POWELL RIVER—Education worker members of CUPE Local 476 have voted to ratify a collective agreement with School District 47 (Powell River). The 153 members include education assistants, clerical staff, trades, custodians, and bus drivers.
“Our members were relieved that strike action was not necessary and were appreciative of our efforts at the bargaining table,” said Daphne Ross, President of CUPE Local 476 and member of the CUPE BC K-12 Provincial Bargaining Sub-Committee. “The wage increase was less than we deserve, but our members were pleased we came back with an agreement.”
The Provincial Framework Agreement negotiated by the BC Government and the CUPE BC K-12 Bargaining Sub-Committee was signed on September 18th, 2013. The two-year Agreement provides an end-rate wage adjustment of 3.5 percent, with no concessions.
“While there remain frustrations over the ongoing lack of funding from the BC Government we did the best we could under the circumstances,” said Ross. “The government's abandonment of their responsibilities for wage increases shows there is little respect for those working on the front lines supporting BC students.”
The Agreement also moves forward with plans to respect the work of Education Assistants by creating whole jobs that recognize credentials and qualifications.
“Locally, we made some minor changes in contract language and we were successful in getting an agreement for an Education Assistant committee to mirror the one in the provincial agreement,” said Ross. “The local committee will meet with members from CUPE and the Board and hopefully teachers in order to examine the current service delivery to students and come up a plan for full-time jobs for Education Assistants.”
The members of CUPE Local 476 are the first education workers in BC to ratify a collective agreement under the Provincial Framework.