Haida Gwaii K-12 support workers and Strong Start Facilitators reach tentative agreement

Village of Queen Charlotte — CUPE Local 2020, K-12 support workers on Haida Gwaii, reached a tentative agreement with SD50 on Thursday, June 13th. The Local began bargaining on April 22 and reached the agreement after four bargaining sessions.

“Bargaining was good with lots of discussion, and we came to a good place for all parties,” said CUPE Local 2020 President Ken Evans. “I think our members will be happy with the agreement.”

Evans said that although the employer brought some concessions to the table, the Local was able to withhold them. One of the challenges was finding common ground on how to utilize funds for local bargaining negotiated through the provincial framework agreement.

“I’d like to thank the bargaining committee and our National Representative for coming together to work through this as a team,” said Evans.

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 expires 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.

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

CUPE Local 2020 represents approximately 60 members working as Strong Start Facilitators and K-12 support workers including education assistants, bus drivers, dispatchers, clerical, maintenance, custodians, library clerks and first nations resource workers in elementary and secondary schools located in Skidegate, Masset, Port Clements, Sandspit and Village of Queen Charlotte.

To find out more about CUPE members working in K-12, visit bcschools.cupe.ca.

CUPE 407 K-12 maintenance and grounds workers reach tentative agreement with Vancouver School Board

VANCOUVER — CUPE 407, K-12 inside and outside workers at the Vancouver School Board, reached a tentative agreement last Friday after 6 bargaining sessions that began in May.

CUPE 407 President Brent Boyd noted that although the local made some gains, they are already looking ahead three years to the next round of bargaining to continue to build on those small gains.

“We have complete confidence that the government will find ways to put money back into B.C.’s education system,” said Boyd. “Fully funded apprenticeships and other initiatives could help restore cuts and improve the services that we provide to improve student safety.”

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 expires 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.

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

CUPE 407 represents 101 permanent K-12 workers plus seasonal casual workers who provide maintenance and grounds services in Vancouver, including mechanics, heavy equipment operators, labourers, skilled trades and grounds workers.

CUPE 409 K-12 workers reach tentative agreement in New Westminster

NEW WESTMINSTER — CUPE 409, K-12 support workers in New Westminster, reached a tentative agreement with SD40 Board of Education on Wednesday evening. The local began bargaining in January and reached the agreement after ten bargaining sessions.

“This agreement is superior to any of the other settlements we were able to achieve since 2000,” said CUPE 409 President Marcel Marsolais. “Our bargaining committee is recommending that our members vote to ratify the agreement.”

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 expires 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.

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

CUPE 409 represents approximately 375 K-12 education workers in the New Westminster School District.

Largest K-12 local in B.C. reaches tentative agreement

SURREY — CUPE 728, the largest K-12 local in British Columbia, reached a tentative agreement after a marathon bargaining session ending at 4 am today.

CUPE 728 President Marcey Campbell praised the bargaining team for their dedication and hard work since early March when bargaining began. She noted that opening each session with an acknowledgement of First Nations territory was a positive feature of bargaining, as was updating contract language to be gender-neutral.

“I’m honoured by the hard work and long hours our committee put in,” said Campbell. “Their professionalism and creativity went a long way towards reaching a settlement that included no concessions.”

“I’m very proud of the gains we were able to make for all of our members, but especially for precarious workers,” added Randy Anderson-Fennell, CUPE 728 bargaining Chair.

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 expires 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.

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

CUPE 728 represents more than 4,000 support workers in B.C.’s largest and fastest growing school district, SD36. Members include education assistants, bus drivers, clerical, caretakers, maintenance, and trades.

CUPE 2450 K-12 workers reach tentative agreement with SD10

Mutual respect at the bargaining table and a marathon session lasting until 3 am culminated in a tentative agreement for CUPE 2450 K-12 support workers on June 6. CUPE Local 2450 and School District 10 began bargaining in May.

“Bargaining was really positive,” said CUPE 2450 bargaining Chair Kim Reich. “We certainly had our agenda and we were able to attain some good gains for members, without any concessions.”

CUPE 2450 President Andy Cruden praised the “involved and focused” bargaining team and Chair Kim Reich for their preparation and hard work. “The whole crew gave everything they could,” said Cruden.

