K-12 Presidents Council holds three-day meeting

BURNABY – The K-12 Presidents Council met May 1 – 3 in Burnaby. CUPE BC President Paul Faoro and Secretary Treasurer Trevor Davies attended. Faoro brought greetings from CUPE BC and announced that the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education will, for the first time, have a category for “Outstanding Support.”

This category is open to support staff currently working in B.C.’s 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.”

Nominate your favourite CUPE K-12 member in the category of Outstanding Support on the BC Government web site at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/teach/excellence-in-education#process

Nominations opened on April 23 and close on June 18. You can download a poster here.

Regular business of the council convened. K-12 Presidents received reports including the Secretary Treasurer’s Financial Report, Admin Committee, Support Staff Education and Adjustment Committee (SSEAC), Skills Enhancement, Job Evaluation and Public Employee Benefits Trust (PEBT). The Violence in the Workplace committee continues their work.

Regional reports updated members on what is happening in the regions and where regions were at in preparation for bargaining. Following a presentation on details of a cost share to raise the profile of education support workers, additional funds were approved.

CUPE Researcher Liz Blackwood reviewed preliminary bargaining survey results. K-12 Coordinators Tracey Mathieson and Rob Hewitt facilitated a discussion on proposals. K-12 Presidents Council members approved final proposals.

The group approved their draft bylaws which will now be forwarded to National for approval.

Under the current bylaws and in following the National Constitution, the Council elected their New Executive Officers: President – Warren Williams (CUPE 15); Vice President – Nicole Edmondson (CUPE 3500), Recording Secretary – Karen Wong (CUPE 3742), Secretary-Treasurer Leslie Franklin (CUPE 703), and Membership Officer – Dean Coates (CUPE 441). The membership officer will act as Sergeant at Arms, a new table officer position approved by members of the Council.

“The Council meetings were focused on bargaining – reviewing our members’ surveys, putting together our provincial proposals and our strategic planning session,” said incoming President Warren Williams. “I’d like to thank to former Chair Marcel Marsolais, Vice Chair Rod Isaac and Recording Secretary Maureen Hummel for their hard work and dedication to this Council.

“I also want to congratulate Nicole Edmondson, Leslie Franklin, Karen Wong and Dean Coates – I look forward to working together with them for the benefit of K-12 members.”

On the last day, presidents participated in a workshop on Strategic Planning.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.

K-12 Presidents’ Council accomplishes much

The K-12 Presidents’ Council met last week in Richmond. CUPE BC President Paul Faoro spoke about the current political landscape in B.C. with the swearing in of Premier John Horgan and an NDP minority government. He encouraged presidents to read the 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC Green Caucus and the BC New Democrat Caucus, a comprehensive document that talks about government goals and gives a roadmap for the next 4 years.

He talked about the meetings he has had to date with Minister of Education Rob Fleming; Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver; and Minister of Labour Harry Bains.

Faoro called for adequate and stable, predictable funding to be allocated in K-12 so that school districts can meet their obligations to deliver accessible, quality education – with adequate funding to include full-time hours for support staff. Legislative Coordinator Justin Schmid reported on the September budget update.

The Council discussed the National Executive Board policy on collective bargaining. The Treasurer’s Report was approved and provincial committee reports were given from the Job Evaluation Committee, Public Education Benefits Trust (PEBT), the Education Assistants Committee, and the Support Staff Education Adjustment Committee (SSEAC).

Participants were updated with regional reports from the North, Kootenays, Thompson-Okanagan, Fraser Valley, North Island and Metro. Researcher Liz Blackwood gave an update on the custodial survey preliminary results. The final tabulations are being compiled and a report will be drafted prior to the Division Convention in 2018.

New K-12 co-coordinators, Tracey Mathieson and Michael Reed, introduced themselves to the council and thanked outgoing sector coordinator Kevin Rose for his work.

The K-12 Presidents’ Council discussed upcoming bargaining and issues affecting members.

“We look forward to negotiating in 2019 with representatives from a government that truly cares about British Columbia’s public education system,” said Chair Marcel Marsolais. “Education workers have not experienced any significant wage increases since 2000 and we are concerned about the impact of 16 years of support staff cuts on the health and safety of our members, and on the quality of public education for our students.”

The K-12 Presidents’ Council passed a motion to send four representatives to the BCTF Workplace Violence Summit as observers as well as a motion to send council chair Marcel Marsolais to the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. The council unanimously passed a motion to spend up to $20,000 to strike a task force to look into violence in the workplace, develop contract language, and produce tools to help reduce violence.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.

K-12 Presidents’ Council meets

The K-12 Presidents’ Council met recently, and among other agenda items, approved the Trustees’ report for 2015/16 and elected members to fill vacant executive positions.

Rod Isaac (CUPE 411, Chilliwack) was elected vice chair and Leslie Franklin (CUPE 703, Maple Ridge) treasurer. Ann Purvis (CUPE 440, Kimberley, Invermere and Golden) was acclaimed for a three-year term as trustee. Elected to serve on the bylaws committee were Daphne Ross (CUPE 476, Powell River) and Karen Wong (CUPE 3742, Prince George).

CUPE BC President Paul Faoro talked about the importance of the Provincial election. Leading up to the election on May 9, CUPE BC is hosting a telephone town hall with its 85,000 members and John Horgan. Faoro recalled being in Victoria recently, doing analysis of the 2017 BC Liberal budget, and seeing that funding for private schools was getting a larger percentage increase than the public K-12 system. “That will seal the deal” for many against the BC Liberals, he said.

When the NDP platform is released, added Faoro, members will clearly see who shares their values. “At the end of the day, I know that when members look at Platform A and Platform B they will choose the platform of the BC NDP as the one they want to mark an ‘X’ for.”

Faoro itemized some of the commitments the NDP had already made including $10/day child care, eliminating MSP premiums, reinstating the BC Human Rights Commission, building a new patient care facility in Kamloops, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. “If we stand together we are a strong force,” said Faoro. “It’s not going to solve all our problems on May 9 but things will improve a lot with a government that we can actually talk to, that shares the same vision as we have on public services, and communities, and looking after people.”

CUPE Regional Director Robin Jones talked about the custodial survey distributed at the meeting. “The timing is right, it’s a righteous issue and it will increase our visibility,” said Jones, noting that the survey is an important tool to identify the issues that custodians face in their work. It is anonymous, and CUPE is encouraging all custodians to participate. Many presidents took hard copies of the surveys back with them.

Motions were presented and fully discussed. The Council also heard about the upcoming BC Division convention from Secretary-Treasurer Trevor Davies. Various reports were given, including an update on the Standardized Benefit Plan (Rob Hewitt); Coordinator’s Report (Kevin Rose), and Job Evaluation Committee report (Peter Coombes). Regional reports were moved to the next meeting due to time constraints.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.

K-12 provincial job evaluation program takes next step

The Provincial Joint Job Evaluation Committee has signed off on job evaluation terms of reference, taking the next step towards implementing the job evaluation program negotiated under the Provincial Framework Agreement.

One goal of the provincial committee is to streamline the job evaluation process and make it more consistent across the board. With about 50 per cent of school districts reporting, there are already 2,000 different job descriptions, which reflect the diversity of services provided by K-12 support staff (and highlight the need for job evaluation).

With the new system, the Committee and Job Evaluation Representative Peter Coombes hope to have only a few hundred provincial job descriptions.

The Provincial Joint Job Evaluation Committee plans to roll out a pilot job evaluation in each of B.C.’s seven K-12 regions by 2019.