Welcome to CUPE Local 523

Click here to keep up to date on important Union news.


CUPE Local 523 – Spring Newsletter 2022

     

Click Here to view PDF

We are also pleased to announce that our website won: “Best website award for over 500 members” at the CUPE BC Convention, 2022!!


Paid sick leave for all K-12 members

All workers in the province are now provided with five days of paid sick leave off work – including unionized workers under a collective agreement – under new changes to the Employment Standards Act, as of March 31,2022. This means that all K-12 members – including casual, temporary, and probationary workers – should be entitled to paid sick leave, regardless of the language in your collective agreement.

View to entire article PDF


VIEW Notice of General Meeting, printable version

VIEW Notice of BYLAW Changes, printable version


Backgrounder
Collective Bargaining 2022:

Process and timeline for bargaining in K-12 public education


2022 Provincial Framework Agreement Collective Bargaining

For support staff collective bargaining, boards of education bargain directly with their union locals at the school district level. To support local negotiations, the K-12 Presidents’ Council and Support Staff Unions (consisting of support staff union representatives) bargains with BCPSEA at the provincial level to develop a Provincial Framework Agreement. This agreement in principle deals with key province-wide matters (including compensation). The Provincial Framework Agreement traditionally forms part of, and is integrated into, the memoranda of settlement negotiated at the school district level.

For further information about 2022 collective bargaining in the K-12 sector please see Collective Bargaining 2022 – Backgrounder – Process and Timeline.

March 10, 2022

Following eight days of bargaining for a renewed Provincial Framework Agreement for support staff in K-12 public education, the parties have determined that it would be beneficial to pause bargaining for the time being.

The parties negotiated respectfully on a variety of important topics.

BCPSEA recognizes the important work that unionized support staff perform for students and our communities not only every day, but also their effort and dedication to their roles throughout the pandemic response. We appreciate the good working relationship we have with the K-12 Presidents’ Council and Support Staff Unions.

February 23, 2022

BCPSEA and the K-12 Presidents’ Council and Support Staff Unions met three times last week on February 15, 16 and 17, 2022. Productive conversations continued on many topics. Tentative agreements were reached on several issues.

There are three more days scheduled for bargaining of the Provincial Framework Agreement: March 1, 2 and 3, 2022. At these sessions we will continue the cooperative negotiations of the first six bargaining sessions.

February 15, 2022

Last week marked the first three days of Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA) discussions. BCPSEA and the K-12 Presidents’ Council and Support Staff Unions met on February 8, 9 and 10, 2022. We had productive and cooperative conversations on a variety of issues.

Three days of bargaining are scheduled for this week – February 15, 16, and 17, 2022. We look forward to the continued collaborative negotiations.

January 26, 2022

BCPSEA and the K-12 Presidents’ Council and Support Staff Unions have set nine (9) days to conduct the Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA) discussions. The PFA sets the General Wage Increases and other compensation issues, and addresses provincial initiatives, such as the Support Staff Education Committee, the Job Evaluation Committee, and a standardized Extended Health Benefits plan.

Bargaining dates are: February 8-10, February 15-17, and March 1-3.

Once a PFA is successfully concluded, the PFA will then need to be adopted at each local support staff table as part of local bargaining.

 


Check out the latest CUPE Local 523 Newsletter – Winter 2022


Local 523 Executive Election Results
and
Notice of Cancelled Election Meeting – March 5th, 2022

At the February 5 General Meeting, nominations were held for several executive positions. We would like to congratulate and welcome all the new members of our executive and offer sincere thanks to the returning and outgoing members for their service to CUPE Local 523. 

As an update to those who attended the meeting, Tracy Hamilton and Kelly Stalker have withdrawn their names from the Secretary-Treasurer and 1st Vice President positions, resulting in Kyle Clark being acclaimed as Secretary Treasurer, and Jean Frolek acclaimed as 1st Vice President. 

This means all positions up for election this round have been acclaimed, so there will be no election meeting on March 5 as originally planned. 

The results of the February 5 Executive elections are: 

  • Secretary-Treasurer – Kyle Clark  
  • 1st Vice President – Jean Frolek 
  • 2nd Vice President – Lorie Zachariuk 
  • 3rd Vice President – Sylvia Lindgren 
  • Trustee (3-year term) – Penny Gray 
  • Trustee (2-year term) – Vacant 

We would also like to announce at this time that we will be appointing Tracy Hamilton as interim trustee until the next General Election Meeting in February 2023. Welcome Tracy and thank you for taking on this important role!

Updated contact lists are available on our website and will be posted on bulletin boards in the coming weeks.


Bulletin – Updates for K-12 sector COVID guidelines

Last week, the provincial health officer announced changes to public health orders. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has updated its guidance to the K-12 sector on the preventative measures needed to limit the spread of COVID in schools. As of February 18, some of the enhanced measures implemented earlier this year have been rescinded.

All schools and other learning environments can return to the preventative measures outlined in the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings. These are the preventative measures that were in place at the start of the school year. This means:

  • School gatherings and events (i.e., assemblies) with students from the same school no longer have specific capacity limits.
  • Indoor extracurricular activities should not exceed 50 percent capacity or 50 people (whichever is greater).
  • Spectators are permitted for gatherings and events (e.g., performances, sports events) within capacity limits.
  • Schools should not implement proof of vaccination requirements for school-led gatherings and events.
  • Visitors are no longer limited to those supporting activities of direct benefit to student learning and wellbeing.

As a reminder, masks are still required for staff, students and visitors while indoors in schools and school buses.

Take-home COVID test expanding

The provincial government has announced that K-12 students will soon be supplied with take-home rapid antigen tests. In the coming weeks, each student will be given a five pack of the rapid tests for home use. No specific timeline has been announced yet, but the tests are expected to be distributed through schools in the coming weeks.