Reich noted that funds for local tables negotiated last July as part of the provincial framework agreement (PFA), helped the bargaining process.

The K-12 PFA was approved by the K-12 Presidents Council in September and forms part of the tentative agreement. The current K-12 agreement expires 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.

Further details of the tentative agreement will not be available until after ratification by all parties, expected to be completed by the end of June.

CUPE 2450 represents 69 K-12 support workers in Burton, Edgewood, Nakusp and New Denver in SD10. Members include Education Assistants, Bus Drivers, Clerical, Custodians, Trades and Strong Start workers who provide services to assist students in the Arrow Lakes district.

Comox Valley Early Years and K-12 support workers reach tentative agreement

COURTENAY — Early Years and K-12 members of CUPE 439, reached a tentative agreement with School District #71 last week.

According to CUPE 439 President Denise Bullock, it was a productive and energetic round of bargaining. She noted that working collaboratively in a culture of relating to each other as human beings instead of “us vs them” made a big difference. The local’s bargaining committee has been together since last year and the tentative agreement was reached after six bargaining sessions.

“Although under enormous stress with the weight of the membership on our shoulders, our bargaining committee is confident that we achieved the best agreement we could,” said Bullock. “With the gains we’ve made, we hope our members will feel more respected and valued.”

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 expires 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.

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

CUPE 439 represents just under 600 Early Years and K-12 workers in the Comox Valley including Trades, IT, Custodians, Library Clerks, Education Assistants, Program Workers, Support Workers, Administrative Assistants, and Distributed Learning Clerks.

Vancouver K-12 workers reach tentative agreement

K-12 support workers, members of CUPE Local 15, reached a tentative agreement with the Vancouver School Board yesterday, after five months of bargaining.

“Both bargaining teams worked well together and recognized the needs and concerns of our members,” said CUPE 15 President Warren Williams.

Staff representative for CUPE 15 and lead negotiator Kathie Currie noted that a full and comprehensive review of the current collective agreement was carried out as well as ongoing issues addressed. The two bargaining committees met a total of 9 times prior to reaching a tentative agreement.

“After 20 years, we finally had the opportunity to bargain collectively, with fewer restraints,” said Currie. “Both parties worked together amicably to achieve gains for our members in areas we were unable to make any headway previously.”

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 expires 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.

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

CUPE 15 represents more than 2,000 K-12 support workers in Vancouver including Education Assistants, Indigenous Support Workers, Clerical, and IT who provide services to assist students in over 100 schools throughout Vancouver.

Burnaby K-12 workers reach tentative agreement

K-12 support workers, members of CUPE 379, reached a tentative agreement with School District 41 in Burnaby in May, after three months of bargaining.

CUPE 379 President Paul Simpson noted that bargaining before the current collective agreement expired did not lessen the seriousness or work to reach a new tentative agreement.

“This was a tough round of bargaining,” said Simpson. “Our members needed to attain some of the gains that mattered to them the most – to enable them to help all students, including those most vulnerable, succeed.”

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 expires 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.

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

CUPE locals make positive gains for K-12 members at bargaining table

BURNABY — CUPE Locals 727 and 1285 have had positive experiences at the bargaining table with their respective school districts, SD #70 (Alberni) and SD #20 (Kootenay/Columbia)—something that was seldom the case in previous rounds since 2001.

According to CUPE 727 President Nancy Bell, the bargaining environment over the previous 20 years was so rough that her local expected another difficult round this time, so they attended training at the Harrison Winter School and organized members to be “ready to do battle.”

But Bell added that her local also tried a different approach this round, speaking to the employer about the district’s relationship with the members who work for it—not as CUPE members, but as their employees. The employer began to understand that the issues the union was talking about didn’t just affect CUPE as an organization, but also the people who work for the district and live there as well. That’s when things really started to smooth out, she says.

“It was very refreshing to see the turnaround at the table and how at the end of bargaining we felt very respected,” said Bell. “We could see there was a real effort on the employer’s side to listen to the concerns that we’d had – and there were no concessions.”

A big concern for CUPE 727 was hours for education assistants (EAs). The local bargained for additional hours so that EAs working four to five hours now have six hours per day.  “It’s a real boost for EAs who up until now had to work at two or three jobs just to make ends meet,” said Bell.

