School strike averted

Coast Mountains School District is prepared to fund wage increase for school support workers

Coast Mountains School District (CMSD) board chair Art Erasmus says the district is pleased a school strike by district school support workers has been averted – and that the district will “make it work” in order to give those workers the 3.5 per cent wage increase agreed to in the tentative two-year agreement reached last night.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 27,000 K-12 school support workers across the province, and provincial government representatives, working with the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BSPSEA), announced a tentative contract deal late last night, following weeks of strike speculation.

The agreement, which still needs to be ratified by all parties, provides union members with a 3.5 per cent wage increase over two years – a retroactive one per cent on July 1, 2013, two per cent on Feb. 1, 2014, and 0.5 per cent on May 1, 2014. A pay direct card for up-front drug expenses for union members is also included in the tentative contract.

That wage increase, as required under the provincial “cooperative gains mandate”, needs to be funded from savings found in existing school district budgets – the province has said since last year that it will provide no new money to districts for support worker wage increases.

Erasmus said the district was prepared for the potential wage increase. This despite some pushback from boards following a letter in December 2012 asking districts to prepare savings plans in the event of a negotiated wage increase for support workers.

“We have been making preparations that if an agreement at about this magnitude gets settled, how we would fund it,” Erasmus said. “We have the opportunity as a board not to agree because it’s an agreement with our local union, but we would be pretty unwise not to agree to it when everybody else in the province is going to agree to it.”

If the board and local union ratify the agreement, the estimated cost for wage increases in the CMSD, based on current support staff levels, is $205,000 for the 2013/2014 school year. And once the proposed contract is fully implemented, the 3.5 per cent increase will increase support staff costs by close to $340,000 per school year, also based on current staffing levels.

“We’re going to make it work out,” said Erasmus, noting that this ultimately means that some purchases and renovations that would come out of local capital will be delayed, although he could not provide specific examples at this time.

But students will not be adversely affected, he said.

“That was one of the requirements of the government when they told us to look at the cooperative gains mandate and create a savings plan – that it could not come directly from student services,” he said. “That’s the law.”

The district has requested a meeting with CUPE Local 2052 for next week to discuss next steps.

 

Just Posted

Terrace school principal reassignments on hold

School board announces “one-year transition” to cheering crowd

Restored Tsimshian totem pole, a gift from B.C., unveiled in Whitehorse

The Gawagani Pts’aan, meaning “Peace Totem Pole,” was gifted to the Yukon government in 1971.

Lost Lake closed for fishing due to goldfish invasion

Pet fish is considered an invasive species to B.C. wild

Two Terrace kayakers set out on Nass River with fundraising mission

By travelling 380km, their aim is to encourage more youth to paddle

DFO announces openings for chinook

Opportunities are few between widespread closures

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

Fraser Institute releases latest B.C. high school rankings

Fastest improving schools are in cities including Agassiz, Kitimat and 100 Mile House

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Driver has $240K McLaren impounded minutes after buying it in West Vancouver

Officers clocked the car travelling at 160 km/h along Highway 1 in a 90 km/h zone

Former Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Most Read