This is the fourth year that CUPE has produced this report that reviews the bargaining achievements in the Saskatchewan school board sector over the past year.
In Saskatchewan, CUPE represents approximately 4,600 school board support staff organized into 56 different CUPE locals and working in 47 different school divisions in the province. Because of the high number of collective agreements in this sector, the Education Workers’ Steering Committee felt it would be useful to track the successes and trends in bargaining. This Bargaining Achievements report summarizes the settlements and can be used as a resource to those school board locals who are preparing for their next round of bargaining.
This year’s report is smaller than last year’s report primarily because of fewer settlements in the time period reviewed. Last year’s Bargaining Achievements reviewed 21 school board settlements while this year’s document examines only 12 settlements. As this report is being finalized, however, a significant number of school board locals have concluded bargaining. Their successes at the bargaining table will be highlighted in next year’s document.
The summary of the CUPE school board settlements is based on settlement reports prepared by the staff representative for each local. The research representative supplemented that information by discussing details with the staff representative and by referring to the language in the current and previous collective agreements.
Section I of this report provides an overview of negotiated wage settlements in the province with an emphasis on recent major settlements in the public sector. Section II discusses the wage settlements of CUPE locals in the school board sector and summarizes the major trends and achievements in bargaining. Section III highlights specific achievements in bargaining such as premium pay, pensions and benefits, vacation, leaves of absence and so forth.
There are a number of appendices at the end of the report that list the locals whose wage settlements were reviewed for this report, locals currently in bargaining, locals whose collective agreement expires at the end of 2002, an historical review of the Consumer Price Index and a comparison of the share of benefit premium costs by local.
I. Wage Settlements in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Labour monitors negotiated wage settlements in both the public and private sector in the province. The department provided data on 72 wage settlements in 2001 and 30 wage settlements in 2002. The preliminary calculation of provincial wage settlements for 2001 was an average 2.9% increase per settlement and per employee. The private sector did slightly better than the public sector in 2001 with an average 3.0% wage increase compared to 2.9% for the public sector.
The settlement data for 2002 is still preliminary and is based on settlement reports that have been voluntarily submitted up to this date. The 2002 settlement data does not include the higher settlements reached by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation or the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan. At this point, the preliminary average wage settlement in 2002 was 3.1% for the public sector and 2.9% for the private sector.
The above chart shows that over the past ten years, wage increases have lagged behind the average annual increases in the Saskatchewan Consumer Price Index (CPI) with the exception of the years 1992 and 1997 to 1999. The years in which average wage increases were above the CPI, however, were also the years with the lowest percentage increase in the consumer price index (increases of between 1.0 and 1.4%). For a historical view of the annual percentage change in the CPI since 1980, see Appendix IV of this report.
Major Public Sector Settlements in 2002
In 2002 there have been three major public sector collective agreements that surpassed the provincial government’s mandate of three percent annually for a three-year agreement. Those agreements were: the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (22%), the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (7.95% over 2 years), and the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (21.8%). At the time that this report is being written, the HSAS agreement has not yet been ratified.
For both SUN and HSAS, the retention and recruitment of staff were key issues in bargaining. The SUN agreement reached in April 2002 provides a 18.92% increase at the top rate for General Duty Nurses and 20.15% for the start rate over the term of the agreement. The adjustments include the retroactive 1% for pay equity agreed to in the previous round of bargaining. SUN also achieved monetary increases to shift differential and weekend premiums that cost 1.78%. The settlement covers 8,900 SUN members.
HSAS engaged in a province-wide strike for almost three weeks until a tentative settlement was reached on October 16, 2002. The tentative agreement covers 2,500 workers and creates a new classification system based on educational qualifications. Permanent market supplements were negotiated for 10 occupations with a guarantee of review on July 1, 2003 and annually thereafter. The overall wage package increased by 21.8% but some classifications will see percentage increases of 15 to 17% and others as high as 25 to 43%. Ratification votes on the settlement will continue throughout November.
The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) agreement will help set the stage for CUPE school board locals who begin negotiations in the next year.
The new collective agreement covers over 12,000 teachers and is in effect from September 1, 2002 to August 31, 2004. The total value of the settlement equals 7.95% compounded over the two years of the agreement, or 3.9% in each of the two years. About 1.8% of the total costs comes from the elimination of the bottom step and Classes I and II of the wage grid plus targeted increases to teachers with more experience. The STF attempted to target the money to beginning teachers and experienced teachers in order to address recruitment and retention issues.
