WOW, what a way to end an already unforgettable year and a half of school!

First let us begin by THANKING each and every one of you for the commitment and dedication that you’ve shown to your students and families these past 15 months, they couldn’t have gotten through these challenging times without you! Hold your heads high, you deserve a huge round of applause!

This year end bulletin is to advise you of several of the projects we’ve been working on with the employer, and to alert you to keep watching for job postings over the summer.

As many of you may already know we have concluded the SIA (Service Improvement Allocation) agreement, and monies have begun to be distributed for education and professional development requests.

The Union/Employer are also making progress on the Job Evaluation Rewrite, but there is still more work to be done.

Several JE applications are being finalized as we speak, so watch for your letters as they should be coming out shortly, but not all applications have been completed, so we need some of you be to be a little more patient.

But back to the rewrite project.

The Union/Employer have established a new pay band for IT, (ITD) as it was discovered that some jobs had already met the highest thresholds under the current system. This was discovered as the JE Committee worked through some of the more technically specialized jobs.

We have also signed off on a Letter of Understanding that lays out options that our members, mostly SSB positions, will have next year regarding the ASSAI after school program. Members will have the option to either choose to have their hours changed or be eligible for overtime as per the terms of the collective agreement if they choose not to have their hours of work modified. Originally the employer was giving the Union notice that they would be changing the hours come September, but we insisted that the jobs would have to be posted before the end of this school year so members impacted had plenty of advance notice in order to make any work/life family changes or post out of the program if they felt it was necessary. The compromise agreement to continue on next year as we have this year was agreed to last week.

Now on to next year…

Keep watching for postings over the summer as there will be new positions posted, some as early as next week for two projects the union and employer are currently working collectively on.

The first, whose postings will be coming out as early as tomorrow will be part of the new Safer Schools/Safer Communities Program. This program is a result of the elimination of the School Liaison Officers.

Preliminary discussions with the employer have started on what will become a work in progress, or as David Nelson adequately put it, “We’re Building the Plane, While We’re Flying It”.  This is the perfect analogy, actually. Not all of the specific details have been worked out, but something, a framework let’s say, has been started.

To get things started, we have agreed to post the positions within the SSB Band. These jobs will require a much more advanced skill set, some of which the employer is prepared to train for in order to address the areas of restorative justice, healing circles, and other possible legal requirements. The parties have agreed to revisit the jobs in six months and one year to review with the possibility of amending the pay band, depending on where things are at in “building the plane”.

The other exciting project that we’re working on is the “Seamless Child Care Program”. The Provincial Government has chosen the VSB to be one of several Provincial “Pilot Projects” for the development of a Seamless Childcare Program.

Details are still being worked on, but we do know that Strathcona has been chosen as the school which will run the VSB pilot next year.

So, keep a look out over the summer for those postings if you’re interested.

Before we sign off for another school year, we wish to remind members that next year will be another bargaining year for CUPE Local 15/ VSB, and work behind the scenes has already begun. This pandemic showed us where our collective agreement was very strong, case in point, our agreement has quarantine pay which was a huge help for many of our members. But we also found areas that we believe need to be reviewed.

A bargaining committee will be elected, probably in the Spring, and then the Committee can begin preparing and planning for bargaining by surveying the membership and reviewing other areas that we believe need to be addressed. The utilization of practicum students is one example, but we know there are other areas that members would like addressed as well.

It will, however, be interesting to see what the Provincial government comes to the table with on the monetary side…

So, keep checking the VSB website over the summer for new job postings if you’re interested.

If there are any potential changes to the return to school next year, we will also have the information posted on our website as we know everyone will be monitoring what happens with the virus over the summer.

Once again, Thank You for all YOU DO, Raise Your Heads High, You Deserve a Lot of Praise and Admiration for All that You’ve Done these last very challenging 15 months!

In solidarity,

Warren Williams – President, CUPE Local 15
Debbie Mohabir – Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE Local 15
Cynthia Schadt – Chief Shop Steward, VSB, CUPE Local 15
Kathie Currie – Staff Representative, CUPE Local 15

Also don’t forget to check in on our CUPE BC Schools website for additional updates.