November 15, l999, Burnaby, BCS006500760065ral CUPE locals across the province of British Columbia could be back at the table in the very near future after an agreement was reached between the union representing nearly 20,000 unionized non-teaching school workers and the employers’ association that is the accredited bargaining agent for every school board in the province.
“BCPSEA, the employers’ association finally seems to understand what we have been telling them for months,” says Gary Johnson, national servicing representative, “And that is that every school local in this province is and will remain responsible for approving negotiated contracts. Representatives of their provincial committee are at the table to provide advice and resourcesn006f00740020to make decisions that belong at the local level.”
Bargaining contracts in BC’s unionized non-teaching public school sector has been on hold since the BC Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA) laid a complaint against CUPE’s K-12 Sectoral Bargaining Committee (SBC).
Paul Ramsey as Minister fully supported voluntary province-wide bargaining for support workers across the province knowing that BCPSEA was, in effect, the organization calling the shots and co-ordinating all the employers. But BCPSEA turned it down.
“So CUPE has had no choice but to find a way to support our members at local bargaining tables.” said Johnson, “When BCPSEA complained of our presence at local bargaining tables we were shocked, but now that they’ve withdrawn the complaint everyone is anxious to get back to the table, roll up our sleeves and bargain some contracts.”
No specific dates have been set for locals to return to bargaining but CUPE is expecting some action on Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley, the North and the Okanagan in the very near future.
Information: Louise Leclair