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Strike averted as CUPE workers reach deal
The BC Public School Employers’ Association, bargaining agent for the North Okanagan-Shuswap Board of Education and the Canadian Union of Public Employees recently reached an agreement in principle.
“Our CUPE employees (which includes school district employees such as trades people, certified education assistants, bus drivers, custodians, technicians, clerks, secretaries and other support workers) are an integral part of making our schools a great place for children to learn,” said Bobbi Johnson, board chair, noting the board is pleased with the agreement.
Jean Frolek, president of CUPE local 523, is also pleased.
“The main thing is, I’m glad there is an agreement. It is tentative and it will be voted on by the members after local bargaining is settled. I’m just grateful that everybody got together. It is a lot of hard work at whatever level of bargaining we’re at.”
The framework agreement outlines a number of elements, including a one per cent raise effective July 1, 2013, followed by two per cent effective Feb. 1, 2014 and an 0.5 per cent increase effective May 1.
“We are pleased that our support staff have been able to secure a wage increase. However, there is going to be hard work ahead to find the savings the government is requiring,” said Johnson.
“With our declining enrolment and increasing costs, we had a really hard time last spring trying to determine what to save and what would have to be changed or lost. There will be more tough decisions now.”