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President’s Report Sept 2019

Welcome to another school year.  I will make my report brief.

When I became president a few years ago, the Local was in a very difficult position. We had had a change-over in management and many difficulties followed, including a labour relations climate that we did not expect.  Today, I am happy to report that countless issues have been resolved, and we completed bargaining with good results that will assure 0.5hrs per week more for our Education Assistants who have been struggling to get hours since those were decimated by previous governments.

The Province continues only funding 30 hours per week for this work, and as of this bargaining has agreed to fund another 0.5hrs.  The additional hour comes from the Provincial LIF fund, and the final hour from the vacation deferral.

There has been a change in labour relations staff which has improved the relationship tremendously.  We have also resolved a number of outstanding matters, and will feature an explanation in plain language of the new MOA.  In the meantime, it is available for download below and should you have questions, please do not hesitate to call.

We also have a new office manager and welcome her to the fold.  I continue working with the excellent Executive Board from all different schools and departments and with our national representative on a variety of specific, lobby and broader matters.

The results of the bargaining have been disappointing to some – most notably our custodial staff.  However, the changes negotiated are at least something, and we continue working on improving your access to vacations to be taken during the year.  I assure you that short of job action, we tried everything, but funding shortfalls make this a matter of vital importance to the employer as a resource allocation tool.  In the end, we were additionally concerned that members may be negatively impacted by an over-reliance on vacation periods outside the summer, meaning, rob Peter to pay Paul, and inadvertently then discover that many people did in fact want to continue taking their vacations in the summer.  In any case, we tried our best; ultimately, we have to consider taking job action for something like this to change.

We continue being a part of our community, with a planned community picnic in part funded by CUPE National, and continue the long-work of the labour movement to build and defend democracy and the rule of law, and with that aim in mind, we will be attending the next CUPE National 2019 Convention to continue and strengthen bonds of work and solidarity for and with all Canadians.


In solidarity always and with best wishes for a joyous season of learning,

Ian Hillman

President, CUPE 716