View PDF.

Bargaining continues, pivotal meeting ahead

The K-12 provincial bargaining committee met this week with their counterparts from the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association for another three days of discussions.

Talks continued on a wide range of topics during face-to-face, safely distanced meeting. Agreements were tentatively reached at the table on several non-monetary issues for a new provincial framework agreement.

Bargaining will resume with three more days of talks scheduled for March 1st through to the 3rd. The K-12 committee expects this to be a pivotal phase of bargaining and are planning to tackle our significant monetary proposals.

The K-12 committee remains committed to reaching a deal at the table. From the start of this round, the K-12 bargaining committee has been clear that the top priority for K-12 school support workers is the need for wage increases that recognize the vital role they play in our communities. A renewed provincial framework agreement will greatly depend on advancement on this issue.

Following this next bargaining session with BCPSEA, the bargaining committee will be meeting with the K-12 Presidents Council to either ratify a tentative agreement or to discuss strategies for next steps in the bargaining process. Members should watch for that bulletin at bcschools.cupe.ca, directly from your local, and on our social media – @cupek12bc.

View PDF


Bargaining Update – Provincial bargaining begins for K-12 sector

 

Bargaining for a new provincial framework agreement for K-12 school support workers began this week. The K-12 provincial bargaining committee met with their counterparts from the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association for three days of face-to-face, safely distanced discussions.

The K-12 bargaining committee tabled a comprehensive set of proposals, based on the priorities set out by K-12 locals and the provincial bargaining survey. In opening the talks, the committee had a clear message for what needs to be accomplished in this round bargaining.

“School support staff have done an exceptional job keeping our schools clean, healthy, and open for students during the pandemic, in particular for the children of emergency support workers, and vulnerable students,” says Paul Simpson, president of the K-12 Presidents Council and chair of the bargaining committee.  “But after two years, support staff are now exhausted and need meaningful solutions to their urgent issues. The top issue among them – the need for fair and reasonable wages that recognize the vital role school support workers play in our communities.”

The first meetings were very productive, with constructive and cooperative discussions on a wide range of issues. Both committees voiced a strong desire to reach an agreement at the table that will lay the groundwork for a successful local bargaining to follow across the province.

The bargaining committees will be meeting again next week for another three days, and then again March 1 – 3. The K-12 bargaining committee will be sending out regular bulletins as negotiations progress. Watch for them at bcschools.cupe.ca, directly from your local, and on our social media – @cupek12bc.

View PDF.


Bargaining begins for Community Social Services, Community Health workers in B.C.

BURNABY—Bargaining has begun for more than 17,000 community social service workers and more than 21,000 workers in the community health sector in B.C., with bargaining association representatives for both sectors commencing contract talks this week.

Formal negotiations between the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) and Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) began Wednesday (February 2). This followed a CSSBA bargaining conference last week in which bargaining committee members brought forward proposals from the membership and finalized bargaining priorities.

“We look forward to this round of bargaining, and we expect talks to be both constructive and productive in making positive gains for our members, who are the heart and soul of our communities,” said CUPE Community Social Services coordinator Michael Reed, noting that the bargaining committee will be seeking improvements in wages and benefits as well as addressing workload and recruitment and retention issues.

“We know the public supports our issues. No one wants to see community social service workers get left behind during these difficult times, when clients need them most.”

In Community Health, talks began yesterday (February 3) between the Community Health Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC) after a similar conference by the CBA to set its bargaining priorities.

“Members have told us they want a fair deal that will help close the gap in wages and benefits compared to other health agreements, allow for better care of their mental health, and give members greater control over their working conditions,” said CUPE Health coordinator Tanya Paterson.

“The pandemic has shown the public how badly understaffed the health sector is, and the impact that has had on workers and clients. So we hope to make real improvements in this round.”

CUPE represents 2,331 workers in the Community Social Services sector and 1,489 workers in Community Health under the CBA contract.


K-12 Bargaining Update:

Ready to bargain: first day Feb. 8

After months of training, research, consultations and discussions, the K-12 sector provincial bargaining committee is confident it’s ready to start negotiations. This week, the K-12 Presidents Council gave its overwhelming endorsement to the bargaining committee’s proposals and priorities for a provincial framework agreement.

Guided by the results of the provincial bargaining survey, the top bargaining priority will be fair wages that recognize the expertise, experience, and dedication of the provinces over 30,000 school support workers.

The bargaining committee met for several days in January to review the provincial bargaining survey results and draft proposals to best address the concerns raised by members.

The message from the survey and input from K-12 local presidents is clear – school support workers need and deserve fair wages and supports to keep providing vital services to this province’s students, families, schools, and communities.

Contract talks for the Provincial Framework Agreement will begin on February 8 and continue until March 3.

The bargaining committee will open negotiations with the B.C. Public School Employers Association on February 8th, with nine days of negotiations scheduled between then and March 3rd.

The bargaining committee will be sending out regular bulletins as negotiations progress. Watch for them at bcschools.cupe.ca, directly from your local, and on our social media – @cupek12bc.

The K12 sector provincial bargaining committee includes elected representatives from each region. They are:

Paul Simpson, Chair

Metro:

Christina Forsyth
Daun Frederickson
Dave Bollen
Tammy Murphy
Warren Williams
Francine Brisson (alternate)

South Island:

Amber Leonard
Jane Massy
Paul Knapik (alternate)

North Island:

Denise Bullock
Jeff Virtanen
Andrew Schneider (alternate)

Fraser Valley:

Jason Franklin
Tracey O’Hara
Tracey Dahlin (alternate)

Okanagan:

Gray Boisvert
Tammy Carter
James Fox (alternate)

Kootenays:

Michelle Bennett
Pattie Pocha
Heather Skarbo (alternate)

North:

Jeanette Beauvillier
Monica Brady
Ken Evans (alternate)

Other support staff unions:

Haemant Sawh
Tim DeVivo

The committee will be assisted by a team of CUPE National staff.

