School support workers waiting to get schools ready

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School support workers waiting to get schools ready

Unionized school support workers say the clock is ticking and the province has yet to give the union directions to get schools ship shape for September, as the education dispute continues.

CUPE BC president Mark Hancock says the situation is not dire yet but his members usually are in schools getting things ready to go by next week.

With teachers locked out, abruptly ending the school year, Hancock anticipates some extra work this year.

“The bigger concern would be around the major maintenance, the big cleaning crews going in, and some of our trades folks having access to the buildings. I know there was some picketing going on in some schools around the province over the summer so it might have been disrupted. If the government is saying that they aren’t going to be any disruptions if a deal is reached then you know there maybe some overtime required.”

But Hancock wouldn’t say if there is a drop dead date when school will be delayed just to get them ship shape.

“Again it is going to depend if there is picket lines. There hasn’t been a lot of picket lines during the summer so our members have been in there doing a lot of those services. It is more the clerical support staff that go back the week or so before school starts. Again if there is no picket lines our members will be going in and doing our jobs because we have a collective agreement in place.”

The ministry of education says it doesn’t think any deferred maintenance will keep school from opening, if and when, a deal gets done.


  1. Considering the government has plans to direct strike savings to parents of U-13 students, what is the rush in getting schools open for September 2nd? There is no point in directing CUPE to start getting schools ship-shape as picket lines will be set up as soon as CUPE is directed to enter the idle schools.

    Just think of the additional savings accruing to government if CUPE is prevented from crossing picket lines. Perhaps Mike de jong will be able to increase the daily allowncw from $40 per U-13 student per day to $50. Every nickel increase to affected parents of U-13 students will help.

    Surely my suggestion fits in with the government’s plans to keep the teachers out for as long as it takes.

    What if the teachers dig in their heels and go along with the government’s decision to shut down schools this fall?

    • It takes a special kind of bizarre to make an argument that purports to care about the finances of others. I care about my finances and those of my children going in to the future. The province’s financial well-being is so remote to me it is almost of no consequence personally. What a total phoney. Get the schools open or get the recall ballots moving.

    • I have a couple of buddies that are CUPE, and they mentioned to me that as a benefit for ratifying their agreement, the government promised to give them full daily pay for any days they missed during the past and future lockout/strike.
      They were somewhat bribed into signing off on the new deal, because their reps were led to believe that the Libs were planning on starving out the BCTF with a long lockout until BCTF gave up on the class size/class composition issue.
      Knowing that the Libs were planning on breaking the BCTF, CUPE members needed to sign their deal out of necessity. Many of them are very poorly paid and to lose two month’s salary would leave most of them in financial ruin.
      So whether CUPE is working on the site, or joining the picket lines, they should be receiving full wages.
      Speaking of contracts, a few of my teacher friends have explained why the BCTF asked for what sounds like a ludicrous $5000 signing bonus!
      What the government doesn’t want the public to know is that the BCTF was the only public sector group that did not get a cost of living allowance (C.O.L.A.) increase for two years, a couple years ago. To try to recoup this loss, the BCTF could not ask for this money in a salary increase. The reason being, is that all public sector groups have what is called a “Me Too” clause in their contract. This “Me Too” clause states that if any one group gets a higher % salary increase than the normal range, the other groups are automatically entitled to the same increase. So whether right or wrong in people’s opinion, that is how the BCTF is trying to recoup the lost C.O.L.A that all other unions got those previous two years.

  2. As usual you have it all wrong. Do You Not understand that the BCTF (Teachers) are on strike?
    They are the ones that have shut down the schools.
    I think you should spend some time learning about Labour disputes and how Strikes work.
    Totally amazing, but given the poster not surprising
    If you don’t understand the dispute, perhaps you should not comment.

  3. Highly unlikely since teachers do have bills to pay. They can dig in their heels but when the mortgage payments or rent start becoming due then you will see the cracks.

  4. The fact that the government pays any CUPE member who refuses to cross a legal picket line by teachers who are on strike is rather self-serving. Such a tactic should be considered an illegal inducement anyways but then they also paid two guys to plead guilty.

    No private company will pay another union for refusing to cross a legal picket. In fact, a private company will often seek an injunction to prohibit legal strikers from preventing another union from working.

    But there is always a first time…..And why should we care that the government pays another union to stay home that actually works in the teachers’ favour? No school prep or maintenance gets done and the government self-imposes an unnecessary doubling of costs.

    And it’s a free country….. And some are perfectly free to not read or comment on it. And nothing compels me from posting because someone doesn’t like it.

    Yes teachers have bills to pay but IF IF IF the government loses its appeal at the SCOC (the court of last resort), they may get get some of that back.

    Of course should that happen, teachers will still get blamed because the government broke the law in the first place……if the SCOC so decides.

    And I’m with the teachers. They deserve better treatment.

    • You really don’t understand do you?
      What it was, was good negotiating by CUPE.
      Perhaps your beloved BCTF should try it.
      How well has your Union done for you so far?
      From a once proud profession, to a Trade Union that is looked down upon by other Trade Unions.
      Time for a reality check, Teachers.

      • And now you praise CUPE for smart bargaining? Implicit in your logic is that your government which you so defend was stupid to agree to such a contract demand.

        You must have been on the government negotiating team. There is no other explanation. Two stupids?

  5. Christy and all you MLAs. Please do not give in to this spoiled gang that call themselves teachers. Its time to ask for clawbacks and right to work laws.