Support staff ratify new deal

Nine more school districts, including support staff in the Vernon School District, have ratified new agreements

Nine more school districts, including the Vernon School District, and more than 2,700 support staff workers have ratified new agreements under the B.C. government’s 2014 Economic Stability Mandate.

The deal for the Vernon district affects 503 Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) support staff workers including bus drivers, custodians, secretaries, education assistants, maintenance workers, mechanics and carpenters.

The term of the new agreement for each district is from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2019. It provides for a 5.5 per cent wage increase over the five years of the term, with potential for additional increases if the B.C. economy exceeds the annual forecasts set by the Economic Forecast Council during the last four years of the agreement.

CUPE Local 5523 president Mark Olsen said more than 90 per cent of his members voted in favour of ratifying the deal.

“Some members are frustrated with a lack of increase in the cost of living and gasoline and everything else that’s going up,” said Olsen. “But the long-term stability, some members are happy with that. Reaction to the deal is mixed but they did vote in favour of it. The majority are happy with it.”

To date almost 12,500 support staff workers in 30 school districts have fully ratified agreements in place. This represents approximately 36 per cent of the total support staff workers in B.C. school districts. The remaining districts are working to ratify agreements by November.

The North Okanagan Shuswap School District ratified a deal with its 514 CUPE members in July.