Bargaining between the Kootenay Lake School Board and CUPE Local 748 is heading for mediation after the the union made application to the Labour Relations Board requesting appointment of a mediator to assist the two sides in concluding a new collective agreement.
Local 748 represents 329 unionized school district employees, including education assistants, custodians, clerical staff, maintenance, and trades.
“We are optimistic that with the assistance of a mediator we can engage in productive discussions with the union to conclude a collective agreement that is satisfactory for both parties,” said Superintendent Christine Perkins in the media release.
“We greatly value our support staff and the School District is working diligently to find solutions within the bargaining mandate established by the provincial government for public sector bargaining. It’s important that the parties retain our focus on the needs of the students in our public schools and ensure that their education is not interrupted by a labour dispute.”
The school district and the local union have been working to conclude the locally negotiated provisions of the collective agreement with CUPE Local 748 consistent with the Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA).
The PFA is endorsed by the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council and representatives of other support staff unions in the K-12 public education sector, and the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA), the accredited bargaining agent for the province’s 60 public school districts including the Kootenay Lake School District. In addition to other matters, the PFA provides for general wage increases of 6% over the three-year term of the agreement.
More than 70% of public sector unionized employees are now covered by collective agreements reached under the provincial government public sector bargaining mandate, including many CUPE locals in school districts.
The School District saidfurther updates will be provided as events progress.
The Kootenay Lake School District No. 8, with more than 5,400 students, has facilities in both the East and West Kootenays, including Crawford Bay, Creston, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Nelson, Salmo, Slocan, South Slocan, Winlaw, Wynndel and Yahk.