View PDF.

 


Links to the latest K-12 updated information on COVID-19

Information about health region protocols and the current COVID-19 school exposures by district:

Click here for more Covid-19 information for our Members.


Bulletin – Guide to WorkSafeBC COVID claims

If you contract COVID from work, or where it is likely you contracted it from work, you should file a claim with WorkSafeBC. This would include when you are sick and unable to get tested, but your symptoms are consistent with COVID.

Even with mild symptoms, it possible that long-term or permanent secondary conditions (i.e., conditions commonly referred to as long-COVID) may develop in the future.

To protect yourself from these possible long-term consequences and regardless of whether you suffer any time loss (“wage loss”) or healthcare costs, and regardless of whether you are able to be tested, you should file a WorkSafeBC claim.

The initial steps for filing a WorkSafeBC claim include:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately. Make sure to tell the treating practitioners you’ll be filing a claim with WorkSafeBC. You should obtain copies of clinical records / chart notes from the treating practitioners and get a copy of the treating practitioner’s report to WorkSafeBC (Form 8/11).
  2. Advise your employer immediately. Complete incident reports as required in your workplace. Also advise your Joint Health & Safety Committee through your union Local.
  3. Advise WorkSafeBC by calling 1 888-WORKERS (1 888 967-5377), Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can also file a claim by mail or online using Form 6. This form is available online at the WorkSafeBC website. You can download a PDF or submit a claim online. Make sure to keep a copy of your claim.
  4. When speaking with WorkSafeBC, or when completing Form 6, include all relevant information, such as the occupation, the duration of exposure, the places of exposure, the presence of persons with symptoms and/or diagnosed COVID-19, evidence of work causation, etc.
    Make sure your report (Form 6) has the same information and is consistent with your treating practitioners report to WorkSafeBC (Form 8/11). Your employer will also need to contact WorkSafeBC and submit Form 7 – ask your employer to supply you a copy directly. Even though your employer will contact WorkSafeBC, it’s very important that you contact them too (by phone, or by mail / online by submitting Form 6).
  5. Ask WorkSafeBC for a copy of the claim file. Check to make sure the contents are accurate and contain all relevant documents and evidence.
  6. Keep a file with relevant information available for calls from WorkSafeBC. And keep detailed logs of all calls, correspondence, meetings, and treatment. This will help your keep track of your claim.

WorkSafeBC is currently prioritizing COVID-19 claims for workers experiencing a loss of income. Other COVID-related claims may be delayed. But it still important to file claims as soon as possible.

This bulletin is just a brief overview on getting a claim started. More information is available in this guide prepared by CUPE, along with a factsheet. WorkSafeBC also has information online on COVID claims, the assessment and review process, forms and contact information. If you need more assistance, please contact your local or a shop steward.

View PDF.


Bulletin – Clarification on PHO vaccination disclosure order

The Provincial Health Officer has issued a new order regarding the reporting of vaccination status of K-12 staff. According to the PHO and Ministry of Education, this order enables local Medical Health Officers (MHOs) to direct school boards to obtain the vaccination status of school staff and share that information with the local MHO.

Like many K-12 members, CUPE was surprised by this announcement. We were not consulted on the order, nor given advance notice it was being issued. We also understand that initial news coverage of the order added to confusion over the nature and scope of the order. We hope this bulletin will provide clarity on what this means for K-12 support staff.

The PHO and Ministry of Education says this is an enabling order for local MHOs and provides a consistent approach for gathering this information if needed. It is not a province-wide order, nor does it require immediate action by school districts. School districts have been told that they are not required to collect staff vaccination status information unless they are ordered by their local MHO with a specific directive.

The Ministry of Education says the purpose of this order is “to support MHOs to obtain information about K–12 staff vaccination rates to assess, advise on and respond to risks arising from exposures, cases, clusters and outbreaks in schools.”

IF an MHO directive is issued under this order, it would:

  • Require the employer to collect vaccination status information of staff;
  • Require staff to report vaccination status information to their employer;
  • Require staff to update their vaccination status information if their status changes to their employer;
  • Require the employer to provide aggregated vaccination status information by school to the MHO; and
  • Require the employer to consider that staff who do not provide vaccination status as unvaccinated, when implementing control measures.

PHO orders are not a grievable matter as they are not a decision from an employer. As an order from the PHO, it does carry penalties for non-compliance that are unrelated to the workplace.

If an MHO does order this directive to a school district, CUPE expects this information will be gathered in a way that protects the privacy and rights of K-12 staff as outlined in the province’s K-12 Sector Guidelines for Vaccination Policies.

View PDF.


Bulletin – Rapid Antigen Tests rolling out to K-12 sector this week

Over 200,000 self-administered COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are being sent out this week for immediate use in the K-12 sector. This initial allotment from the provincial government is specifically for use by school and district staff. They are being sent to districts early this week, with each district getting enough for two tests per staff member.

This first shipment of rapid tests will be for at-home use by symptomatic staff members to rule out COVID-19. They will not be used to determine if asymptomatic staff can attend school.

The Provincial Health Services Authority has another pending allotment of rapid tests. Once this allotment is confirmed, the Ministry of Education will roll out plans to expand rapid testing to students. It is expected more tests will arrive from the Government of Canada later in January that will support the expanded use of rapid tests within the sector.

Deployment and distribution to staff will be managed by the individual school districts. The tests will arrive prepackaged in boxes of five, so they will need to be repacked on by school districts into sets of two. This may cause a slight delay in getting them to staff.