The STF also achieved improvements to superannuation benefits, specifically the recognition that all periods on disability count as contributory service for the pension plan, and the recognition of all parenting leave from 1998 (the maximum recognized parenting leave had been one year).
II. Saskatchewan School Board Settlements
There are 56 CUPE locals in the school board sector in Saskatchewan and a total of 57 collective bargaining agreements in effect. There are CUPE locals in 47 different school divisions in the province (out of a total of 99 school divisions) and two locals that negotiate with a private bus company, First Bus. In total, we estimate that CUPE represents 4,600 school board support staff (based on membership numbers submitted to the Education Workers’ Steering committee and CUPE National).
Between the period November 2001 and September 30, 2002, CUPE locals and school board employers completed the negotiations of 12 collective agreements (compared to 21 in the previous year). Although 21 collective agreements expired December 31, 2001, there are still 16 locals in bargaining, including three first agreements. This year’s Bargaining Achievements report, therefore, is significantly smaller because of fewer settlements to report.
Major Trends/Achievements in School Board Bargaining
CUPE school board locals continued to make improvements to wages and benefits in the last year. All wage settlements either met or exceeded the provincial wage pattern of three percent annually over a three-year agreement, except for one. Eight of the twelve settlements exceeded the provincial pattern. The major trends in school board bargaining in the last year were:
§ Beating the wage pattern: Two-thirds of the settlements exceeded the provincial pattern of three percent annually over three years;
§ Equity adjustments: The second most significant trend, which began as a strategy two years ago, was the bargaining of equity adjustments for female classifications. In the previous two years, 14 locals had negotiated special adjustments for female classifications. Last year another five locals negotiated adjustments for female classifications.
§ Improvements to benefits: four of the twelve locals negotiated improvements to benefits. Over the last number of years we have seen impressive achievements in benefit coverage for school board support staff.
§ Fighting back concessions: Local 2128 (Biggar School Division) was successful in fighting back massive concessions being proposed by the employer. After 199 days on strike, the local not only stopped an attack on seniority rights and other protections in the agreement but also won major improvements to wages, benefits and language.
§ Improvements to language: although there were some enhancements to collective agreement language, there were no significant trends in language improvements.
Average Percentage Increase
The average percentage wage increase per settlement was 3.17% for 2001, 3.54% for 2002, 3.15% for 2003 and 3.14% for 2004. This does not include the value of negotiated benefits or special adjustments, which have been significant in many of the settlements. We have also excluded the wage settlements of Local 1937 (Cupar) because their percentage increases would have skewed the averages to make it appear that all school board workers received higher percentage wage increases than they actually did. Another anomaly is Local 3681 (Potashville SD) where the local negotiated a 1.93% wage increase for employees after ten years of service. Because this increase did not apply to all employees, this part of the wage increase is not reflected in Table 1.
Chart 2 shows the average percentage wage increase for the years 2001 to 2004, according to the time period in which the agreement was settled.
Term of Agreements
The majority of collective agreements settled in the last year are three-year agreements (8 out of 12). Local 2128 (Biggar School Division) signed a four-year agreement, Local 1937 (Cupar School Division) signed a 30-month agreement to coincide with the school board amalgamations, and both Locals 832-3 (Wakaw) and Local 2452 (Shamrock) signed two-year agreements.
Wage Equity Adjustments
Over the past three years CUPE locals in the school board sector in Saskatchewan have made tremendous progress in improving the wages of the traditional female classifications. Last year’s Bargaining Achievements reported that eight of the 14 agreements with female classifications in the bargaining unit had negotiated special adjustments for those classifications. This year’s report only summarizes 12 school board settlements of which five negotiated special adjustments for female classifications.
Some of the examples of the targeted adjustments are:
· Local 3926 (Deer Park School Division) negotiated special adjustments for the Teacher Aides. In addition to the general wage increases of 3%, 3% and 4%, Teacher Aides received 8.4% on January 1, 2000, 7.2% on January 1, 2001 and another 5.3% on January 1, 2002.
· Local 1937 (Cupar School Division) negotiated significant adjustments to Teacher Aides and Administrative Assistants. Teacher Aides will receive an increase of 34.9%, moving from $10.78 to $14.54 an hour. A Special Qualified TA will see wages increase from $11.03 to $14.79 an hour, or by 34%. An Administrative Assistant’s wage rate will increase from $11.38 to $15.14 an hour, or by 33%. These increases will bring the wage rates up to those of support staff at Indian Head School Division (CUPE Local 2492) with which Cupar School Division will be amalgamating in 2004 (along with the unorganized Buffalo Plains School Division).
