The Employer’s Proposal at a Glance (Unsigned Items Only)
CUPE’s Concerns at a Glance
Provincial Framework Agreement
What’s on the Table
The Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA), which was agreed to by the K-12 Presidents’ Council and Support Staff Unions (including CUPE BC), and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA), includes the following:
- General wage increases of 2%, 2%, 2% over the three-year term of the collective agreement
- Service Improvement Allocation money, which is money for the local table, in the amount of $96,154
annually from July 1, 2020 (applied as outlined below to Educational Assistant wage increases)
- This funding offer applies to Education Assistants (EAs) only and represents an approximate increase of 1.53% or $0.35 per hour.
- Provincial Job Evaluation Committee, which includes provincial funding to address wages furthest below the “provincial rate”
- This was promised in the last contract 5 years ago. There is no certainty that this commitment will be
fulfilled in the foreseeable future. Even if the Job Evaluation Committee (JEC) completed work tomorrow it would not provide wage parity within the 3 year agreement. After 40 years of wage disparity we can’t wait for the JEC results. The crisis is happening now in Saanich schools.
- Support staff recruitment and retention enhancement
- The Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA) does not provide funding to address the problem, only to “study” the issue. The staffing CRISIS is happening now and the employer has the ability to address recruitment and retention within the framework, but is refusing to do so.
- A “me too” clause in the event of public sector general wage increases greater than 6% over the three-year term of the collective agreement.
- We have not tabled a proposal in excess of the general wage increase mandate of 2%, 2% and 2%, nor do we seek to break the mandate. The “me too” clause will not be triggered by Labour Market Adjustments, Low Wage Redress, Wage Comparison Adjustments. This is what we are seeking, and it is fully allowed within the negotiating mandate we are working under.
Deadline to accept and ratify the PFA is November 30, 2019
- The PFA is a proposal, we will continue to work with the employer to reach wage parity within the mandate.
The PFA itself does not meet the needs of our students or the needs of our membership.
Wage increases differentiated in relation to wage disparity
In addition to the general wage increases included in the PFA, the employer has proposed four additional wage increases (as outlined below). The combined wage increases by position range between 7.07% and 12.80% over the life of the collective agreement, with those positions furthest from wage parity with neighbouring school districts receiving larger increases.
The first 6% does not address wage parity as all public sector unions will be receiving the 6% over three years.
This means the offer. This means the offer is between 1.07% and 6.8%. The 6.8% applies to Education
Assistants (EAs) only. Almost all other positions will receive closer to 1.07% over 3 years above the mandated 6%. Many of those positions have a wage gap the same or greater than the EAs that are targeted in the proposal. This proposal would do nothing to address the serious problem the district has in retaining clerical, custodial, trades and IT positions, just to name a few.
The majority of the funding comes from contract efficiencies or monies already belonging to the members:
- reduced break times for workers who work less than 7 hours a day
- restructuring of costs to the benefits package resulting in a higher deductible and reduced services
- reduction to MSP premiums that were awarded to the union through mediation
Delete Article 28.07 Legislation and utilize ongoing savings toward wages for all support staff
Option #1 – Removal of the language will generate ongoing funding of $251,912 per year to be applied as
differentiated wage increases to all positions effective January 1, 2020.
Each position will receive an increase of either 0.89% or 1.78% in addition to the 6% general wage increases
under the PFA.
Option #2 – Savings of $251,912 from the 2020 calendar year will be applied as a one-time payment using the same calculation method as was used in the disbursement of MSP funding that occurred in June 2019. The one-time payment would be made effective January 1, 2020.
Removal of the language will generate ongoing funding of $251,912 per year to be applied as differentiated wage increases to all positions effective January 1, 2021.
Each position will receive an increase of either 0.89% or 1.78% in addition to the 6% general wage increases under the PFA.
Both Options are contingent on CUPE agreeing to the complete removal of Article 28.07 in our contract. By deleting Article 28.07 the employer seeks to remove any future discussion of applying savings on benefits (which are scheduled to continue) back to their employees in anyway. An arbitrator has ruled that this money in fact, already belongs to CUPE members. This means that members are being asked to self-fund this portion of our own raise.
The membership heavily favours the retention of the of Article 28.07 as the value of the funds coming as a one time payout instead the employer doling out our money to us in tiny increments. For example in the case of a 20 hour per week bus driver who only works while students are in session, it would take over 14 year before they collected back the one time payout and actually saw an increase in wages. These employee funded wage increases would be between $0.16 and $0.56 per hour depending on what position you held, with the average increase being approximately $0.33 per hour.
Amend Article 18.06 Rest Breaks
The Union agrees to withdraw the estoppel notice related to pro-rated rest periods for employees listed under Appendix A and agrees to permit the Board to continue with the existing practice.
