Greetings VSB Members:

As we inch closer to the end of the school year, we wish to advise and update everyone on several issues that are being worked on with the employer and to share information that some members may not be aware of.

The collective agreement is still being proofread and has been a challenge as the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) had decided that they would prepare the agreement. However, the union and the employer have requested that the BCPSEA allow us to proof it ourselves as their drafts were very problematic and created no end of frustration for both sides.

We now hope to have a final draft shortly, and once it’s signed off, we will ensure everyone will be notified. In the meantime, if you are seeking information about the changes, please visit our CUPE Local 15 website, where you can see the previous collective agreement as well as the newly negotiated memorandum of agreement.

If you are a member who has opted to mentor a practicum student, the extra time worked form for receiving your 5% premium can be obtained from your administrator.

The parties are currently working on the final details of the Surplus Service Improvement Allocation Fund. We are pleased to report we have tentatively agreed on how members can access those funds and what they can be used for. However, if you were hoping to purchase yoga pants, you will unfortunately be disappointed! There are many other great opportunities, so we think you will be very pleased! It’s about keeping more money in your pockets!

A Zoom information meeting and vote is scheduled for May 25th for members to choose which benefit plan they wish to participate in. Members will be deciding if we remain on the VSB Benefit Plan or join the Provincial Benefit Plan. Your committee is recommending you vote to stay on the VSB Benefit Plan as it is far superior to the Provincial Benefit Plan. Details about this meeting will be emailed to those who have provided their email address and it will also be mailed to the home address we have on file.

A presentation showing the differences between the two plans will be provided at the meeting, so you can make an informed decision prior to voting. The majority of votes will determine which plan everyone will be covered under, so please attend the meeting and cast your ballot in favour of remaining on your current plan.

Work is also currently taking place on the Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) allocations, but until the budget is passed, the committee is unable to make the final allocation of positions. As soon as it is completed, we will be posting it on our CUPE 15 website.

We are disappointed to report that despite our best efforts, the district has not committed to ensuring that the childcare program will be solely operated by the VSB. They are insistent on contracting out the program to independent childcare providers, thus eliminating more job opportunities for our members. We think the trustees who voted in favour of allowing this to happen are doing a disservice to students, families, and our members.

Our current programs will still remain in place, but we are very disappointed that there is no expansion currently in the works that would benefit our members.

We were notified by the employer that there are program changes coming that will result in some members becoming surplus. Please be assured that there are other job opportunities available for you, and the selection process will be taking place over the next several weeks.

If you are a member who has been subjected to violence in the workplace, please ensure that you submit a Form 6A to the Employer and a Form 6 to WorkSafe BC as that helps you receive any WorkSafe benefits should they be required, and it also allows WorkSafe to track the number of incidences. Under the law, your employer cannot deny you the right to report an incident. If you encounter reluctance from an administrator to report an incident, please let us know immediately so we can assist.

For those awaiting the outcome of the Quarantine Grievance, it is still working its way through the arbitration system, and we’re hopeful we will have news to report in the fall.

We are also expecting a response from the employer shortly regarding the grievance that was filed regarding access to MyEd.

Just another quick reminder to ensure the union office has your current mailing and email address as without it, you will be missing out on receiving important information bulletins. If you know a coworker who isn’t receiving union correspondence, please let them know to contact our office as well.

As we near the end of the school year, we will provide you with an updated final bulletin.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

In solidarity,

Warren Williams