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Posts published in “K-12 Bulletin”

Bulletin – K-12 Presidents Council stands in solidarity with Ontario education workers

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With our fellow education workers in Ontario facing an unprecedented attack on their rights and their ability to serve students, B.C.’s K-12 Presidents Council is sending a message of support and solidarity to the Ontario School Board Council of Union and its 55,000 members as they prepare to go on strike.

The appalling disregard of the Charter rights of education workers in Ontario is disgraceful and should alarm all workers across B.C. and Canada. Invoking the Notwithstanding Clause to circumvent fair collective bargaining sets a dangerous precedent. If our Charter rights as workers can be so casually tossed aside, they will mean virtually nothing.

Education workers in Ontario have been subjected to more than a decade of regressive governments that have forced an austerity agenda on that province’s education system. It has been on the back of education workers and hurt the quality of education they can deliver to Ontario students and families. They deserve a better deal that recognizes the critical role they serve in schools and communities.

We are calling on the Ford government to stop its threats and attacks, return to the table and negotiate in good faith with the OSBCU. The best way to ensure a quality and accessible education for all Ontario students is secure long-term stability and labour peace at the bargaining table with a fair contract.

To all education workers in Ontario, please know that you are not alone. The over 70,000 education members in B.C. represented by the K-12 Presidents Council are standing with you, as are 715,000 CUPE members across Canada. Your courage and determination are inspiring. Your fight is our fight.

We’ve got your back!

In solidarity, B.C.’s K-12 Presidents Council

 

View PDF here.

Bulletin – Presidents Council endorses Provincial Framework Agreement

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The K-12 Presidents are endorsing the new Provincial Framework Agreement reached last week. The British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) also endorses the agreement. Both recommend the agreement be part of local collective agreements.

The Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA) has a 3-year term in effect from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2025. It includes general wage increases in each year.

  • July 1, 2022: $0.25 per hour wage increase plus an additional 3.24%
  • July 1, 2023:5% increase, and up to 1.25% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). For clarity, the general wage increase will be at minimum 5.5%, to a maximum of 6.75%
  • July 1, 2024: 2% increase, and up to a 1% COLA. For clarity, the general wage increase will be at minimum 2%, to a maximum of 3%

COLA is according to the BC consumer price index annual average.

The PFA also includes provincial government funding for local bargaining to address local issues. It’s based on full-time enrolled students in districts, with a minimum amount.

  • 2022/2023: $11.5 million allocated to school districts, with a $40,000 minimum
  • 2023/2024: $13.8 million allocated, with a $50,000 minimum
  • 2024/2025: $17.8 million allocated, with a $60,000 minimum

In local bargaining, K-12 locals and school districts will negotiate how to use these funds. The only thing they can’t go towards are general wage increase.

Other highlights of the framework agreement include:

Education
$50,000 per year in 2022 and 2023 for support staff education, with an another $1 million per year beginning in 2024. The joint Support Staff Education Committee (SSEC) will decide on allocating this money.

Workplace violence prevention
A new Provincial Joint Health and Safety Taskforce. Its mandate includes supporting measures to address workplace violence prevention.

Benefits
$3 million in annual funding for potential benefit enhancements. Also, $1 million in one-time funding for addictions treatment support programs.

In addition to the PFA, the Ministry of Education will be increasing the Learning Improvement Fund to $25 million for the 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 school years. This will allow for more Education Assistant hours across the province.

The K-12 Presidents Council recommends the framework agreement for local bargaining proposals. PFA provisions come into effect when part of a ratified local collective agreement, with general wage increases retroactive to July 1, 2022. It is local collective agreements that members of K-12 locals approve and ratify.

Local bargaining needs to complete and ratified by January 25, 2023.

Please direct questions on the PFA and local bargaining to your local executive.

CLICK here for the complete Provincial Framework Agreement.

View PDF here.

School support workers reach tentative deal with BC public schools

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Burnaby – A tentative provincial framework agreement has been reached between the unions representing B.C.’s 40,000 school support workers and the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA).

“Our bargaining committees worked hard to reach this tentative agreement,” says Paul Simpson, president of the K-12 Presidents Council. “Working together, we were able to reach an agreement that recognizes the vital role our members have in providing this province’s students the highest quality of education in healthy schools.”

Further details on the tentative agreement will not be made public until presented to K‑12 school support members. Once endorsed by the K‑12 Presidents Council, the 3-year provincial framework agreement (PFA) will form the provincial agreement portion of proposals that will go forward in local bargaining between local unions and their respective school districts.

The K-12 Presidents Council represents locals in school districts across British Columbia. These locals represent approximately 40,000 school support workers including: education assistants, school secretaries, custodians/caretakers, Indigenous support workers, child/youth/family support workers, IT workers, library technicians, Strong Start facilitators & early childhood educators, trades & maintenance workers, and bus drivers.

Bulletin – Changes to Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

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Effective August 22, 2022, WorkSafeBC has implemented amendments to the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work. Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work if they have reasonable cause to believe that performing it would create an undue hazard to the health and safety of any person. Changes will now require employers to provide written notice of an unresolved work refusal to any worker subsequently assigned or allowed to perform that work, and to provide written notice of the reassignment to the joint health and safety committee or a union representative.

These important changes strengthen workers’ fundamental right to a safe workplace and their ability to make workplaces safer for everyone.

The amendments include the addition of a new section under Part 3: Rights and Responsibilities in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation:

3.12.1 (1) Reassignment of refused work

If a worker refuses work under section 3.12, the employer must not require or permit another worker to do the refused work unless

(a) the matter has been resolved under 3.12 (3), (4) or (5), or

(b) the employer has, in writing, advised the other worker and a person referred
to in section 3.12 (4)(a), (b) or (c) of all of the following:

(i) the refusal;

(ii) the unsafe condition reported under section 3.12 (2);

(iii) the reasons why the task would not create an undue hazard to the
health and safety of the other worker or any other person;

(iv) the right of the other worker under section 3.12 to refuse unsafe work.

Visit WorkSafeBC for more information on the amendment.

View PDF here.

Bulletin – Updates for K-12 sector Provincial Communicable Disease Guidelines

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The Ministry of Education and Child Care has issued updated Provincial Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 School Settings. The updates reflect current Provincial Health Officer orders and guidelines from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

There have not been significant changes to the BCCDC’s guidance for K-12 settings, or to the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s Guidelines since the last update in April 2022. However, school districts should review their communicable disease prevention plans with their Site Committees and Joint Health and Safety Committees (WorkSafe BC requirements here). Plans should be made readily available.

The Guidelines now incorporate previously issued Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings, the K-12 Education Recovery Plan and the COVID-19 Protocols for School & District Administrators and Staff: Management of School-Associated Activity.

Key Changes:

Monitoring of Absences is no longer recommended as part of COVID-19 management; however, school districts are still to notify the Ministry of Education and Child Care when considering or implementing a functional closure.

Key guidelines that remain in place:

Cleaning and Disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces at least once in a 24-hour period and when visibly dirty.

Ventilation and Air Circulation with recommendations that schools consider guidance offered by ASHRAE.

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette practices should continue to be reinforced with school community.

Updated information can be found on the COVID-19 safe schools web page.

View PDF here.