CUPE 441 members ratify agreement, ending strike

SAANICH — CUPE Local 441 members voted to accept the tentative agreement at a ratification meeting on Sunday afternoon. CUPE members will be back in classrooms as schools reopen Monday morning.

The agreement includes general wage increases of two per cent in each year of the three-year contract as per the Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA).

The union and employer were able to bring CUPE 441 members to, or significantly closer to, wage parity within the region.

The Local and District will establish a recruitment and retention working group that will meet on a regular basis.

CUPE 441 President Dean Coates thanked the bargaining committee for their hard work and the community for their strong support.

“We could not have reached this agreement without the backing of this community,” said Coates. “We commit to working with the School District to build a relationship of respect moving forward.”

Coates said that members are excited to get back into classrooms and work with the students they support.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services in Saanich schools.  Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63.

View photos from the strike here.

CUPE 441 and School District 63 reach tentative agreement

SAANICH — CUPE Local 441 and School District 63 have reached a tentative agreement. Members will be holding a ratification meeting on Sunday to vote on the agreement signed by both parties Saturday morning. In a show of good faith, picket lines will come down and schools will be open on Monday.

“This strike has been difficult and we are pleased to have an agreement that the bargaining committee is recommending to our membership for acceptance,” said CUPE 441 President Dean Coates. “I’d like to thank our members, parents, teachers and the community for their support throughout, and the District for their commitment to Saanich schools and students.”

CUPE 441 will not be commenting on any details of the tentative agreement until after the ratification vote is completed.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).

CUPE 441 took job action on October 28 and have been on strike for three weeks.

CUPE 441 calls on District to get back to the table

SAANICH – CUPE 441 is calling on the District to return to the bargaining table.

“I am disappointed that we did not hear back from the District after our offer to get back to the table on Thursday,” said CUPE 441 President Dean Coates. “Our bargaining team was available, ready, and able to bargain all weekend, but the District did not respond.”

The CUPE 441 bargaining committee has developed a document highlighting their concerns with the employer’s offer that is available online at 441.cupe.ca.

“Our members want to get back to classes to support our students,” said Coates. “The whole community understands the importance of wage parity and we need the employer to find a way to make this work. We need to end this strike and get students back in class.”

CUPE 441 members have been on strike since October 28. The outstanding issue remains as wage parity. Picket lines will remain up at all schools.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).

Parents rally in support of striking CUPE members

SAANICH — CUPE Local 441 members are being joined on the picket line this morning by parents and their children. The community group “Families Rally to Support CUPE 441” have organized the event on Facebook. They will be holding a rally and walking the picket lines with CUPE members this morning from 9 to 11 am at Brentwood Bay School and at Sidney Elementary this afternoon from 12:15 to 2:45 pm.

The group has hosted a petition on change.org that has garnered almost 1,300 signatures.

“Parents are standing with us because they want their children to get the education they deserve,” said Coates. “Until we address wage parity, our district will continue to lose people and be a training ground for EAs who then move to neighbouring districts, leaving Saanich understaffed.”

Coates has asked the employer to return to the table and address low wages for all members in the local.

Members of CUPE 441 reviewed highlights of the agreement at a membership meeting on Wednesday and gave clear direction to the bargaining committee that they wanted to continue job action until full wage parity is achieved.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).

CUPE 441 took job action on October 28 over the issue of wage disparity. Today marks the tenth day of their strike.

Talks break off between CUPE 441 and School District 63

SAANICH – Bargaining broke off late last night after three days of the latest round of negotiations between CUPE 441 and School District 63.

“I am disappointed that we did not reach an agreement that the bargaining committee felt they could recommend to members,” said CUPE 441 President Dean Coates. “Our efforts to be creative and move toward the employer’s position were not reciprocated and the employer would not add any additional funding.”

The local will not be discussing details of the agreement until they have provided information about the package to their members and gotten their direction at a closed CUPE 441 meeting today.

CUPE 441 members have been on strike since October 28. The outstanding issue remains as wage parity. Picket lines will remain up at all schools.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).

