Bulletin – Presidents Council endorses Provincial Framework Agreement

The K-12 Presidents are endorsing the new Provincial Framework Agreement reached last week. The British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) also endorses the agreement. Both recommend the agreement be part of local collective agreements.

The Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA) has a 3-year term in effect from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2025. It includes general wage increases in each year.

  • July 1, 2022: $0.25 per hour wage increase plus an additional 3.24%
  • July 1, 2023: 5.5% increase, and up to 1.25% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). For clarity, the general wage increase will be at minimum 5.5%, to a maximum of 6.75%
  • July 1, 2024: 2% increase, and up to a 1% COLA. For clarity, the general wage increase will be at minimum 2%, to a maximum of 3%

COLA is according to the BC consumer price index annual average.

The PFA also includes provincial government funding for local bargaining to address local issues. It’s based on full-time enrolled students in districts, with a minimum amount.

  • 2022/2023: $11.5 million allocated to school districts, with a $40,000 minimum
  • 2023/2024: $13.8 million allocated, with a $50,000 minimum
  • 2024/2025: $17.8 million allocated, with a $60,000 minimum

In local bargaining, K-12 locals and school districts will negotiate how to use these funds. The only thing they can’t go towards are general wage increase.

Other highlights of the framework agreement include:

Education
$50,000 per year in 2022 and 2023 for support staff education, with an another $1 million per year beginning in 2024. The joint Support Staff Education Committee (SSEC) will decide on allocating this money.

Workplace violence prevention
A new Provincial Joint Health and Safety Taskforce. Its mandate includes supporting measures to address workplace violence prevention.

Benefits
$3 million in annual funding for potential benefit enhancements. Also, $1 million in one-time funding for addictions treatment support programs.

_________

In addition to the PFA, the Ministry of Education will be increasing the Learning Improvement Fund to $25 million for the 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 school years. This will allow for more Education Assistant hours across the province.

_________

The K-12 Presidents Council recommends the framework agreement for local bargaining proposals. PFA provisions come into effect when part of a ratified local collective agreement, with general wage increases retroactive to July 1, 2022. It is local collective agreements that members of K-12 locals approve and ratify.

Local bargaining needs to complete and ratified by January 25, 2023.

Please direct questions on the PFA and local bargaining to your local executive.

CLICK here for the complete Provincial Framework Agreement.

View PDF here.

School support workers reach tentative deal with BC public schools

Burnaby – A tentative provincial framework agreement has been reached between the unions representing B.C.’s 40,000 school support workers and the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA).

“Our bargaining committees worked hard to reach this tentative agreement,” says Paul Simpson, president of the K-12 Presidents Council. “Working together, we were able to reach an agreement that recognizes the vital role our members have in providing this province’s students the highest quality of education in healthy schools.”

Further details on the tentative agreement will not be made public until presented to K‑12 school support members. Once endorsed by the K‑12 Presidents Council, the 3-year provincial framework agreement (PFA) will form the provincial agreement portion of proposals that will go forward in local bargaining between local unions and their respective school districts.

The K-12 Presidents Council represents locals in school districts across British Columbia. These locals represent approximately 40,000 school support workers including: education assistants, school secretaries, custodians/caretakers, Indigenous support workers, child/youth/family support workers, IT workers, library technicians, Strong Start facilitators & early childhood educators, trades & maintenance workers, and bus drivers.

Bulletin – Standing in Solidarity with BCGEU

Late last week, the BC Government and General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) issued strike notice on behalf of their members who work in the provincial public service.

Yesterday, they began picketing at four liquor distribution centers: one in Victoria, one in Kamloops and two in the Lower Mainland. They are striking for better wages and cost of living protections, both critically important given increasing costs we are all experiencing.

Our own provincial bargaining, as the K-12 Provincial Bargaining Committee, is still set to resume September 13-15. We expect at that time to resume negotiations to achieve a new provincial framework that improves the wages and benefits of school support workers and allows us to provide the best possible services to students in British Columbia.

We encourage locals and members to show their support for striking BCGEU members. You can do this by sending messages of support or joining a picket line.

Currently the BCGEU is taking job action at these sites:

Delta Distribution Centre (DDC) – 7003 72nd Street, Delta, B.C.
Kamloops Distribution Centre (KDC) – 9881 Dallas Drive, Kamloops, B.C.
Richmond Distribution Centre (RDC) – 3389 No 6 Rd, Richmond, B.C.
Victoria Wholesale Customer Centre – 2291 Government Street, Victoria, B.C.

