By Korie Marshall

CUPE members have ratified the collective agreements with School District 57; no chance of job action here, but the retroactive two-year deals expire next year.

Nathan Allen, communications representative for CUPE BC, says the unions ratified the agreement with School District 57 by a large margin; workers are happy and continuing to work with no chance of job action in the district.

In September, the Canadian Union of Public Employees reached a tentative two-year agreement with the BC Public Schools Employers’ Association. The framework agreement included a 3.5 per cent wage increase, a direct-pay card for up-front drug cards, and removed proposed sick-leave cuts.

Each school board was told by the province they would need to find the funding to cover the raises within their existing budgets, but co-operative gains mandate says they are not allowed to cut services that directly impact students. Allen says some school boards may have had to eliminate some management positions, or find cost savings in other ways, but many may have been saving for this eventuality, as CUPE members hadn’t had raises in four years, so this should have been expected.

Brian Pepper, Superintendent of Schools for SD57 told the Goat in October he was not able to comment on how the district was going to fund the raises because the issue was discussed in-camera at a board of education meeting. He said he didn’t know if the information would ever be made public.

“Because this is something that has not occurred before this way, in terms of how it transpired, I am not sure how it will look moving forward,” said Pepper.