Once ready, the Ministry of Education is recommending they be given out to staff to take home, so they are immediately available when needed. The tests will come to staff with a letter including guidance on when to use them, instructions on how to use the tests properly, and direction on what to do in the case of a positive or negative result.

These rapid antigen tests being provided are in addition to existing testing in the province, available for individuals when recommended by public health.

All other existing safety protocols and practices in schools should also be maintained.

Rapid testing resources

Understanding Test Results – Find out what your COVID-19 test results mean. BCCDC

Rapid antigen at-home test instructions for K-12 School District/Authority Staff. Ministry of Education

Symptoms of COVID-19. BCCDC

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Deployment – Information for the K-12 Sector. Ministry of Education bulletin

 

View PDF.


Bulletin – Education Assistant Workforce Survey

We’re writing to you on behalf of the Working Group on the Current State of the Education Assistant (EA) Workforce in B.C. (the EA working group). CUPE and the Ministry of Education formed the EA working group in May 2021 to gather information and data to better understand the current state of the EA workforce and potential implications of standardized certification.

As such, the working group has developed a survey that includes questions on the current education, work experience, and career aspirations of EAs. Survey results will be used to inform the work of the group and help them better understand the needs, issues, opportunities, and challenges of the EA workforce.

Here is the link to the survey: https://www.bcedextranet.gov.bc.ca/educ_forms_service/cupe-survey.html

Survey closes on January 14, 2022.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact Lina.Branter@gov.bc.ca and kdaub@cupe.ca.

Thank you for your responses – we appreciate your time and feedback.

In Solidarity,

Kirsten & Justin
K-12 Sector Coordinators, BC Region

View PDF.


Bulletin – Guidelines released for January 10 return to school

With students returning to school next week, the Public Health Officer (PHO) and Ministry of Education have released updated protocols in response to the recent surge in COVID cases caused by the virus’ Omicron variant. The protocols are in place for the full return of students on January 10 with the goal of keeping schools open for in-person learning.

Summary

Three-layer masks will be provided to students and staff on return to school, and a refresher on the proper use of masks will be provided.

Students and staff will be asked to do a self-health check each day before attending school. Parents will be asked to report results of self-administered rapid antigen tests to help identify cases in schools.

The PHO says with higher levels of community transmission, a shorter virus incubation period of the Omicron variant, contact tracing and close contact notification by public health is a less effective way to limit COVID-19 transmission in schools. So, school districts are being directed to closely monitor staff and student attendance and absences due to illness to identify potential outbreaks or other problems that might lead to functional closures.

School districts will be responsible to make the decision if a functional school closure is required, in consultation with the regional medical officer.

The district will have plans in place to transition to online learning. CUPE has made clear through the Provincial Education Steering Committee that the union expects wage continuity for all school support staff in the event of functional closures.

School districts have taken the week delay in the return to school to put in place updated protocols. These plans include staggered breaks, restricting visitors, revised plans for distancing and reduce crowding, and the use of virtual assemblies and staff meetings. Policies and protocols allowing for school staff to work remotely are at the discretion of school districts.

The updated COVID-19 Protocols for School & District Administrators and Staff: Management of School-Associated Activity is available online and at bcschools.cupe.ca.

Rapid testing

The Public Health Officer says self-administered rapid antigen tests will be circulated to vital public services in the coming weeks, and school staff showing COVID symptoms will be a priority for these tests. More information will be provided when the tests are distributed.

Mental health resources

The recent surge in COVID cases has been incredibly stressful for many students and staff. Mental health resources are available to assist schools in supporting students and staff in their return to school:

View PDF


CUPE BC welcomes one-week delay to in-classroom education in K-12, urges additional safety measures

December 29, 2021

BURNABY—CUPE BC welcomes the provincial government’s announcement today of a one-week delay to returning to in-classroom education in B.C. schools and urges the province to implement additional measures to keep students and staff safe, CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta said today.

“With the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases over the holidays, it makes sense to delay the return of students to classrooms, and it’s essential that the Education Ministry and school districts use this week to ensure that schools be made as safe as possible for everyone, students and staff alike,” said Ranalletta. “We all know how rapidly conditions can change but we need to make sure that detailed information is provided so that everyone in the education system is on the same page. Anything that school districts can do to reduce stress and anxiety for parents and staff is hugely important. Across all our sectors, I know our members appreciate their employers’ flexibility and understanding as they deal with the impact of this pandemic on their families.”

Ranalletta said that CUPE has been meeting regularly with the Ministry of Education and other K-12 system stakeholders over the holiday break and has offered several priority recommendations to protect school district staff, students, and communities. These recommendations include:

– Rapid tests should be made widely available to staff, students, and their families at no cost.

– K-12 staff should be prioritized for booster shots to ensure maximum possible immunity levels in the K-12 sector.

– N-95 or equivalent respirator-style masks should be provided to staff and students. CUPE also supports increasing education efforts on the importance of wearing masks, and the proper use of well-fitted, high quality, Canadian manufactured respirator-style masks.

– Daytime custodial services be utilized for twice daily cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, including at least once during school hours.

– Support for improved ventilation in school district buildings. In situations where mechanical HVAC or open windows are not feasible (particularly in winter), portable HEPA filters in classrooms and other school spaces to ensure maximum air filtration.

“I know these are stressful and worrying times for everyone, particularly for families of students and education workers,” said Ranalletta. “And that’s especially true with the New Year and the end of the holiday season coming up so soon. I know we’re all so frustrated that this pandemic is still with us, but I also know that together we will find the energy to finish the fight against COVID-19.”
View Website

COPE 491

 

K-12 Bulletin
Delay in return to school for students

December 29, 2021
View PDF


Fill out your K-12 provincial bargaining survey TODAY!

