May 6, 2000, RichmondEighty CUPE leadersboth elected presidents and staff, today approved escalating action designed to make sure that the government understands that there will be no settlement of BC public school contracts until the more than 15,000 support staff have voted.
Barry ONeill, President of CUPE BC, speaking to the participants at todays meeting said, “No government legislation can take away our right for free collective bargaining and no government can take away our members right to vote on their collective agreement. So you can be sure,” said ONeill, “there will be no settlement in the K-12 sector until your members have conducted a ratification of a package that your bargaining committee has recommended.”
During the last month CUPE locals have kept a low profile trying to bargain under the rules laid out by the government-legislated Industrial Inquiry Commission.
The issues that must be contained in any contract in order to be acceptable to school support staff across the province are: employment security comparable to what other public sector unions have negotiated, pay equity, no contracting out and fair wages and benefits.
“Not one settlement was reached during that month of bargaining,” said Gary Johnson, CUPEs co-ordinator of K-12 bargaining. Johnson stated that some employers refused to come to local bargaining tables despite the IICs instructions.
“Now,” says Johnson, “Its up to CUPE members, backed by the entire Labour Movement to make sure the governments IIC comes through with contract recommendations that will meet the needs and expectations of CUPE members. Until that happens there can be no peace in the public school system.”
Louise Leclair, communications representative
egular information updates regarding CUPE K-12 Sectoral Bargaining can be found at www.cupe.bc.ca/sbc