Support staff in the Kamloops-Thompson school district have ratified a new collective agreement with the district.
Last weekend, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3500 voted 85 per cent in favour to sign off on a new collective agreement with the school district.
The three-year deal for the district’s 850 support workers — which include certified education assistants, bus drivers, grounds personnel, Red Seal tradespersons, custodians, clerks and library assistants — spans from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2022.
The agreement includes a general wage increases of two per cent in each year as per the province’s new sustainable services negotiating mandate being applied to public-sector union whose collective agreements expire on or after Dec. 31, 2018.
Additionally, CUPE 3500 and the school district negotiated changes to the contract reflecting new employment legislation, gender neutral language, clarification of vacation entitlements and changes to trades days off language, according to a press release announcing the deal.The Kamloops-Thompson school board has also approved the agreement.
Shayne Olsen, associate superintendent of human resources, said the district was able to agree to most of the priorities put forward by its support staff.
“There is always give and take in bargaining and we feel like we were able to arrive at some changes that will be positive for district employees, administration and improve how students receive support from our CUPE employees,” he said in the release.
“I think with the local funds available from BC Public Sector Employers’ Association and the scope in which we were allowed to use them, we reached an agreement that will benefit all our CUPE employees,” CUPE Local 3500 president Corey Grabner added.
The new agreement comes amidst a swath of other school district support staff agreements that have been ratified in the last few months.
Teachers across the province remain without a new contract to date, but negotiations have continued while classes are in session. The B.C. Teachers’ Federation’s contract expired on June 30.
With the ratification and five others announced Friday about 85 per cent of K-12 support staff employees — 59 out of 69 contracts in the B.C. education system — have now been settled under the province's new mandate.