With bargaining for the K-12 Provincial Framework Agreement approaching, your Provincial Bargaining Committee needs your input on bargaining priorities.

We are asking you to please CLICK HERE to fill out this survey.

It should only take about 15-20 minutes of your time. This survey is your chance to have a say on the priorities of your Provincial Bargaining Committee.

Some survey questions that are included are personal in nature.  This is so that we can gain a better understanding of the demographics and needs of our membership and more effectively ensure that employers respect your rights.

All answers will be kept CONFIDENTIAL by CUPE, and they WILL NOT be shared with the employer or any other union members.

The Provincial Bargaining Committee includes representatives from all regions of B.C. and has developed this survey for all K-12 support staff across the province. The survey results will provide guidance for the Provincial Bargaining Committee as we develop our bargaining proposals.

Your answers will be kept confidential, and they will be invaluable to your bargaining committee. The results will also be shared with your Local to help inform bargaining at your Local table. We want to hear your voice!

The survey will be open until December 17, 2021.

You can access the survey here: survey-sondage.cupe.ca/index.php/664693

Thank you in advance from your Provincial Bargaining Committee!

View PDF.

 


CLICK HERE to read our Latest FALL NEWSLETTER!


Any CUPE members in B.C. experiencing hardship due to recent floods

are invited to apply for CUPE BC funding support through their Local.

View PDF.


Bulletin – Update on vaccine mandates in K-12 system

 

The B.C. government has announced mandatory vaccinations for the province’s over 30,000 public service workers. While this mandate does not directly cover workers in the K-12 education system, CUPE anticipates school districts will be applying similar mandates in K-12 schools in the near future.

CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta issued a statement saying, “the B.C. government implementing mandatory vaccinations across the public service makes sense as they are the best proven measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities…. Given the rise in COVID cases in our schools, we think it also seems prudent to apply this mandate to the K-12 system.”

In preparation for possible K-12 system vaccine mandates, the Ministry of Education held the first meeting of an ad hoc advisory committee last night with BCPSEA, CUPE and other partners to develop common principles, standards, and guidelines. CUPE supports this work and is calling for the B.C. government and all school districts to adopt a uniformed approach that ensures all immunization plans are effective, efficient, and respect the rights of K-12 school workers. CUPE also stresses that any vaccination mandate must ensure there are reasonable accommodations for the small number of education workers with recognized human rights exemptions.

If your school district is considering a mandatory vaccination policy, here are some steps your local should be taking with your National Representative:

  • Ensuring that the employer consults with the local before implementing a policy. It is not the local’s role to ‘approve’, ‘agree to’, or ‘consent’ to any employer policies, but the union should have notice and an opportunity to comment on new employer policies.
  • Considering whether the policy gives reasonable timelines for employees to be vaccinated.
  • Reviewing the process for employees to raise legitimate human rights grounds for exemption from the policy – is there a clear direction about who those requests should be directed to and how they will be handled?
  • Asking how member’s personal information will be handled and ensuring that the personal information is not shared outside or used for any other purposes
  • Looking closely at what steps will be taken for those who refuse vaccination and what consequences will follow. Advocate for consequences less than termination, such as unpaid leaves of absence, with an opportunity for review if, and when, the threat of the pandemic recedes.

All CUPE members are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, as it is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. In addition to considering vaccine mandates, CUPE is urging school districts to expand safety measures that promote clean and healthy schools, such as permanent daytime custodial services.

View PDF.

COPE 491


Bulletin – Employer Proof of Vaccine Requests

While there are currently no public health orders (PHOs) that directly address mandatory immunization for education workers, some of our members may be indirectly impacted by the B.C. Government’s vaccine certificate program.

Where an employee’s job duties place them in locations or at events that require vaccination, employers may require vaccination status disclosures. Such policies would likely be found to be a reasonable exercise of management rights. Employers adopting such policies, however, are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who choose not to be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons.

Aside from protected human rights grounds, where employees are not vaccinated (or choose not to disclose their vaccination status) there may be employment consequences. These will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Some examples may include modified work duties, transfers, or unpaid administrative leaves. CUPE will continue to advocate for the protection of our members’ jobs and will address the employers’ actions on a case-by-case basis.

COVID-related Documents from Parents

Some support staff in the K-12 sector have recently been presented with documents from parents which claim to exempt their child from various COVID-19 public health measures. These documents are sometimes titled “Notice of Liability” or “Non-Consent Exemption”. They contain a dense collection of legal jargon related to compliance with mask mandates, testing protocols, and other public health measures.

CUPE members in the K-12 sector can safely disregard these notices. K-12 support staff are in no way personally liable for any of the alleged ‘harms’ described in these documents. CUPE members are not responsible for developing safety protocols or public health orders. Those matters are the responsibility of public health officials, the government, and the employer. Our members should continue to act in accordance with the direction from their employers and may forward the notices to the employer.

Online Learning Representative Sought

We are looking for a CUPE member who provides online learning as part of their job and is active in their local. Please contact your National Representative if you have a member you could recommend.

PEBT member-trustee opening

There is a vacancy for a Public Education Benefits Trust (PEBT) member-trustee. More information for anyone interested will be circulated soon.

Bargaining Committee Elections

A reminder to all locals to elect their bargaining committees for the upcoming round of negotiations, and to regional councils to elect their representatives to the provincial bargaining committee (Northern, Kootenays, Thompson-Okanagan, Fraser Valley, South Island, North Island, and Metro Vancouver).

Health & Safety Tool Kit

A workshop on the new health and safety toolkit developed by the K-12 violence prevention working group will take place on September 23, 2021, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. This workshop, hosted by the K-12 Presidents Council, is recommended for K-12 presidents, unit chairs, health and safety committee reps and CUPE staff. A reminder with registration info will be sent separately.

