Education Minister Rob Fleming (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

The B.C. NDP government is moving to unwind changes made by the B.C. Liberal government to union bargaining, starting with restoring a majority of elected school trustees to the board of the agency responsible for bargaining with public school unions.

The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association was restructured in 2013, with Michael Marchbank, CEO of the Hospital Employers’ Association, appointed public administrator for school bargaining in addition to health care talks.

The BCPSEA board is meeting this week to change its bylaws, restoring the ability of school trustees to elect seven members to the association’s board. The province would retain authority to appoint up to four directors.

It is “important and beneficial” for school trustees to have a direct role in governing the BCPSEA, according to a statement Monday from Education Minister Rob Fleming’s office.

“It is the accredited bargaining agent for all 60 school districts,” the statement says. “It is the only central agency with a statutory mandate to act and speak with one voice on behalf of all public boards of education as employers.”

When then-education minister Peter Fassbender appointed Marchbank in 2013, he said it was temporary, in response to a demand by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to bargain directly with the provincial government. The Canadian Union of Public Employees had also walked away from talks with BCPSEA, saying the trustee-run agency didn’t have an adequate mandate to get a settlement for school district support staff.

RELATED: No ‘showdown’ with teachers, Fassbender says

Finance Minister Carole James announced in September she was consulting on changes to four bargaining agencies, including the BCPSEA. The others are the Health Employers Association of B.C., the Community Social Services Employers Association and the Post-Secondary Employers Association.

The restructuring is to “ensure the bylaws allow for effective advisory structures so that boards have a good line of sight to the operational realities and technical issues faced by public sector employers,” the ministry statement says.

“The bylaws need to provide the board of directors with the flexibility to recruit and select an individual to serve as chair from outside the sector (i.e. someone independent of any particular member employer).”

Just Posted

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

Qualicum Beach man arrested after women report disturbing phone calls

Suspect threatened to kill victim’s family if she did not engage in sexually explicit conversation

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Highway 19A closed in both directions near Union Bay

An incident involving a vehicle has shut down Highway 19A in both directions early Saturday morning.

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Most Read