K-12 support staff bargaining wraps up province-wide

VANCOUVER—The K-12 Presidents Council announced today that all locals have now reached agreements with their respective districts and that K-12 province-wide bargaining has been completed for support staff.

K-12 Presidents Council President Warren Williams thanked everyone involved in bargaining at both union and employer tables.

“Thanks to all the bargaining committees for their hard work and dedication, union business agents, and to our national staff – including specialists – for their ongoing support,” said Williams. “I’d also like to thank CUPE National and the CUPE BC Division.”

Williams said that dates have been set for the new committees created through the Provincial Framework Agreement. “We’re looking forward to working together to make improvements for support staff and students.”

The new committees are Support Staff Education, Provincial Labour Management, and Safety in the Workplace. The Job Evaluation Committee, created in the previous provincial agreement, has begun the second phase of its work.

The K-12 Presidents Council is comprised of representatives from 62 locals in school districts across British Columbia, including 57 CUPE locals. Members of the Council represent more than 29,000 education workers who provide a wide variety of services that support students. These include Education Assistants, School Secretaries, Youth and Family Workers, Caretakers, First Nations Support Workers, IT Workers, Career Information Assistants, Strong Start Facilitators, Trades and Maintenance Workers, and Bus Drivers.

K-12 support workers in Central Okanagan reach tentative agreement

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.

CUPE 748 reaches tentative agreement with Kootenay Lake School District

NELSON – CUPE K-12 Local 748 reached a tentative agreement with School District 8 (Kootenay Lake) following two days of mediation on November 23.

CUPE 748 President Michelle Bennett characterized bargaining as challenging, noting that in her experience it was one of the hardest rounds ever.

“We could not have gotten to a collective agreement without our bargaining team,” said Bennett. “They were amazing.”

Bennett said that the local was able to deal with existing language on overtime for Education Assistants and Bus Drivers. Further details of the tentative agreement will not be available until after ratification by all parties. Ratification is expected to be completed by November 30.

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. CUPE represents 57 K-12 locals and 56 have reached agreements, with one local still at the table.

CUPE 748 represents more than 400 K-12 support workers. They provide a wide variety of services that include Education Assistants, Youth Care Workers, Indigenous Support Workers, Custodians, Trades, Clerical, Maintenance, IT, Administrative Support, and Bus Drivers. Members support students in the communities of Crawford Bay, Creston, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Nelson, Salmo, Slocan, Winlaw, and Wynndel.

Sooke K-12 support workers ratify collective agreement

SOOKE — CUPE 459, K-12 support workers in Sooke School District 62, ratified a collective agreement with the District on November 22.

CUPE 459 President Amber Leonard said that the bargaining committee was pleased with the improvements they negotiated with the employer within the mandate.

“We’ve been able to come back to the table because of good working relationships,” said Leonard. “I am so proud of the outstanding service our members provide to students in Sooke and the relationships we have built over many years.”

The collective agreement 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. CUPE represents 57 K-12 locals and 55 have reached agreements, with two locals remaining.

CUPE 459 members, who provide a wide variety of services that support students, include Education Assistants, Clerical staff, IT, Indigenous Support workers, Bus Drivers, Custodians, Trades, Grounds, Youth and Family Counsellors and Crossing Guards. They provide K-12 support service to more than 10,000 students in Sooke, Port Renfrew, the Highlands, Metchosin, Colwood and Langford.

CUPE 441 members ratify agreement, ending strike

SAANICH — CUPE Local 441 members voted to accept the tentative agreement at a ratification meeting on Sunday afternoon. CUPE members will be back in classrooms as schools reopen Monday morning.

The agreement includes general wage increases of two per cent in each year of the three-year contract as per the Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA).

The union and employer were able to bring CUPE 441 members to, or significantly closer to, wage parity within the region.

The Local and District will establish a recruitment and retention working group that will meet on a regular basis.

CUPE 441 President Dean Coates thanked the bargaining committee for their hard work and the community for their strong support.

“We could not have reached this agreement without the backing of this community,” said Coates. “We commit to working with the School District to build a relationship of respect moving forward.”

Coates said that members are excited to get back into classrooms and work with the students they support.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services in Saanich schools.  Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63.

View photos of the strike here.

CUPE 441 and School District 63 reach tentative agreement

SAANICH — CUPE Local 441 and School District 63 have reached a tentative agreement. Members will be holding a ratification meeting on Sunday to vote on the agreement signed by both parties Saturday morning. In a show of good faith, picket lines will come down and schools will be open on Monday.

