Education Minister Rob Fleming (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

The B.C. NDP government is moving to unwind changes made by the B.C. Liberal government to union bargaining, starting with restoring a majority of elected school trustees to the board of the agency responsible for bargaining with public school unions.

The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association was restructured in 2013, with Michael Marchbank, CEO of the Hospital Employers’ Association, appointed public administrator for school bargaining in addition to health care talks.

The BCPSEA board is meeting this week to change its bylaws, restoring the ability of school trustees to elect seven members to the association’s board. The province would retain authority to appoint up to four directors.

It is “important and beneficial” for school trustees to have a direct role in governing the BCPSEA, according to a statement Monday from Education Minister Rob Fleming’s office.

“It is the accredited bargaining agent for all 60 school districts,” the statement says. “It is the only central agency with a statutory mandate to act and speak with one voice on behalf of all public boards of education as employers.”

When then-education minister Peter Fassbender appointed Marchbank in 2013, he said it was temporary, in response to a demand by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to bargain directly with the provincial government. The Canadian Union of Public Employees had also walked away from talks with BCPSEA, saying the trustee-run agency didn’t have an adequate mandate to get a settlement for school district support staff.

RELATED: No ‘showdown’ with teachers, Fassbender says

Finance Minister Carole James announced in September she was consulting on changes to four bargaining agencies, including the BCPSEA. The others are the Health Employers Association of B.C., the Community Social Services Employers Association and the Post-Secondary Employers Association.

The restructuring is to “ensure the bylaws allow for effective advisory structures so that boards have a good line of sight to the operational realities and technical issues faced by public sector employers,” the ministry statement says.

“The bylaws need to provide the board of directors with the flexibility to recruit and select an individual to serve as chair from outside the sector (i.e. someone independent of any particular member employer).”

Just Posted

Ban on retail pot in Chilliwack until legalization comes into effect

City ready to draft a special zone for marijuana retail operations

Horses and science combine for new program at CSS

‘I get to do something I’m passionate about,’ says Chilliwack equine studies student

Automatic sprinkler system snuffs out fire at Chilliwack care facility

Firefighters highly recommend installing similar systems in homes to prevent serious damage

Clippers out-skate Chiefs for ninth win in a row

The Nanaimo Clippers defeated the Chilliwack Chiefs by a 4-1 score Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena

Chilliwack is ready for a little more snow

City Operations crews have been applying brine to Chilliwack roads in preparation for more snow

VIDEO: B.C. superfans soak in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Trio, including two from the Okanagan, have been cheering on Summerland Olympian Kripps among others in Korea

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Lane closures on Alex Fraser, Port Mann bridges considered to avoid ‘ice bombs’

Province spent $5 million clearing both bridges last years

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read