May 18, 2011

CUPE education bargainers meet – build solidarity

VANCOUVER—CUPE college and university bargaining committees met this week with the chair of the CUPE K-12 Presidents’ Council to talk issues and strategy.

With locals in the three sectors at bargaining tables throughout the province, all agreed to closer coordination heading into September and what could be a busy fall on the bargaining front.

The meeting follows an April 2011 commitment to a common front in post-secondary education and a substantial CUPE BC convention resolution supporting closer public sector bargaining coordination.

Terry Allen, chair of the CUPE K-12 Presidents’ Council, representing 55 locals in the public school system, said that while public school bargaining includes many unique issues – CUPE members can only benefit from closer coordination across the entire B.C. education system.

University bargainers, who are closely coordinated in this round, are pleased to see the cross-sector initiative. “It’s very exciting to be taking steps toward more coordination and mutual support, especially in the face of a government mandate that attempts to shut down all meaningful bargaining,” said Colleen Garbe, co-chair of the CUPE’s University Coordinated Bargaining Committee.

Colleges Coordinated Bargaining Committee chair Michelle Waite said that from Prince George to Port Hardy, college locals are working closely together and welcome the chance to build solidarity with universities and K-12 CUPE members.

Agreements for the 40,000 members in CUPE K-12, college and university locals expired between March and June 2010. Most locals have opened bargaining and each sector is dealing with its own provincial employers’ council as well as local employers.

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