Bell credits local money bargained in the provincial framework agreement with giving the local the opportunity to bargain Pro-D days for EAs and acquire language for compassionate and bereavement leave that wasn’t in their collective agreement. At the ratification meeting, a member stood up and said that this was the best collective agreement language he had seen in thirty years.

“There was really something in the package for everybody. It’s not often you can do that,” said Bell, noting that the different relationship in this round of bargaining opened the door for better communication: “That’s trust. We’ve managed to get to a point of trust.”

Bell thanks the bargaining committee, CUPE BC and CUPE National for their support as well as her national servicing rep. “It’s not just my positive experience, it’s what everybody has put into it and has given to us.”

Having a worker-friendly government has made a difference as well. In the fall, Bell received a telephone call from Minister of Education Rob Fleming’s office to meet with the Minister.

“I was very appreciative of the fact that he was interested in knowing us as a small community and how cuts had affected us, both educationally and economically,” said Bell. “And I think he really heard us. Whether you’re in a big city or in a small community, we’re still raising children and we hope to send them out to be productive people for our country.”

CUPE 1285 Acting President Heidi Mann and her bargaining committee were mostly new to bargaining so they relied a lot on the experience of the one member who had bargained previously. “The committee was wonderful,” said Mann. “Everyone had some really great ideas and the ideas and conversation around everything was great.”

A big win for members was removing a Letter of Understanding from their current collective agreement that required all CUPE 1285 workers to take one non-instructional day off.  The local used part of its bargaining money to get that day back and they increased self-funded Pro-D funding. Members cheered when they found out that the LOU making them take a day off was gone.

The new collective agreement also increased family illness responsibility days from three to five and CUPE 1285 got some really good language around vacation scheduling. In the past, vacation was granted only at the discretion of the employer and operational requirements. Through bargaining, they removed that language so that now vacation is automatic and no longer at the discretion of the employer.

Previously, 10-, 10.5- and 11-month employees had a hard time scheduling their vacations outside of Christmas and spring break. Those with five or six weeks of vacation were denied. With a new vacation selection process bargained into their collective agreement everyone with five- or six-weeks’ vacation can choose vacation days in advance. This June, members will select their vacation by classification and then in order of seniority, picking blocks of no fewer than two days and no more than five days. After everyone has made a first selection, they’ll do a second round.

CUPE 727 (Alberni) represents approximately 200 members in the Alberni School District. CUPE 1285 (Kootenay/Columbia) also represents 200 members. Their collective agreements have been ratified by members of the locals as well as the school district boards.

CUPE signs agreement to make K-12 schools safe and inclusive for all students

VANCOUVER – The fact that all 60 public school districts have joined the BC SOGI Educator Network is another victory in the effort to make schools safe and inclusive for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI), CUPE 15 President Warren Williams said today at an event marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

“CUPE is pleased to be on board for this very important SOGI 123 initiative with the province and other education and community stakeholders,” Williams said, of a collaborative agreement announced by B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming. “It is important that students are able to attend safe, inclusive schools. They should never feel ‘less than’.”

At a signing ceremony emceed by BC NDP MLA Mable Elmore, Fleming said the agreement celebrates the positive impacts of SOGI-inclusive education.

“SOGI-inclusive education helps save lives, by respecting and honouring the differences of each student, in schools that are free of discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation and violence,” he said.

“No student should be excluded or bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, which is why we and our partners share a belief in the power of SOGI 123. It is creating awareness, affirming human rights and helping to fight discrimination in B.C. schools.”

Representatives of B.C.’s K-12 education partners groups formed a new Provincial K-12 SOGI Collaborative to support students of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. They will outline a 3-year plan to “create learning environments that are safe, acceptable, respectful and welcoming for all B.C. students.”

They will identify, support, and provide advice on a variety of projects; support the development of new SOGI resources; offer professional development and training opportunities; and will share information on best practices between schools and districts for the benefit of all B.C. students.

Williams, in his capacity as K-12 Presidents Council President, signed the collaborative agreement on CUPE’s behalf.

SOGI – a resource that provides schools with ready-to-use, grade-level appropriate materials that align with B.C.’s new curriculum – was developed by the ARC Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, BCTF, CUPE and other provincial K-12 education partners, UBC’s faculty of education, school districts and LGBTQ2+ community organizations.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.