Notice of Next Meeting

The K-12 Presidents Council will hold its next meeting on October 13th, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The zoom link and agenda will be sent in a separate notice. Those regions that have not yet elected their provincial bargaining committee representatives will hold their regional elections at this meeting.

View PDF.


Wrapping up the school year

 

Employer questions on vaccination

While the provincial immunization plan moves forward throughout the summer, we are asking all K-12 members to contact your CUPE local if your employer asks about your immunization status. If you are asked by your employer about whether you’ve been vaccinated, or if they ask for any other information regarding immunization, please contact your local who will contact your National Servicing Representative as soon as possible.

 

Daytime Custodial Services 

This past week CUPE welcomed the BC government’s announcement of $14.4 million in funding to support cleaning and supplies for the 2021/22 school year. While this is a step forward in helping make daytime custodial services a permanent part of the BC education system, more support is needed to continue this vital health and safety measure.

CUPE will be working over the summer to raise the profile of these vital services, the workers that provide them, and the many benefits they provide to our communities. In early August, CUPE will be holding a communications training webinar for local presidents and unit chairs to help them in sharing these messages with communities and the news media. More information on this webinar will be coming in future updates.

 

Health & Safety Toolkit on Violence in the Workplace

Looking ahead to the fall, CUPE and BCPSEA will be hosting a meeting in September to unveil the new K-12 Health and Safety Toolkit. Panelists Tom McKenna, CUPE Occupational Health & Safety specialist, and Hans Loeffelholz, BCPSEA sector lead for OH&S, will provide an overview of the new toolkit and answer any questions on its use in the workplace. Save the date for the meeting on September 23, 2021. – CLICK here for registration information.

 

ARC Summit

In May, the ARC Foundation ran the first ever Regional SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) Summits. A summit report has been released highlighting discussions of SOGI inclusive educators, 2SLGBTQ+ students, and allies, who shared their challenges and experiences.– CLICK here for the Summit Summary Report.

 

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

We recognize awareness is a journey that we all must take to honour and fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action. Please take the time to discuss the Calls to Action and the truths contained in the TRC report. The complete TRC report is available online from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

CUPE’s Walking the talk: A practical guide to reconciliation for CUPE locals is also available online with more helpful information. Please share these important resources with your membership so we can all do our part in reconciliation and to support Indigenous communities on their path to healing through these difficult times.

This week, a new federal statutory holiday was established recognizing September 30th as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in honour of residential school survivors. As it is a federal statutory holiday, it only applies to federally regulated sectors (such as airlines).

Some CUPE collective agreements, however, do have provisions recognizing new statutory holidays, whether they are municipal, provincial, or federal. And there may be other ramifications in collective agreements. CUPE is encouraging all locals to review their collective agreement language on statutory holidays.

THANK YOU on behalf of the Presidents Council Exec. and your K-12 Co-ordinators

We’d like to thank you all for your outstanding work and dedication throughout the pandemic – in your workplaces, in our communities and in our union. Your tireless efforts, support and solidarity throughout a challenging school year are to be commended.

We will remain vigilant over the summer months to ensure our workplaces remain healthy and safe and wish you all a safe summer.

Click here for Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside’s message thanking school staff

Follow us on @cupek12bc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and visit bcschools.cupe.ca for news and resources.

View bulletin.


Join the conversation and share your priorities about your work and public education

CUPE members in British Columbia’s K-12 (including early years) public education system are invited to participate in a series of consultation and planning calls set to begin in early April. These Zoom calls — hosted by the CUPE K-12 Presidents Council and CUPE National staff — are an important and exciting opportunity for members to hear from others who do the same or similar work, and to share information
and priorities.
We know that each district might have different job titles/positions, so please choose the one that relates closest to yours. We have set up these calls to be inclusive of everyone in a focussed and informative conversation.

 

How to register

Each call has a unique Zoom link which will take you to a separate Zoom registration form. You must register for each call you wish to attend.

If you happen to click on the wrong link do not complete the information, instead go back to the call listings and click on the correct link. Making your selection will take you to a simple form. When you click “Submit”, a unique Zoom link to register for the meeting you have selected will open in a new window. You will receive an email with your call information after you register. If you have any problem, please email: closito@cupe.ca


Bulletin 60 – Making progress on standardized EA credentials

CUPE is making exciting progress on standardizing EA credentials across the province. As negotiated in the Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA), CUPE will continue to work toward standardization of education assistant credentials and qualifications to prevent school districts from creating in-house EA qualification programs as short as two weeks in length.

Benefits of standardization

Credential standardization will increase EA hours to full-time where possible and desired. As well, it will increase classification and compensation of EAs in the public education system, ensuring that EAs are appropriately educated and equipped to provide high level assistance that will ensure the safety of students and EAs.

Key objectives of working with the Ministry

In addition to the negotiated terms and the continued work of the provincial committees, CUPE has been advocating to standardize EA credentials with the Ministry of Education. On behalf of CUPE EAs, we will continue this dialogue in the months to come.

One of our key objectives is to have standardized provincial education requirements for EAs established, with credentials offered exclusively through public post-secondary institutions.

Experienced EAs who are already working should have the opportunity to participate in additional education if desired, but this should not be mandatory for EAs with experience. We understand that the Ministry of Education recognizes the need for these improvements to the education system and will partner with CUPE on implementing these goals. This process will require time to ensure that a system for standardizing EA credentials is well-structured and robust.

Position paper makes our case

CUPE Research and National Staff have compiled a position paper titled “Standard Credentials for Education Assistants.” This paper outlines CUPE’s goals for credential standardization, asserts jurisdiction on the topic, and makes recommendations.

