K-12 PBC and BCPSEA reach tentative agreement

BURNABY — A tentative agreement was reached between the K-12 Provincial Bargaining Council (PBC) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) late Wednesday evening on a provincial framework agreement for K-12 support staff.

I would like to thank all the members of PBC for their hard work and perseverance,” said K-12 Presidents Council President Warren Williams. “Their professionalism, willingness to work together, and dedication to members in K-12 led to reaching this tentative agreement.”

Details on the tentative agreement will not be made public until the K-12 Presidents Council has the opportunity to meet and review them. If recommended and passed by the K-12 Presidents Council, the tentative agreement will form part of local bargaining proposals when locals begin bargaining with their respective districts.

CUPE represents more than 27,000 education workers including: Education Assistants, School Secretaries, Caretakers, First Nations Support Workers, IT Workers, Strong Start Facilitators, Trades and Maintenances Workers, and Bus Drivers.

CUPE, school and community: growing together

When Princeton teacher, Shirley Low, developed a project for her Grade 3 social studies class on mapping ten years ago, no one had any idea what it would grow into. The class embraced the project to create a plan for a community garden and then wanted to actually build it.

Gardening angels like CUPE member Marie Anne Roche, school secretary at John Allison Elementary, also helps out by doing financial accounting for the garden.

“We couldn’t do this without the help of CUPE members,” said recently-retired teacher, Shirley Low, who is still active in the garden. “They’re half the hands in the garden.”

Right from the beginning, CUPE members were involved and active in making the project a success, volunteering their time and making donations. CUPE member and school secretary, Marie Ann Roche, does the garden’s financial books. Education assistant, Leslie Kemp, collects organic waste from classrooms and takes interested students out to the garden during her lunch break. They add the collected organics to the garden compost and spend time watering and weeding. CUPE 847 President, Lynda Hodgson, head custodian at the school, donates compost from her ranch.

CUPE maintenance worker, Mark Howarth, is also integral to the garden. He takes care of the irrigation and blows out the lines in the fall so they don’t freeze, clears the snow from the garden entrance to keep it accessible in the winter, and helps clean up and maintain things throughout the year.

“Without the community and all the help from volunteers who work at our school, this wouldn’t have come together,” said Low.

Members of the community were part of the garden from the early planning stage. The community, CUPE members, and parents got involved to help the kids raise money, donate goods and services, and then build the garden.

Healthy Living

“We’re really interested in healthy living. With the garden, we teach children how to plant, grow, and eat healthy,” said Low. “It’s all part of healthy living.”

Focusing on healthy living developed into “Kitchen Kids”, a program for students to learn how to cook the food they harvest. Low has produced and sold four cookbooks to help fund the garden.

The John Allison Community/School Garden, situated beside the K-3 school in Princeton, has flourished to include individual plots for each class and Strong Start, plus an outdoor classroom area where Mason bees thrive and children learn about the bees’ role in food production.

Garden Angels

The school recruits “gardening angels” from the community, including CUPE members, who come in during the summer and take care of one of the plots – pulling weeds and watering, as well as harvesting what’s ready. Each gardening angel takes one class during the school year and teaches students how to garden, from preparing the soil and planting, right up to the harvest.

As part of the school’s gardening club activities, kids come in and Low or one of the gardening angels tours them around the garden, where they taste all the food. Low notes that kindergarteners really like the chives and strawberries.

Each fall the school hosts a Harvest Celebration. Garden produce is harvested and Kitchen Kids cook up a big batch of butternut squash soup for the school and the community to enjoy.

CUPE 847 President Lynda Hodgson commenting on the garden’s impact on children like her grandson, who attended John Allison Elementary, said, “It’s amazing how aware of food the children become. It’s exciting to them that they grew the food, cooked it, and then got to eat it.”

View the photo gallery here.


K-12 hits the big screen in B.C.

BURNABY — K-12 education support workers will be featured on movie theatre screens in Cineplex theatres throughout B.C. starting on Friday, June 29, thanks to an animated spot promoting the important services they provide.

The 30-second animation features “Rachel” and some of the CUPE members she comes into contact with throughout her day at school. Featured CUPE workers include an education assistant, custodian, clerical worker, trades person and bus driver, who along with other education support workers, make great schools possible.

“It’s been tough for our members who have faced cuts over sixteen years of BC Liberal government,” said K-12 Presidents Council President Warren Williams. “This campaign will help build public understanding of the services our members provide and their importance to students in public education.”

The K-12 Presidents’ Council represents 57 CUPE locals in school districts across British Columbia. CUPE represents more than 27,000 education workers including: Education Assistants, School Secretaries, Caretakers, First Nations Support Workers, IT Workers, Strong Start Facilitators, Trades and Maintenances Workers and Bus Drivers.

K-12 Cineplex Schedule June 29 to July 5

June 30 deadline! Last week to nominate your favourite education support worker

The deadline for nominations for the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education is Friday, June 30. This is the first time ever a category for support staff in public schools has been added to the awards.

The “Outstanding Support” category is open to support staff currently working in the K–12 public school system (i.e. bus drivers, crossing guards, student supervisors, educational assistants, aboriginal support workers, custodians, maintenance, and clerical).

The Premier’s Award is an opportunity for government to recognize “the enormous contribution of education professionals who go above and beyond to make life better for students in B.C.”

Get more information and nominate your favourite CUPE K-12 member in the category of Outstanding Support on the BC Government web site.

K-12 Presidents Council meets on June 21 to discuss framework agreement

RICHMOND — The K-12 Provincial Bargaining Committee (PBC) presented the provincial framework agreement for recommendation to the CUPE K-12 Presidents Council.

The Council did not endorse the provincial framework agreement.

“The K-12 Provincial Bargaining Committee will be meeting in the near future to discuss next steps,” says K-12 Presidents Council President Warren Williams.

The tentative agreement was reached between the CUPE K-12 Provincial Bargaining Committee (PBC) and British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) on June 14, 2018. The current contract remains in effect until June 30, 2019.

For more information about K-12, visit the website at:  bcschools.cupe.ca

K-12 PBC Bulletin 6