“This strike has been difficult and we are pleased to have an agreement that the bargaining committee is recommending to our membership for acceptance,” said CUPE 441 President Dean Coates. “I’d like to thank our members, parents, teachers and the community for their support throughout, and the District for their commitment to Saanich schools and students.”

CUPE 441 will not be commenting on any details of the tentative agreement until after the ratification vote is completed.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).

CUPE 441 took job action on October 28 and have been on strike for three weeks.

CUPE 441 calls on District to get back to the table

SAANICH – CUPE 441 is calling on the District to return to the bargaining table.

“I am disappointed that we did not hear back from the District after our offer to get back to the table on Thursday,” said CUPE 441 President Dean Coates. “Our bargaining team was available, ready, and able to bargain all weekend, but the District did not respond.”

The CUPE 441 bargaining committee has developed a document highlighting their concerns with the employer’s offer that is available online at 441.cupe.ca.

“Our members want to get back to classes to support our students,” said Coates. “The whole community understands the importance of wage parity and we need the employer to find a way to make this work. We need to end this strike and get students back in class.”

CUPE 441 members have been on strike since October 28. The outstanding issue remains as wage parity. Picket lines will remain up at all schools.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).

Parents rally in support of striking CUPE members

SAANICH — CUPE Local 441 members are being joined on the picket line this morning by parents and their children. The community group “Families Rally to Support CUPE 441” have organized the event on Facebook. They will be holding a rally and walking the picket lines with CUPE members this morning from 9 to 11 am at Brentwood Bay School and at Sidney Elementary this afternoon from 12:15 to 2:45 pm.

The group has hosted a petition on change.org that has garnered almost 1,300 signatures.

“Parents are standing with us because they want their children to get the education they deserve,” said Coates. “Until we address wage parity, our district will continue to lose people and be a training ground for EAs who then move to neighbouring districts, leaving Saanich understaffed.”

Coates has asked the employer to return to the table and address low wages for all members in the local.

Members of CUPE 441 reviewed highlights of the agreement at a membership meeting on Wednesday and gave clear direction to the bargaining committee that they wanted to continue job action until full wage parity is achieved.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).

CUPE 441 took job action on October 28 over the issue of wage disparity. Today marks the tenth day of their strike.

CUPE 411 K-12 support workers in SD33 reach tentative agreement through mediation

CHILLIWACK — CUPE 411, K-12 support workers, reached a tentative agreement with School District 33 on November 6. The parties had 18 bargaining sessions as well as two sessions with Mediator Grant McArthur since bargaining began in April.

“We are pleased that mediation helped us reach an agreement, so we are able to meet the Provincial Framework Agreement deadline,” said First Vice President Tracey O’Hara.

O’Hara noted that bargaining was challenging and frustrating at times and the committee worked hard on behalf of CUPE 411 members to get the best deal possible for their members.

“Restrictions and limitations in this bargaining process created a significant barrier in our bargaining team’s ability to make any substantial gains for our members. We would not have gotten there without mediation,” said O’Hara.

The Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA) approved by the K-12 Presidents Council in September forms part of the tentative agreement. The current K-12 agreement expired on June 30, 2019. When ratified by CUPE locals and school districts, the provincial agreement will be in effect from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022. This agreement brings the number of CUPE locals who have reached agreements to 55, with two locals remaining.

Further details of the tentative agreement will not be available until after ratification by all parties. Ratification will be completed by the end of November.

CUPE Local 411 members provide a wide variety of services that support students, in five divisions that include Transportation, Clerical, Custodial, Maintenance, and a wide variety of positions that fall into the Assistance division.

The local represents more than 850 K-12 support workers in School District 33.

Talks break off between CUPE 441 and School District 63

SAANICH – Bargaining broke off late last night after three days of the latest round of negotiations between CUPE 441 and School District 63.

“I am disappointed that we did not reach an agreement that the bargaining committee felt they could recommend to members,” said CUPE 441 President Dean Coates. “Our efforts to be creative and move toward the employer’s position were not reciprocated and the employer would not add any additional funding.”

The local will not be discussing details of the agreement until they have provided information about the package to their members and gotten their direction at a closed CUPE 441 meeting today.

CUPE 441 members have been on strike since October 28. The outstanding issue remains as wage parity. Picket lines will remain up at all schools.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).