This position has been informed and developed over the past number of years with input from CUPE K-12 members throughout B.C., committees struck through the PFA, and CUPE National Research.

A FEW HIGHLIGHTS

  • Supporting diverse learners with complex challenges and needs requires adequate staffing levels and appropriate education
  • More EAs supporting students with diverse needs and behavioural challenges are needed
  • Education programs for EAs and EA qualification requirements established by school districts vary widely
  • Offering standardized education programs and qualifications through public post-secondary institutions is the best way to ensure comprehensive, accessible, transferable education based on best practices and current research
  • Compensation for EAs needs to be increased
  • Better wages will increase EA retention and recruitment

SAVE THE DATES:

Upcoming classification calls for Education Assistants, SSWs, CEAs and similar classifications will be an opportunity to consult on priorities for standardizing EA credentials and to discuss the position paper.

Okanagan & Kootenays
April 20th  5:30-7:30 pm

Northern B.C.
April 22nd  5:30-7:30 p

Vancouver Island &
in island communities

April 27th  5:30 – 7:30 pm

Metro Vancouver & Fraser Valley
April 29th  5:30 – 7:30 pm

View PDF.


Community Social Services Awareness Month: Honouring our members’ commitment

BURNABY—March is Community Social Services (CSS) Awareness Month. As the world marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, CUPE BC honours and appreciates the more than 3,500 CUPE members who work in community social services. These include community support workers for the developmentally challenged, employment counsellors, addiction counsellors, legal advocates, early childhood educators and more.

B.C.’s frontline community social service workers and agencies help build safe and caring communities that support everyone when they need it—especially our most vulnerable citizens.  Community social services are critical to B.C.’s safety net because they help make sure that people in need don’t fall through the cracks.

The work CUPE CSS members do has become all the more critical during this global pandemic. In these times of crisis, already vulnerable clients experience increased mental and emotional stress around loss of income, access to housing, social distancing, and other challenges. This increases the burden for the community social service workers who are there to help them.

“Since the pandemic was declared we’ve seen a big increase in overtime, with some of our members putting in 60-to-80-hour weeks,” says CUPE BC CSS Committee member Bob Crozier, a CUPE 523 member who works at the Turning Points emergency centre in Vernon.  “They’re putting in these extra hours while facing a number of challenges imposed by COVID-19.”

Challenges include training clients in various COVID protocols, and stress caused by fatigue, general safety concerns, and increased isolation—for both clients and staff—as a result of staff shortages and social distancing. Home visits for outreach programs have been severely curtailed by provincial health orders. And staff working in residential treatment programs for children face uncertainty over parental decisions on whether to keep kids at home or in the program full-time.

CUPE CSS members are expected to work, and they keep on working—some despite having yet to receive pandemic pay and despite uncertainty around safety issues. Community social service workers keep on providing these vital public services because they are committed to helping people. That’s why they’re the heart and soul of our communities.

Community Social Services Awareness Month_ Honouring our members’ commitment – CUPE BC


Joint statement recognizing the role of B.C.’s community social services workers

Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, and Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development, have issued the following statement in recognition of Community Social Services Awareness Month, March 1 to 31, 2021:

“Community Social Services Awareness Month is a perfect time to take a moment to thank one of the over 42,000 people who work in the community social services sector for their resilience and dedication to their role. They make a huge difference in our communities.

“Over the past year, as we’ve grappled with COVID-19, community social services agencies have been there to provide support and assistance. They’ve stepped up by adapting their services and coming up with innovative solutions to deliver the programs and services British Columbians need, in often trying circumstances.

“Community social services agencies help people with physical and developmental disabilities, families of children with support needs, new Canadians and refugees, Indigenous individuals, people dealing with mental health and/or substance use issues, and so many more to meet a huge variety of needs within the community.

“Most of us know an individual or family who has turned to the sector for help. Whether it’s a newcomer looking for language skills training or work experience before starting a job search, a woman looking for shelter and support to exit an abusive relationship, a youth in need of safe counselling services or a senior looking for help to access a local food bank, community social services workers are there to provide help and support.

“Community social services workers set the foundation of supports and services that people often turn to when they need help. Their dedication and hard work are a mainstay of government’s family and community support systems.

“As we look forward to building back a strong and stable economy and a better future for all British Columbians, community social services agencies will continue to be there to play a vital role.

“We thank them for all they do.”

Learn More: For the Community Social Services Awareness Month Proclamation, visit: https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/proclamations/proclamations/CommSocSerAwarenessMonth2021


To standardize EA credentials

One of our key objectives is to have standardized provincial education requirements for EAs established, with credentials offered exclusively through public post-secondary institutions. Experienced EAs who are already working should have the opportunity to participate in additional education, if desired, but this should not be mandatory for those EAs. This objective will provide the provincial JE Committee with greater ability to apply a standardized and increased classification and compensation structure for CUPE EAs across the province.

K-12 Bulletin#53_EA_Standardization_Feb_16


Presidents Message re: Isolation General Pay

Dear Members,

Following a lengthy period of lobbying, CUPE & BCTF secured agreement from the Ministry of Education that they will direct the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the School Districts to assure all employees who need to quarantine by a direction of a public health official are provided alternative duties or paid regular wages during the period of the quarantine.

Click to view the Letter from BCPSEA Outlining the Agreement  and below are answers to some of the most common questions. If you have any other questions please contact your Shop Stewards or Unit Chair for clarification. All contact information can be found on our website www.523.cupe.ca

In Solidarity,

Tammie Koroluk
President CUPE Local 523

Who is covered by the changes?
The change affects CUPE support staff and BCTF teachers.

What is covered?
Situations where an employee is directed by a public health official to self-isolate due to potential exposure to COVID-19 and is asymptomatic.