The Board will apply the associated funding allocation of $139,019.00 towards wage increases in the amount of 1.24% for all Appendix A employees effective January 1, 2020.
This increase will be in addition to the 6% general wage increases under the Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA).
This requires our inside workers to have shorter or fewer rest breaks than other employees in order to fund their own wage increase of only 1.24% or approximately $0.28 per hour. We note that the positions effected in this are mostly female dominated positions that work in a school system that already grossly undervalues predominantly female jobs. Hence our current wage disparity and the District and the Government’s lack of interest in fixing the problem.
Introduce Article 27.05 Wage Banding
Currently, each position type has a unique wage rate. Banding will move all positions within the same band to the highest rate within that band effective January 1, 2020.
Wage increases applied will be in addition to the 6% general wage increases under the PFA.
Options – There are two banding options presented in the Employer’s proposal package. The Union may select either option.
This proposal is funded and both options provide small wage improvements for the lowest wages from between %0.00 and $0.44 per hour with the average being at the lower end of that range. It offers little or nothing for the higher wage positions which are experiencing the greatest wage disparity. The wage banding itself will create some internal inequities as jobs with higher responsibility and supervisory roles are compressed closely to those jobs they supervise. We are still open to this proposal and it is a small step forward. However, we can foresee many unintended problems if it is implemented.
Labour Market Adjustment (wage increase) for Education Assistant positions utilizing the Service Improvement Allocation (local table money) under the PFA
The local table money under the PFA (the Service Improvement Allocation money) amounts to $96,154 of annual funding commencing July 1, 2020. This will be utilized to provide a 1.53% wage increase on July 1, 2020 to the following EA positions:
- EA – Specialized Education Assistant Alternative Programs (Job 47)
- EA – Learning Services (Job 51)
- EA – Technology Education (Job 62)
- EA – Intervenor (Job 71)
- EA – Interpreter (Job 72)
- EA – Braillist/Transcriber (Job 91)
- EA – Complex Needs Specialized Education Assistant (Job 100)
- EA – Employment Explorations Coordinator (Job 106)
This increase will be in addition to the 6% general wage increases under the PFA AND the increases noted above under Article 27.05 and Article 28.07.
This fund is intended to address years of local bargaining that could not address monetary issues that have now become problematic. The employer’s offer limits these funds for wage increases to the EA position only and represents an increase of 1.53% or $0.35 per hour for Saanich EAs. The employers offer would see all the funds go to a labour market adjustment to one group only and nothing for all other employees.
Amend Article 28.04 Extended Health Benefits (EHB)
The parties agree to make the following changes:
- Increase the annual deductible from $25 to $50; and
- Increase the eligibility age from “age 70 or earlier retirement” to “retirement”; and
- Increase the maximum lifetime benefit from $500,000 per lifetime to unlimited per lifetime; and
- Increase the dental recall period from “every 6 months” to “every 9 months.”
This item is completely funded by CUPE workers decreasing benefits to fund improvements in other areas. It also has CUPE workers funding a matter of egregious age discrimination that sees our members age 70 and over completely excluded from extended health and dental benefits. This decrease in medical and dental benefits to all members would only bring one benefit (extended health) back to our members over 70 years of age but still exclude them from dental coverage.
Introduce Article 25.08 Bathing Suit Allowance
Educational Assistants who are required by the Board to regularly provide support to a student in a swimming pool pursuant to the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) will receive reimbursement of up to $100.00 upon presentation of a receipt within the school year for the purchase of a bathing suit.
This is funded by the restructuring of the benefits package and this will provide a small relief to the EAs affected.
Letter of Understanding re: Recruitment and Retention and Labour – Management Committee
The parties will establish a Recruitment and Retention Working Group that will meet following regularly scheduled labour–management meetings.
The working group will identify and review potential barriers in the recruitment process and provide recommendations to the Board for process improvements that may be related to the inability to recruit support staff.
The frequency of labour–management meetings between the parties will be increased from three times per year to six times per year for the life of the collective agreement.
More study of the problem is not needed. Addressing the current issue of wage disparity will solve much of the chronic recruitment and retention problem.
Labour Board – Relationship Enhancement Program
Representatives of the parties agree to jointly undertake the Relationship Enhancement Program (REP), which is a program offered through the Labour Relations Board designed to assist employers and unions in establishing and maintaining a productive and positive relationship.
We are happy to participate in programs that improve relations with the employer. The relationship between the employer and the
union will improve immensely as they bargain in good faith and request more funding from the government to address the wage disparity. We also seek to return the budget advisory process to the previously transparent form. Currently at the public budget meetings our board of education does not discuss, as they once did, possible reductions in services that our members provide, and it does not give the Union or the Parents an opportunity to have their concerns heard.