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

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Uchucklesaht Tribe purchases former Redford School

Property will be a “multi-use building” similar to The Thunderbird

Merry Makers create new craft fair for Port Alberni

Hansen Hall fair begins as Work of Heart organizers retire

Port Alberni highland dancers invited to North American competition

Kali Nahorney received honourable mention medals in two categories

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Judge rules against ALC on rural B.C. subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

John Horgan shrugs off low turnout, change to referendum option

‘No’ proportional representation group says voting should be extended

Most Read