What are the obligations of the Employer

  1. Explore work from home options in the employee’s current position for the duration of the required self-isolation;
  2. Where work from home in the employee’s current position is not possible, consider options for re-deployment to work which can be completed remotely;
  3. Where work from home and re-deployment are not possible, provide the employee with general paid leave, provided the direction of a public health official to self-isolate is directed at the employee, and not a family member or person residing with the employee.

Should a member of an employee’s household, but not the employee, be directed to self-isolate, per current practice, the employee may request vacation, other applicable leaves of the collective agreement or employment contract, or an unpaid leave of absence. Employers are encouraged to exercise flexibility in considering options for such requests.

What is the start date for this agreement?
February 1, 2021 and is not to be applied retroactively. For employees currently in a self-isolation period, it applies from the effective date (February 1, 2021).  CUPE and BCTF are still fighting this part.

What about on call workers?
Where an on-call employee had accepted an assignment and is then directed by a public health official to self-isolate, districts should follow the steps outlined above. Where an employee is scheduled to work only a portion of the self-isolation days, the general paid leave would only extend to the already accepted scheduled assignment

Do we have to use sick days?
No.  For unionized employees, this general paid leave is gratuitous to the collective agreements and is not a deduction of existing collective agreement leave banks. In the same way, this general paid leave is gratuitous to the employment contract for non-unionized staff.

What if it turns out I am sick with COVID -19?
Where an employee is directed by a public health official to self-isolate and is symptomatic, employees are not to be placed onto general paid leave, but rather, should be placed on sick leave. Sick leave is to be administered per the collective agreement or the employment contract.

Sick Leave Provisions 
All sick leave Provisions are under Article 21 Short Term Disability program and Article 22 Long term Disability Program.


BACKGROUND FROM PROVINCIAL FRAMEWORK AGREEMENTS:
BCPSEA and the K-12 Support Staff Unions first agreed to establish a Provincial Job
Evaluation Plan, possibly including a regional or local approach, as part of the 2014-2019
Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA). The job evaluation tool used is based upon the
CUPE gender neutral job evaluation plan with modifications to fit the needs of the K-12
sector. The Provincial Job Evaluation Steering Committee was established in 2015 and
seven (7) districts with CUPE locals piloted the plan throughout 2018 and 2019. Ten (10)
additional districts, including two (2) with locals other than CUPE, have been identified
for a second pilot of the plan.

JE_Committee_Bulletin_January_27_2021


January 18, 2021

Dear Members,

The following information is from CUPE BC K-12 Presidents Council

SSEAC Training Survey
CUPE, other support staff Unions and BCPSEA are jointly launching a survey with a view to soliciting input to help define priorities for, and interest in, support staff training and upgrading. This survey will help inform the work of the Support Staff Education Committee (SSEC) which was struck as per item 6 of the Provincial Framework Agreement. The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete and is open until February 8, 2021. If you have any questions regarding this survey please contact President Tammie Koroluk at president@cupe523.com
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SGLYD3F

Free Online Presentation
A light-hearted approach to the serious subject of Mental Health
Please join us on January 19 at 5:30–7:00 PM (Pacific Time) for an online presentation with counsellor and stand-up comedian David Granirer and his Stand-up for Mental Health comics. Q&A to follow. The presentation is open to CUPE K-12 members. Find detailed information at bcschools.cupe.ca
REGISTER NOW
Click below to Register for this presentation:
https://zoom.us/j/99922521194?pwd=Zm9hdTYwS0hXUjJnbG5uUUgzNmo0dz09
You will receive an email with your own unique link:
Your K-12 sector coordinators appreciate the assistance of CUPE BC to bring this important topic to members.

K-12 Presidents Council Website
For detailed information regarding the above event and survey please click on the following website https://bcschools.cupe.ca/

CUPE Local 523
For detailed information and contact numbers for each Unit, please click on the following website https://523.cupe.ca/


January 14, 2021

K-12 Bulletin #48 Stop Contracting Out


January 12, 2021

K-12 Bulletin #47

K-12 Members get the Message Out!

 

As we continue to face COVID-19 together and begin to prepare for collective bargaining next year, we will have many opportunities to reach our members, employers, K-12 partners and the public. We need to let everybody know who we are and that our work is crucial to education. It benefits our families and communities


January 6, 2021

K-12 Bulletin #45-Jan-6

Federal grant money being released to districts. 

Local surveys coming soon!

On behalf of your K-12 Presidents Council executive, I want to wish everyone a healthy and happy New Year!
With vaccines now being rolled out in B.C., hopefully 2021 will be a brighter and safer year for all.

We hope everyone had a re-energizing winter break.


K-12 #41_Bulletin CUPE K-12 Goes Social

New coordinators assigned to K-12 sector.


K-12 – 39 Bulletin CUPE Roles and EAs

This bulletin explains the roles that CUPE fulfills for members in K-12, and specifically what that means for EAs. CUPE National Reps, Specialist Reps and Sector Co-ordinators support locals in bargaining and enforcing collective agreements.


BK-12 -40 Bulletin_Minister_Whiteside

A warm welcome to Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside.





Mental Health Resources & Social Support
  • Crisis Centre: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
  • 310-Mental Health Support: 310 6789
  • B.C. 211 hotline for seniors: Call 2-1-1
  • Nurse’s Hotline: 8-1-1
  • Kid’s Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
  • Alcohol & Drug Information & Referral Service: 1-800-663-1441

 


As a CUPE member, you are part of the largest Union in Canada. CUPE represents workers in health care, public schools, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services, and airlines.

CUPE Local 523 Structure

CUPE 523 has two community social services Units and three school district Units

Our Community Social Service Units are:

Our School District Units are: