Local 441 Members
August 20th and 21st are scheduled for further bargaining but the parties remain far apart on the employer proposal.
This week we made an application to the labour board for mediation of bargaining and we have been advised that it should happen prior to  September.
It is still our hope to have a contract to ratify before school start up.
The lone employer issue holding up bargaining has to do with Art 24.01(a) employer paid leave for members when it becomes necessary to transact business with the School Board. The employer was not following the language of this article and it has been an ongoing issue for at least the past 3 years.
Below is an explanation of the complex history of this issue in point form.
* The Union filed a grievance shortly before the last round of bargaining then offered to hold the grievance in abeyance pending bargaining. 
* The Union served the employer with a notice to end practice prior to the last round of bargaining. If there is a practice established that breaks away from the strict language of the contract this must be done to give the other party the opportunity to bargain the practice into the language of the contract. 
* The employer tabled NOTHING with regards to this article despite our multiple questions at the bargaining table.
* At the end of that round and prior to letting them sign off the final items we again asked what they were going to do with the notice to end practice. They choose to do nothing and prior to the final sign off we told them the we would now adhere to the strict language of Art. 24.01. We then signed and so did they.
* Very shortly after ratification of our existing contract the employer again denied leave under 24.01(a) for two member’s of the Pro D committee. This meant that the transportation and custodial rep on this joint committee ( work of the employer) where not granted time off their shifts as the meeting was scheduled at 12 pm outside of their scheduled working hours. Only these 2 of the 5 CUPE members on the Pro D committee were expected to volunteer their time. The employer also denied leaves for exec members to attend joint meetings if more than 1 member was requested. *The language clearly states up to 4 members of the union and only speaks to working hours.  Our working hours are defined in the collective agreement as 6 am to 11:59 pm. 
* The Union again filed a policy grievance that failed to be resolved.
* The Union brought it to you the membership for approval to advance to arbitration.
* In keeping with motto of exploring every avenue to resolve differences we sought settlement of the matter prior to it reaching the arbitration hearing.  Only this time with the employer’s legal counsel. 
* As the proposal we received was unacceptable we submitted a response that was rejected.  Their formal response back ended with “There appears to be no room for settlement with the Union and we will prepare for arbitration.”
* The hearing was set for early June, but as Dean and our CUPE rep were involved with our provincial bargaining we had to request that the date be pushed back as our bargaining dates conflicted with the original hearing date. 
* We had planned to revisit the idea of settlement but the BCTF job action, holidays and the new November hearing date meant we had to prioritize and this matter was put on the back burner. 
* After getting an indication from the employer that they may be interested in rolling over the contract Dean talked to many of you on the picket lines and there was overwhelming support for it.
* Roll over was rejected by the employer. They did however offer to meet and have some “very limited” bargaining.
* Despite the employer’s legal counsel letter stating that they would prepare for arbitration, the employer tabled a proposal that the Union agree to the the employer’s interpretation of article 24.01 and didn’t even attempt to veil that they plan to use our current situation of being picketed out by another Union as leverage to achieve this concession. As the proposal is completely unacceptable we negotiated hard and ultimately came up with a package deal that was very good for the employer but it was rejected.
* We offered to settle the issue through the labour board with a very low cost mediation. This too was immediately rejected without any consideration.
* Dean even offered, without prejudice to any other current or future exec members, that he personally would not benefit from whatever settlement comes about from the grievance, and that he would still make himself available for joint meetings that almost always are scheduled long before his 3:29 pm start time without compensation. This to was rejected.
Local 441 bargaining committee
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