Clearview strikes deal with its support staff

“Improved benefits” for Clearview School Division support staff highlight a new three-year contract with the Canadian Union of Public

“Improved benefits” for Clearview School Division support staff highlight a new three-year contract with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“Trustees are very proud of the work done by the board, staff, and administration in finalizing discussions,” said Ken Checkel, who chairs the board, which completed discussions last week with the local CUPE.

“These salary and benefit improvements help ensure that Clearview Public Schools continues as a first-choice employer in our local communities.

“When we provide fair salaries and great benefits, we retain and bring in the best staff to work with our students.

“Talks with our staff were always positive, and together we moved forward with agreements that all stakeholders could agree on.”

Checkel said support staff, with teachers, play a vital role in the education of students, and include “staffing teams,” such as teaching assistants, custodians, secretaries, bus drivers and maintenance workers.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) agreement, which was settled for three years in June 2013, was used as the benchmark for non-union staff. Improvements to the new support staff agreements include increases in family illness leaves, the standardization of wages, the addition of a $300-per-year health-spending account, and added clarity for statutory holidays.

Bus drivers now can bank on receiving sick-leave benefits and accidental death and dismemberment benefits, with all other staffing groups previously receiving those benefits, the deal states.

The focus of the discussions with the support staff groups was to create fairness and equity for all employees.

All staff saw improvements to their agreements, the board said.

“Management and staff worked together to find creative ways to improve benefits without incurring additional costs to school budgets,” Checkel said.

Teacher bargaining, which will continue in late September and is scheduled to conclude before Dec. 31, is the last negotiation process still to finalize.

Clearview Public Schoolteachers received a province-wide solution, which will see increases in salary towards normalizing to the provincial average over the next several years.

That agreement when finalized would provide labour stability until Aug. 31, 2016, and includes a commitment by the school division and with teachers to review teachers’ workload.

“We have a really positive and excited tone again this year as schools are reopening,” said John Bailey, the Clearview superintendent.

“Staff are eager and ready for a great year with our students. These agreements with staff teams show we value the work they do and the success they help create for our students.

“I know staff appreciated the board of trustees support in addressing some longstanding issues, and being creative in finding solutions under our financial realities.”

Trustees have asked senior administration to review with schools the hiring and staffing practices for part-time staff, such as teaching assistants, to ensure fairness for access to benefits available to full-time staff, the board said.

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