School District 60 support workers ratify collective agreement

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

It affects approximately 426 workers in the region, from custodians and bus drivers to secretaries and maintenance workers. The Canadian Union of Public Employees reached a tentative Provincial Framework Agreement with the B.C. Public Schools Employers’ Association in September, heading off potential job action by the union. 

The deal included a 3.5 per cent wage increase, retroactive to July 1, 2012. It was reached under the province’s so-called Co-operative Gains Mandate, meaning the raises had to come from within the school district’s existing budget.

“We bargained provincially a proposal and then we put it together with what we did locally,” explains local CUPE President Wally Miedema. “So it was presented to the members last night.”

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The 3.5 per cent raise the workers will see will be phased in over a two year period. The first raise will see approximately additional $235,000 paid to support staff. That figure will increase to $435,000 in the second year. 

Other changes in the contract include a switch to a pay direct drug card for up-front drug expenses from a reimbursement system, and support for training for employees for which English is their second language. 

The two-year deal expires again on June 30, 2014. 

School District 60 support workers joined CUPE in 2007.

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