K-12 support workers in Okanagan-Skaha reach tentative agreement

PENTICTON — CUPE 523, K-12 support workers at School District 67 in Okanagan-Skaha reached a tentative agreement on Sept. 23, following five bargaining sessions that began June 20.

CUPE Local 523 Acting President Tammie Koroluk said that this round of bargaining was a new experience for the bargaining committee, who is bargaining separately with the three districts represented by CUPE 523 for the first time (SD 53, SD 67, and SD 83).

“We have a very dedicated bargaining committee who have spent parts of the summer and September bargaining three agreements,” said Koroluk. “Our team is thoughtful, resourceful and completely dedicated in making gains for our members. We negotiated language that will benefit our School District 67 members and we worked collaboratively with the employer in a respectful manner. We hope to build on this relationship as we go forward.”

The tentative agreement also incorporates the provincial framework agreement approved by the K-12 Presidents Council in September. The current K-12 agreement expired on June 30, 2019. When ratified by CUPE locals and school district Boards of Trustees, the collective agreement will be in effect from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022.

Further details of the tentative agreement will not be available until after ratification by all parties. Ratification is expected to be completed on Oct. 1.

CUPE 523 members, who provide a wide variety of services that support students, include Education Assistants, Library Assistants, Grounds workers, Trades, Indigenous Support Workers, Bus Drivers, Custodians, Clerical, Maintenance, IT, Administrative Support, Strong Start and Supervision Assistants. They provide K-12 support services to students in and around Penticton and Summerland.

CUPE 523 is the only K-12 composite local in the province, representing K-12 workers in Okanagan-Similkameen (SD 53), Okanagan-Shuswap (SD 83) and Okanagan-Skaha (SD 67). In the past all three school districts bargained together but this year they are bargaining separately.