community School in Langley, has always loved working with people. Tardiff was featured recently in a Langley Advance Times article highlighting the big part he plays at his school.

“Troy is a dedicated person who goes above and beyond, and I am so happy to see him recognized,” said CUPE 1851 President Sheryl Barnum. “I’m also proud of all our members who are all doing so much during this pandemic.”

Previously Tardiff worked at a hospital supervising a cleaning crew and then as a high school custodian in a large school. Coming from a small town, he was drawn to the positive environment and friendly atmosphere of the elementary school. He prefers the personal dynamics of a smaller environment and getting to know everyone.

Tardiff credits the school principal and vice-principal for the excellent job they do to include the kids at Shortreed.

“Kids are amazing. If you say hi to kids a couple times, they look up to you. You can just see it.” says Tardiff, who is pleased that he is on a first name basis with students – it’s Mr. Troy rather than Mr. Tardiff.

Tardiff understands the importance of sanitizing and disinfecting from his hospital days. Now working as a daytime custodian because of the coronavirus pandemic, he works to keep the community school “one of the cleanest in the district.”

Whether it’s dressing up as Spiderman on Hallowe’en (and keeping kids guessing by showing up a few minutes later as himself), reading to kids, connecting with them, or doing his utmost to keep their environment clean and safe, Troy Tardiff gives his all.

Tardiff says that the real hero is his wife, who is a patient care coordinator at a hospital. “She’s the real hero. She’s my hero.”

“Some of us don’t take this pandemic seriously enough,” says Tardiff. “This is not a joke, it’s people’s lives. If one person passes away, it’s too many,” pointing out that one life lost can have an impact on a lot of other people.

Bulletin #46

Welcome to 2021, K-12 CUPE members. We hope you had a much deserved restful break. As we enter the new year, we continue to serve a critical frontline role in our school systems in the face of the pandemic. We also want to recognize and applaud the important work that has continued throughout the winter break by many CUPE members to ensure continued operations and sanitization of schools and worksites.

Exciting opportunities planned for 2021 include:

  • January 19 presentation on mental health
  • Province-wide meetings for each classification
  • Bargaining preparation
  • …and more

Visit bcschools.cupe.ca frequently for updates and stay connected on Twitter,  Facebook and Instagram: @cupek12bc


A light-hearted approach to the serious subject of Mental Health

January 19: 5:30–7:00 PM (Pacific Time)

Click here to register.

You will receive a meeting link unique to you by email.

A few reminders as we enter the new year:

COVID Safety Plans

Every school and worksite is required to have a COVID Safety Plan posted and have it available for review. We ask for your support in ensuring this is the case in your schools/worksites.
Any concerns with the content or enforcement of Safety Plans should be reported to your Workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee.

These plans are meant to be dynamic and change as per health authority requirements and specifics of each worksite/school.

Safety Plans should include ventilation systems, barriers, physical distancing, masks and PPE, cohorts, cleaning/sanitizing, and others as required.

To protect against COVID-19, it is important that we take a holistic view and use all preventative measures to help ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us.

Daily Health Checks/Updated Guidance for COVID-19 Testing

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has released updated guidance on when to get tested for COVID-19 information that applies to all British Columbians, including K-12 students and staff.

The new testing guidance is reflected in updates to BCCDC‘s Guidance for K-12 Settings, and the provincial K-12 health and safety guidelines. School and district administrators are also reminded to continue active daily health checks for staff and to communicate the importance to their schools of staying home when sick.


Please watch for the Joint Health and Safety Committee survey and the Support Staff Education Committee survey. Your input is needed to inform the work of these two committees.

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