Chilliwack school district contract talks going to mediation

School support workers on Vancouver Island on strike after mediation efforts break down

Contract negotiations between the Chilliwack Board of Education and the school district’s unionized support workers are headed to mediation.

Both the board and CUPE Local 411 have agreed to the appointment of a mediator by the Labour Relations Board, the school district said in a statement released Monday.

Local 411 represents 924 unionized school district employees, including education assistants, custodians, clerical staff, maintenance and trades.

The news comes as more than 8,000 students in Saanich stayed home Monday after picket lines went up around schools in that Vancouver Island city. CUPE support workers there issued a 72-hour strike notice over the weekend after mediation talks broke down.

“The Chilliwack school district and the local union are working to conclude negotiated provisions of the collective agreement with CUPE Local 411 consistent with the Provincial Framework Agreement concluded in September 2018 between the BC Public School Employers’ Association, the bargaining agent for the province’s public school districts, and representatives of support staff unions in the K-12 public education sector, including CUPE,” the district said.

The Provincial Collective Agreement provides for general wage increases of six per cent over the three-year term of the agreement as well as other key matters.

“The school district and the union are scheduled to meet with the mediator on November 5 and 6,” said board chair Dan Coulter. “We greatly value our support staff and we’re committed to work fully with the mediator to conclude a collective agreement that meets the needs of both parties.” he said

“We remain focused on the success of our students and hope to resolve the outstanding issues to ensure there is no disruption to their school year.”

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