MAPLE RIDGE— After arduous bargaining sessions and mediation, CUPE 703, K-12 support workers at School District 42 in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows reached a tentative agreement on September 6. Members ratified the collective agreement the next day with a large majority of members in favour.
The local began bargaining on December 3, 2018 and after 17 bargaining dates reached an impasse on July 5. They had three days of mediation in August and went back to the table where they were finally able to reach an agreement with the help of the mediator.
CUPE 703 President Leslie Franklin said that the employer had a lot of concessions on the table. “It was extremely difficult, a brutal round of bargaining,” said Franklin. “We did not bargain any concessions, not one.”
Franklin credits the local’s relationship with the district Superintendent and having conversations explaining the bargaining committee’s position with leading to the settlement. “There is something to be said for good relationships,” said Franklin. “We got something for all our classifications and the employer got some of the things they wanted. At the end it was a win-win.”
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 this month.
CUPE 703 members, who provide a wide variety of services that support students, include instructional support staff (i.e. Education Assistants, Aboriginal Support Workers), Custodians, Trades, Maintenance, Grounds, Clerical, IT, Administrative Support, Lunch hour supervisors and Child and Youth Care Workers. They support students in 23 elementary schools and 6 secondary schools in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows.