THE COAST Mountains school district has wrapped up contract talks with its unionized non-instructional workers. The workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2052, must now ratify the agreement.
They aren’t getting wage increases because of a provincial government freeze but compromises were reached in other areas, says school board chair Art Erasmus.
The two-year contract is retroactive to June 2010 and ends this June. It applies to approximately 450 people in Terrace, Kitimat, Stewart, Kitwanga and the Hazeltons.
Job categories include secretaries, custodians, special service assistants for students and outside workers.
One contract item calls for special needs workers to be kept with students with whom they have developed productive school relationships.
The education ministry had set aside $7.5 million for special needs student purposes but it was money school districts could only receive if contract talks finished by Feb. 29.
That’s to cover unpaid work the assistants are doing now and the money will become part of the school district’s budget for this year.
Tapping into the special needs account helped motivate both sides to come to an agreement, said Erasmus.