College support staff head back to bargaining table

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5 Apr ’12

In the late spring of 2011, the Colleges and Institutes Support Staff Bargaining Association (CISSBA) put provincial bargaining on hold to try and make some progress at local tables. After months of a frustrating lack of progress with individual employers, CISSBA bargaining representatives are headed back to the provincial college sector table with a position that four years of zero per cent wage increases are not acceptable.

The CISSBA Bargaining team is not interested in taking an extension of the net zero mandate back to BC college members. “Our BC college members are not interested in taking zeros. Anything less than the cost of living is actually a rollback,” says Ian McLean, CUPE National Representative and a Staff member at the CISSBA table. “We are returning to the provincial table, and want to work creatively with the provincial employers’ association to find meaningful gains for college support staff.” To find some gains, CISSBA will examine the possibility of combining the 2010 and 2012 bargaining mandates imposed by the BC Liberal government.

“Our college support staff members deserve a fair and reasonable collective agreement that recognizes the diverse work they do for BC’s public post-secondary sector,” says B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union President Darryl Walker. “Our members have spoken clearly: no more zeroes for the 2012 round of bargaining.”

Other priorities include improved job security language to ensure adequate service levels are met and the possibility of combining employer benefits plans to ensure adequate coverage while actually reducing costs for the individual college employers. CISSBA will also be looking at contracting-in language to help bring outsourced jobs back in-house, which often leads to savings as well.

Unionized college support staff members working in BC’s colleges help students in British Columbia receive quality post-secondary education from application to graduation. They work behind the scenes and in the classroom. From lab support and technical assistance to registration and IT services, BC’s Colleges work because unionized college support staff make it happen.

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