BURNABY- CUPE’s 57 BC K-12 Local bargaining committees have worked hard, and continue to make sure members receive fair deals through the implementation the Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA) negotiated by the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council Provincial Bargaining Subcommittee and the BC Government on September 18th. The PFA provides CUPE education workers with a 3.5 percent wage adjustment, new recognition and respect for education assistants, as well as an updated BlueNet drug card that allows members to have medication benefits paid up front, without the need to submit receipts for prescriptions.
Thirty-seven CUPE Locals have now achieved ratified collective agreements and 15 have reached a settlement and are awaiting ratification votes.
Five CUPE Locals continue bargaining with their respective school districts – Local 4165 in School District 5 (Southeast Kootenay), Local 748 in School District 8 (Kootenay Lake), Local 947 in School District 61 (Victoria), Local 2769 in School District 84 (Vancouver Island West), and Local 2298 in School District 92 (Nisga’a).
Members of CUPE Local 1091 were the latest to ratify voting 94 percent in favour of a collective agreement with School District 37 (Delta). Also to ratify recently were the members of CUPE Local 441 in School District 63 (Saanich) voting 84 percent in favour of an agreement, and CUPE Local 4653 in School District 60 (Peace River) who voted 81 percent in favour.
Most recent settlements include Local 561 in School District 43 (Coquitlam) and Local 3500 in School District 73 (Kamloops/Thompson).
Local 523 averted a strike in Okanagan schools and reached a tentative agreement with the employers of School District 53 (Okanagan Similkameen), School District 67 (Okanagan Skaha), and School District 83 (North Okanagan Shuswap). Local 523 served 72 hour strike notice on Thursday, November 28th, frustrated the employers were clawing back long term disability savings. A compromise was reached on Monday December 2nd, preventing further job action.
Local 748 in School District 8 (Kootenay Lake) remains on strike alert as their bargaining committee returns to negotiations with the employer on December 12th. The school board held an extraordinary meeting on December 2nd in order to pass a savings plan needed to continue bargaining with education workers in Kootenay Lake schools.
Local 947 in School District 61 (Victoria) voted against ratification. Local 947 expressed concerns over the lack of information regarding changes to prescription coverage when shifting to the updated pay-direct BlueNet card.
Local 4165 in School District 5 (Southeast Kootenay) also voted against ratification. The Local 4165 Bargaining Committee will be meeting again with the employer on December 12th.
The BC Government’s ‘cooperative gains mandate’ presented a challenge for some BC school districts in finding existing resources for the unfunded agreement. Burdened further with increased hydro rates, districts already struggling with more than a decade of underfunding from the BC government endeavoured to adopt cost savings plans required to find money to pay for the long overdue wage adjustment.
After all 57 CUPE K-12 Locals ratify fair agreements, CUPE will continue campaigning for increased funding to adequately support all BC K-12 students, and ensure BC schools are clean, safe and inclusive. CUPE hopes to work with students, parents, teachers, and trustees to urge the BC Government to restore funding to the public education system.
The deadline for settlement and ratification of all local agreements is December 20th, 2013.