If the BCGEU escalates job action to additional job sites, CUPE will be informed and pass that information on to members.

Updates on BCGEU bargaining can be found at https://www.bargainingbc.ca/

View PDF here.

Bulletin – Thank you to all school support workers

With summer upon us, the K-12 Presidents Council would like to thank all school support workers for their exemplary service through another challenging school year. As the pandemic continues, your dedication and professionalism are to be commended.

Thanks to your work, students and families have been able to depend on clean and healthy schools being open and providing high quality public educations throughout this school year.

Bargaining update

We of course also thank you for your solidarity and support as we’ve been bargaining with the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association towards a renewed provincial framework agreement.  We thank everyone who helped guide our bargaining priorities by taking part in our provincial bargaining survey, and for all the work being done at the local level to mobilize our members towards fair collective agreements. We also thank our provincial bargaining committee, and all of the local bargaining committees too, for their hard work and dedication.

We remain committed to continuing our bargaining with the BCPSEA.  We recently scheduled dates for a return to provincial bargaining – September 13-15, 2022.

We remain hopeful a provincial framework agreement centred on a fair wage settlement can be reached that reflects the value and importance of our work to students, families, and communities.

In the meantime, K-12 locals are encouraged to continue preparing for local bargaining and building member mobilization efforts in support of our bargaining committees. CUPE continues to work closely with our union allies to achieve fair contracts for all public sector workers, who have been on the frontlines serving our province every day throughout the pandemic.

New video highlighting our work

The K-12 Presidents Council is also pleased to be releasing a new video highlighting the work our members do in school districts across the province. Produced with support from the national union, this 2-minute animated video shows the many crucial jobs our members do, and how important they are to providing quality public educations for students in B.C.

You can watch this new video on our website bcschool.cupe.ca, and on our social media channels – @CUPEK12BC. Please share this video in your communities.

Radio ads

During June, the K-12 Presidents Council has been running radio ads throughout B.C., shining a light on the invaluable work our members do in communities across the province. The radio ad, being carried in every community with a local represented in the K-12 Presidents Council, highlights the crucial role school support workers play for students and families, and the challenges facing our members.

You can hear the ad on your local radio stations, and it is posted on our Facebook page – facebook.com/CUPEK12BC. Please share with your family, friends, and neighbours.

View PDF.

 

Bulletin – Bargaining Update: far apart on money issues, more work to be done

The K-12 provincial bargaining committee met last week with their counterparts from the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association. This third session focused primarily on monetary issues, including wages and term for a new provincial framework agreement.

After years of chronic underfunding by past provincial governments, inflation driving up our province’s already high cost of living, and the toll of a 2-year long pandemic, school support workers are falling farther behind. From the opening of these talks, the K-12 bargaining committee has been clear that the top priority for school support workers is the need for wage increases that recognize the vital role they play in our public schools and our communities.

In last month’s throne speech, the provincial government committed to tying increases to provincial minimum wages to inflation rates, a policy it says will “make everyday life more affordable” for workers.

The K-12 bargaining committee is firm that the starting point to fairness for school support workers are wage increases that reflect the rising cost-of-living in line with current inflation rates. But the BCPSEA’s first wage offer falls far short of addressing the financial pressures being carried by school support workers and their families and does not live up to the province’s commitment to “leave no worker behind.”

Our members are highly trained, qualified, and dedicated to public service. They are ready to take on new opportunities – such as expanding our school systems to be places for early learning that can be for childcare, before and after school. They are ready to face new challenges – as they did throughout the pandemic keeping our schools clean and healthy, and keeping them running for all students.

But to keep serving B.C. communities, K-12 support staff need to be properly resourced, treated with respect, and paid fairly.  The province and BCPSEA must live up to their commitment and recognize the crucial role school support workers have in a high-quality public education system that better serves and cares for students, offers more support for families, and benefits everyone in our communities.

The parties are committed to meet again in the future to continue bargaining.

Over the past 2 years, our members have been told time and time again that their work is critical to keeping students learning, families supported, schools clean and healthy, and communities thriving. We remain hopeful a wage settlement can be reached that reflects the value and importance of our work and does not leave our members behind.

View PDF.