CUPE settles, no job action

School support staff have yet to vote - but it looks like a new contract has been reached which will avert a lockout or strike this fall.

Elementary and high school students in the Boundary, and throughout B.C., will not have to miss any class time as the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has reached a tentative Provincial Framework Agreement with the B.C. Public Schools Employer’s Association (BCPSEA). The agreement was unanimously endorsed by the CUPE BC K-12 Provincial Bargaining Sub-Committee and will be recommended to the CUPE K-12 Presidents’ Council for endorsement.

Each CUPE union local will then take this provincial agreement to their respective tables with school districts to conclude collective bargaining, said a press release from CUPE.

“Over two years, this agreement provides our members a total 3.5 per cent wage adjustment, with no concession,” said CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council Chair Colin Pawson. “We were able to work with the employer on a pay direct drug card.

“As well, the agreement recognizes the professional role of education assistants through formal changes to the School Act and collective agreements.”

The agreement provides a one per cent wage increase on July 1, 2013, two per cent on Feb. 1, 2014, and 0.5 per cent on May 1, 2014.

“CUPE BC’s 27,000 education workers are vital to keeping our schools clean, safe and inclusive,” said CUPE BC President Mark Hancock. “I want to thank all 85,000 of our members across the province, and our K-12 members in particular, for their solidarity. It’s only because we held together that we were able to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract, despite demands for concessions from the government.”

“I would also like to thank the BC Teachers’ Federation for their unwavering commitment to public education in our province and for their strong support during these difficult negotiations,” added Hancock.