CUPE 441 and School District 63 heading back to table today

SAANICH — CUPE Local 441 will be bargaining with the School District this afternoon following an informal meeting this morning between a District representative and CUPE 441 President Dean Coates.

“Both parties recognize how difficult this strike has been for families and students in Saanich, as well as for our members and teachers,” said Coates.

A location is being determined and the parties will meet this afternoon.

“Local 441 is committed to working hard to reach a deal that meets the needs of our students and members so that we can be back in classes this Monday,” said Coates.

CUPE 441 will not be making any media comment during bargaining.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).

CUPE 441 took job action on October 28 over the issue of wage disparity and have been walking the picket lines for five days.

Saanich K-12 workers strike over wage disparity

SAANICH – After two failed attempts at mediation, K-12 support staff in School District #63 walked off the job this morning. The union served 72-hour strike notice on Wednesday, October 23 but had hoped that the parties would have gone back to the table and negotiated a deal that addressed longstanding wage parity issues.

Following the bargaining committee’s rejection of the employer’s offer, CUPE 441 sought mediation to reach a deal but the two sessions were unsuccessful.

“We have let the employer know that we are available around the clock to sit down and come to a settlement,” said CUPE 441 President Dean Coates. “We are disappointed to be on strike, but we need to gain fairness for our members.”

The two sides remain unable to reach a settlement after seven months at the bargaining table.

“Our members go to work every day to ensure that students in our schools are safe and thrive,” said Coates. “We really appreciate the support shown to our members by the Saanich Teachers’ Association, parents and the general public.”

CUPE 441 represents almost 500 K-12 support staff including Education Assistants, Clerical, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades, and District Support workers in SD #63.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.

CUPE K-12 Local 441 serves strike notice in Saanich

SAANICH — CUPE Local 441 served 72-hour strike notice to School District 63 today, following two unsuccessful mediation sessions in October. They will start job action on Monday, October 28 at 5:45 am.

“Our local is profoundly disappointed that we were unable to come to an agreement and we are available to meet with the employer any time, 24/7,” said Coates. “Our goal was always to reach an agreement that addresses members’ needs without disrupting students and families in Saanich.”

CUPE 441 President Dean Coates said that the local was unable to reach an agreement that addresses the longstanding concerns of their members. Workers in School District 63 (Saanich) have received substantially lower wages than their counterparts in Sooke and Victoria for decades and want comparable wages with other districts on the South Island.

The local bargained with the employer on six occasions and participated in two sessions with a mediator in an attempt to reach an agreement. A large number of members voted in August with an overwhelming majority voting to take job action if necessary.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).

CUPE K-12 local applies for mediation in Saanich schools dispute

SAANICH – CUPE 441 applied for mediation Friday, September 13 on behalf of K-12 members who work in Saanich School District 63.

CUPE 441 President Dean Coates said that the bargaining committee will be working hard to reach a settlement.

“Our members are dedicated and care deeply about the students they support, but need to be able to support their own children and families as well,” said Coates.

Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District Support staff.

The local represents nearly 500 K-12 support staff workers. The members voted overwhelmingly at the end of August to take job action if necessary.

CUPE K-12 Local takes strike vote in Saanich

SAANICH — CUPE 441 members who work in K-12 have taken a strike vote in support of their bargaining committee. Voting was held on nine occasions at two locations during the month of August, concluding on August 27. A large number of members voted with an overwhelming majority voting to take job action if necessary.

CUPE 441 President Dean Coates said that workers in School District 63 (Saanich) have received substantially lower wages than their counterparts in Sooke and Victoria for decades, and they want comparable wages with other districts on the South Island.

“The provincial framework agreement doesn’t meet the needs of our members. The employer recently began paying managers and administrators comparable wages because they see the value in attracting and keeping qualified people,” said Coates. “We want them to also recognize and value the contribution of support staff in Saanich schools.”

The local bargained with the employer on six occasions and held a strike vote so the employer would understand how important this issue is to members.

CUPE 441 members provide a wide variety of services that support students. Members include Education Assistants, Technical Support staff, Library Techs, Youth and Family Counsellors, Clerical, Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, Transportation, Trades and District support staff. The local represents almost 500 K-12 support staff workers in SD63 (Saanich).