The Abbotsford Board of Education has expressed disappointment that strike notice was served to the school district by Teamsters Local 31 on Friday April 25th, 2014, advising of their intention to take strike action in the coming days. This means that as early as the afternoon of Monday, April 28th, the Teamsters could be on strike.
“The Teamsters did not provide the District with any details as to the nature, location, or specific time of their impending job action,” said Superintendent Kevin Godden. “We do not anticipate that any action will be taken in the immediate future, but as soon as we know more, we will send formal notices home to parents so that alternative arrangements can be made if needed.”
“We are concerned that strike activity will cause wide-scale disruption to students, families, and the normal operation of our schools. With 68 of 69 support staff locals having now ratified this agreement, Teamsters Local 31 is the lone union local in the province which has not accepted the framework offer.”
The Teamsters negotiating committee rejected the school district’s last proposal on April 10, and requested the withdrawal of the mediator appointed by the Labour Relations Board. The BC Public School Employers’ Association, representing all school districts at the bargaining table, had successfully negotiated a two-year Provincial Framework Agreement with representatives of all other school district support staff unions in September, 2013 which has since been ratified by other union locals around the province. In addition to a number of other provisions, the Framework Agreement provides for salary increases of 3.5% for support staff over the two-year term of the agreement.
“We have continued to attempt to reach a resolution with the Teamsters. With the assistance of a mediator appointed by the Labour Relations Board, the district recently offered a longer-term agreement to address the Teamsters’ concerns around employee benefits,” said Superintendent Godden.
“It’s important that we maintain our focus on the needs of the students in our schools and ensure that their education is not interrupted by an unnecessary labour dispute,” said Superintendent Godden. “We are optimistic that the Teamsters will return to the bargaining table to conclude an agreement for our Abbotsford support staff.”