Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tentative deal reached in school support staff dispute

The prospect of picket lines at Prince Rupert schools has diminished  this morning, with word that the BCSPEA and CUPE have reached a tentative deal in ongoing contract negotiations, providing upon endorsement, for a new contract for the province's public school education support workers.

Word of the tentative resolution to the dispute came out of Vancouver today, some details of which were outlined on the CUPE bargaining website,  some of the background to the deal.

Over the two years of the agreement, there will be a 3.5 per cent wage adjustment, with no concessions. Those wage adjustments will take place in February and May of 2014, with a retroactive adjustment to be in place as of July 1, 2013.

The term of the contract dates back to July 1 2012 and will expire on June 30, 2014.

One key item of negotiation was the introduction of a pay direct card for up-front drug expenses for virtually all of the CUPE locals.

The tentative agreement now will be turned over to the President's Council for endorsement, with each CUPE local and the province's school districts then to bring the bargaining process to an end.

The BCSPEA has also been providing updates on the bargaining process through the month, the latest of developments relayed through their website, with some background on the tentative deal found here.

Beyond the financials of the tentative deal, the BCSPE provided a review of the accommodation on sick leave management, a commitment to the work of the Support Staff Education and Adjustment Committee and a new dedication towards meetings between the parties and the Ministry of Education to examine and discuss any issues that may arise from the introduction of shared services.

Left unsaid in the glow of the new tentative deal is how local school boards across the province will finance the new agreement with their employees, a project that could make for some contentious times for School Board meetings to come.

We'll update some of the talking points and media reviews of the tentative deal below as they begin to roll in:

Vancouver Province-- No School support staff strike: Tentative deal struck to avoid disruption
Vancouver Sun-- B. C. school support staff reach tentative deal with province
Globe and Mail-- Strike threat in B. C. schools headed off by tentative deal

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