CUPE Local 523 has reached bargaining agreements with SD53, SD67 and SD83. The union represents members employed as teaching assistants, grounds workers, bus drivers, support worker and more. (Photo from Unsplash)

CUPE Local 523 has reached bargaining agreements with SD53, SD67 and SD83. The union represents members employed as teaching assistants, grounds workers, bus drivers, support worker and more. (Photo from Unsplash)

Okanagan school districts reach agreement with CUPE Local 523

The union represents members who provide a variety of services to support students

CUPE Local 523 has reached agreements with three school districts in the Okanagan and Similkameen and Shuswap after a “bargaining marathon.”

According to a release, this is the first time Local 523 has had to bargain separately with Okanagan Similkameen (SD53), Okanagan Skaha (SD67) and North Okanagan Shuswap (SD83).

“It’s definitely made things really interesting. Although there were lots of challenges, our bargaining committee rose to meet those challenges,” said CUPE 523 acting president Tammie Koroluk in the union’s release. “The bargaining committee worked diligently.”

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Following five sessions of bargaining that began in June 2019, SD53, SD67 and SD83 all came to tentative agreements with CUPE 523 in September 2019. The releases states the current agreements expire on June 30, 2019, and the new agreements will be effective July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2022.

“We had our issues with the school district that we worked through. We had a great group of people on the CUPE side and we were able to work through to an agreement that met the needs of both sides,” said CUPE 523 Okanagan-Similkameen unit chair Sean Harris in the release.

“We have a very dedicated bargaining committee who have spent parts of the summer and September bargaining three agreements,” said Koroluk in a separate release. “Our team is thoughtful, resourceful and completely dedicated in making gains for our members. We negotiated language that will benefit our members and we worked collaboratively with the employer in a respectful manner. We hope to build on this relationship as we go forward.”

According to the release, the three agreements with the school districts also incorporate the provincial framework agreement approved by the K-12 Presidents Council in September. Koroluk added that all three agreements were ratified in October 2019.

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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