Update: Government – CUPE bargaining bears fruit

Common ground found in bargaining between BCPSEA and CUPE

The threat of an imminent contract-related work stoppage by CUPE public education workers has been largely reduced as a tentative deal has been arrived at, according to information distributed via a Marketwired press release on September 19.

The deal is said to include the following conditions:

–  The agreement’s term is July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014.

—  It provides a wage increase of 3.5 percent.

—  The introduction of a pay direct card for up-front drug expenses for virtually all Locals.

—  There are no concessions for CUPE members.

It is now apparently up to each CUPE union local to take this agreement to their respective tables as negotiations continue.

Cherryl McLeod, president of CUPE Local 1285 which represents workers in School District No. 20 (Kootenay Columbia, was reached in Vancouver for comment on local ramifications.

First acknowledging the provincial scale agreement, McLeod added, “Now we have some local issues to figure out at home. Then those two pieces together will form our collective agreement.”

McLeod indicated that a challenge lies ahead for the employer.

“They are not being given any additional funding for my 3.5 per cent wage adjustment. So somehow, now, they need to figure out what that’s going to look like. I don’t envy them that, because we lobbied really hard for money to come from Victoria to fund our wage adjustment. We were told over and over again that the money had to come out of each individual local.”

“The district is pleased that we do not have a strike or any job action,” stated School Distrtict No. 20 (Kootenay Columbia) superintendent Greg Luterbach in an email to the Castlegar News.

“We’ve held numerous bargaining sessions looking at non-monetary items to date but now we will sit back down with our CUPE local and try and reach an agreement which includes the components from the provincial framework agreement.  Ultimately it is our Board and the CUPE Local 1285 that must come up with a collective agreement and then ratify it.”

The superintendent’s message continued, “We’ve done the calculations and the wage settlement in the framework agreement will cost the Board about $ 134,000 for the 2013/2014 school year. The Board can use one-time funds and/or unrestricted surplus to fund this amount in the 13/14 year.  All the money will need to be found by local Boards as no additional funding is coming to school boards.”

“Ongoing, the anticipated costs will be about $245,000/year and the Board cannot use one-time funds to fund these wage increases.  This additional cost to the district must be funded through cost savings found within the district which will not impact core educational services to the students.”