Schools face possible shutdown if CUPE support workers can’t reach deal

Potential job action by CUPE (Canada Union of Public Employees) workers could affect local schools.

Schools throughout the Boundary

Potential job action by CUPE (Canada Union of Public Employees) workers could affect local schools.

CUPE’s k-12 bargaining committee is currently meeting with the province, and if a deal cannot be made, they have indicated they will pursue job action that would likely shut down schools throughout B.C.

The BCTF (B.C. Teacher’s Federation), which represents teachers throughout the province, have indicated that teachers will not cross any picket lines.

CUPE Local 2098 represents 98 employees of School District 51 (Boundary) from Christina Lake to Big White. The list of jobs affected includes bus drivers, custodians, maintenance workers, educational assistants, clerks, lunch and afterschool supervisors.

Bargaining dates set for next week between CUPE’s K-12 bargaining committee and the provincial government are crucial to achieving a fair and reasonable contract and settlement, but if the BC Liberal government doesn’t drop its demands for contract concessions, CUPE members will have no choice but to stage a full-scale province-wide strike, said CUPE BC President Mark Hancock.

“Our members have been patient, and our negotiators have been patient,” said Hancock in a press release. “And no one knows the potential impact of job action on parents and students better than our members in the K-12 sector. But the provincial government’s constant and consistent demands that our members actually receive less in a new contract are out of line with what’s happened at other negotiating tables.”

Bill Pegler, B.C. K-12 coordinator for CUPE, told the <i>Gazette  that they have been without a contact since June of 2012 and haven’t had any wage adjustments since July of 2009.

“Our members are frustrated and they want to see some results at the table. They want to see us settle this,” he said. “But given that the employer is offering us less than zero, in other words their latest proposal would see our members taking a loss for this collective bargaining with concessions and an inferior wage offer. The government is pushing us towards job action and a province-wide shut down of the public education system.”

Pegler said the BCTF has always been supportive of CUPE and vice versa.

“The BCTF supported us during our lost job action in 2000 and we supported the BCTF during their job action in 2005 and 2012,” he said. “We are worked solidly together. There’s a degree of solidarity between teachers and CUPE educational workers.”

The CUPE k-12 bargaining committee will be back at the bargaining table on Monday (Sept. 16) in Richmond with BCPSEA (British Columbia Public School Employer’s Association, who bargain on behalf of the provincial government.

Pelger said CUPE has strike votes set in virtually every local throughout the province.

“We view these three days as make or break days,” he said. “Our presidents are meeting on the 19th (September) in Richmond. An optimistic person would want to report we have a good settlement. But we may be doing our final preparation for province-wide job action.”

In order to strike, CUPE would need approval from the B.C. Labour Relations Board and give 72 hours notice.

“Most importantly, we want to give parents as much notification as possible,” said Pegler. “That’s why were being very clear that these talks are make or break and they may result in a situation where we have no choice but to talk job action throughout the province.”

Pegler said the priority for CUPE at the bargaining table is getting 2 per cent in each contract year and no concession.

“We don’t think this is unreasonable,” he said. “In fact, this is exactly what government has negotiated with other unions in the public sector. So we see this as simply a matter of fairness.”

 

 

 

Just Posted

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Road trip comes to end with split for Grand Forks Border Bruins

The team is coming off its longest road trip this season.

Grand Forks high school students remember

The school and the Legion joined for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Letter: English town remembers Grand Forks on anniversary of Armistice

Phillip Morris writes from Shrewsbury, England.

Children’s books needed for Christmas hampers

Considering donating some books this Christmas.

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read