KELOWNA — CUPE 3523, K-12 support workers at School District 23 (Central Okanagan), reached a tentative agreement after 20 bargaining sessions that began in May. The tentative agreement was finally reached on November 26 following two days of mediation.
CUPE 3523 President David Tether said that this round of bargaining was a tough slog and a tentative agreement was reached despite the lack of preparation, wasted time, and multiple concessions brought forward by the employer. Contrasting the difficulties over six months of bargaining, Tether praised the Local’s bargaining committee.
“Our bargaining committee was amazing, they worked exceedingly hard,” said Tether. “Despite the employer, we got a reasonable agreement we think our members will be happy with. At the end of the day, we didn’t give up one thing. I am, however, disappointed that our relationship with the employer has been compromised, an unnecessary casualty of this round.”
The tentative agreement also incorporates the provincial framework agreement recommended 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. CUPE 3523 is holding a ratification meeting on November 30. With this settlement, all 57 CUPE K-12 locals have completed bargaining.
CUPE 3523 represents K-12 support workers in 31 elementary schools, 7 middle school, 5 secondary schools and one alternative school in the municipalities of Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lake Country and the Regional District of Central Okanagan. CUPE 3523 members, who provide a wide variety of services that support students, include Education Assistants, Grounds Workers, Indigenous Support Workers, Bus Drivers, Custodians, Trades, Clerical, Maintenance, Information Technology, Administrative Support, Supervision Assistants, and Strong Start.