Job action at Central Okanagan schools avoided with agreement

FILE. The school district office. Global News

Risk of a support staff strike at Central Okanagan Public Schools has abated with the union and district reaching a tentative collective bargaining agreement.

According to a joint statement, the deal between Central Okanagan Public Schools and CUPE Local 3523 was reached this weekend.

“With the help of a mediator, both parties worked through the weekend to build an agreement and avoid any job action or interruption to services. The professionalism and hard work of all parties involved resulted in a tentative agreement to be ratified over the coming weeks.”

The agreement that was in place expired at the end of June and there have been no details on what is in the current agreement.

Last week, the union representing more than 1,400 members supporting Central Okanagan Public Schools students in Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lake Country, and the Regional District of Central Okanagan said its membership had voted “overwhelmingly in support of a strike or other job action” that would allow it to strike within 72 hours notice.

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Click to play video: 'Central Okanagan Public Schools helping families with rising costs'
Central Okanagan Public Schools helping families with rising costs

“Since we started bargaining in October, School District 23 has been unwilling to put in the work to reach a fair deal. They have cancelled bargaining sessions, come unprepared to have serious discussions, and refused to agree on any proposals,” David Tether, a Central Okanagan Public School support worker and president of CUPE 3523 said in a statement.

“CUPE 3523 is serious about reaching a fair agreement that respects school support workers and will let us keep serving Central Okanagan public school students. Time is running out for School District 23 to show they are serious too.”

The members of the union work in 46 schools and other learning environments as education assistants, grounds workers, Indigenous support workers, bus drivers, custodians, trades, clerical workers, maintenance workers, information technology support, administrative support, noon-hour supervisors, SWIS workers, library assistants, early childhood educators and Strong Start facilitators.

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