· Local 3243’s (Broadview School Division) new agreement brings TA wages up by 29.5% over the term of the agreement to achieve parity with Library Aides and Secretaries.
· Local 2452 (Shamrock School Division) negotiated a special adjustment of 1% on January 1, 2002 for a new category of School Secretary.
· Local 2128 (Biggar School Division) created a new Secretary 1/Teacher Assistant 1/Library Assistant 1 classification with all current permanent employees grandfathered in. This resulted in an average wage increase of 10.3% for this classification above the general wage increase of 12.5%.
Local 1937 (Cupar School Division) Settlement
This year Local 1937 achieved tremendous increases in wage rates and benefits in its most recent negotiated settlement. The wage increases ranged from 9% to 34.9% over the term of the agreement plus over 11% in benefits.
The wage increases were not included in Table 1, Saskatchewan School Board Settlements 2001-2002 because they are complicated to report and would have skewed provincial averages. It is important, however, to point out that the substantial wage and benefit increases were negotiated in the context of a pre-amalgamation scenario.
Cupar, Indian Head and Buffalo Plains School Divisions will be amalgamating into one school division on January 1, 2004. Two of the school divisions (Cupar and Indian Head) have support staff organized by CUPE. Buffalo Plains School Division’s support staff is unorganized. Of the three school divisions, Cupar had the lowest support staff wage rates. The intention of the Local 1937 bargaining committee in the last round of bargaining was to bring their support staff wages up to the same level as support staff in Indian Head School Division. They were able to achieve this over the term of their new 30-month agreement.
For bus drivers, rates were converted from miles to kilometers effective January 2002. In September 2003, the bus driver rates will be converted to the rates of Buffalo Plains School Division. This represents an average increase of 3.04% on January 2002, 6.24% on January 2003 and another 1.8% in year 3.
Caretakers had their pay converted to hourly rates from square footage. They will receive increases of 3%, 3% and 3%.
The number of steps in the wage grid for TA and clerical workers dropped from five to four and an increase is applied every 6 months to their wage rates. The compounded increase for Teacher Aides will be 34.9%, for Special Qualified TA, 34% and for Administrative Assistants, 33%. The wage increases will give them wage parity with similar classifications in Indian Head School Division.
In addition to the substantial wage increases, the Local negotiated tremendous improvements to benefits. As of July 1, 2002 the employer pays 100% of the premium costs for the Core SSTA Benefit plan, at a cost of approximately 1.2% of payroll. Effective June 2004, the employer will also pay premium costs for a dental plan, extended health care plan that will cost 10.3% of payroll.
Over the last six years CUPE school board locals have made impressive gains in bargaining benefits for their members. In 1996, Senior Research Officer Darcie Beggs produced an overview of benefit coverage in Saskatchewan school board agreements. Her report provides us with a baseline to measure the progress in benefit coverage.
For example, in 1996 only 2 school board collective agreements had vision coverage. Today there are 9 agreements, covering 21.9% of all CUPE school board employees, which have vision coverage. In 1996 only 5 collective agreements had an extended health care plan. Today there are 16 collective agreements covering 57.1% of CUPE school board employees that have an extended health care plan. Dental plan coverage has increased from 12 agreements in 1996 to 25 agreements today that cover 75.7% of our school board members. (For more information on benefit coverage, refer to Appendix V or the November 2002 Saskatchewan School Board SALAD).
III. Achievements in Bargaining: Tables
Premium Pay and other Monetary Improvements
Improvements to Pension and Benefit Plans
Improvements to Vacations/Paid Holidays
Improvements to Hours of Work
Improvements to Sick Leave, Family Illness, Pressing Necessity Leave, Compassionate Leave
Improvements in Maternity, Parental, Adoption Leaves
Improvements in other Leaves
Improvements to Job Security, Job Displacement and Seniority Language
Improvements in Training Language
CUPE School Board Settlements Reviewed for Bargaining Achievements in the School Board Sector, 2002
CUPE School Board Locals Currently in Bargaining
CUPE School Board Collective Agreements With Expiry dates of December 31, 2002
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX - Annual Averages and Percentage Change
Canada, Saskatchewan, Regina, Saskatoon 1980 – 2001
Comparison of Sask. School Board Benefits/Share of Premium Costs, 2002
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File: Cheryl/EWSC/Bargaining Achievements 2002.doc