K-12 Presidents’ Council accomplishes much

The K-12 Presidents’ Council met last week in Richmond. CUPE BC President Paul Faoro spoke about the current political landscape in B.C. with the swearing in of Premier John Horgan and an NDP minority government. He encouraged presidents to read the 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC Green Caucus and the BC New Democrat Caucus, a comprehensive document that talks about government goals and gives a roadmap for the next 4 years.

He talked about the meetings he has had to date with Minister of Education Rob Fleming; Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver; and Minister of Labour Harry Bains.

Faoro called for adequate and stable, predictable funding to be allocated in K-12 so that school districts can meet their obligations to deliver accessible, quality education – with adequate funding to include full-time hours for support staff. Legislative Coordinator Justin Schmid reported on the September budget update.

The Council discussed the National Executive Board policy on collective bargaining. The Treasurer’s Report was approved and provincial committee reports were given from the Job Evaluation Committee, Public Education Benefits Trust (PEBT), the Education Assistants Committee, and the Support Staff Education Adjustment Committee (SSEAC).

Participants were updated with regional reports from the North, Kootenays, Thompson-Okanagan, Fraser Valley, North Island and Metro. Researcher Liz Blackwood gave an update on the custodial survey preliminary results. The final tabulations are being compiled and a report will be drafted prior to the Division Convention in 2018.

New K-12 co-coordinators, Tracey Mathieson and Michael Reed, introduced themselves to the council and thanked outgoing sector coordinator Kevin Rose for his work.

The K-12 Presidents’ Council discussed upcoming bargaining and issues affecting members.

“We look forward to negotiating in 2019 with representatives from a government that truly cares about British Columbia’s public education system,” said Chair Marcel Marsolais. “Education workers have not experienced any significant wage increases since 2000 and we are concerned about the impact of 16 years of support staff cuts on the health and safety of our members, and on the quality of public education for our students.”

The K-12 Presidents’ Council passed a motion to send four representatives to the BCTF Workplace Violence Summit as observers as well as a motion to send council chair Marcel Marsolais to the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. The council unanimously passed a motion to spend up to $20,000 to strike a task force to look into violence in the workplace, develop contract language, and produce tools to help reduce violence.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.