November 9, 2018 Message to Members
Negotiation: (n) formal discussions between people who have different aims or intentions, especially in business or politics, during which they try to reach an agreement.
Representation: (n) the action of speaking or acting on behalf of someone or the state of being so represented.
The BCPVPA’s quest for negotiation representation has been a pivotal theme in our work over the past year. During this time, we have had discussions with our members, Boards of Education, Superintendents and the provincial government. To date, we’ve visited members in more than 40 districts and if we haven’t spent time with you yet, we anticipate a visit in the coming months. Every conversation with our members and partners helps us to further reinforce our message, and to get a deeper understanding of our members’ needs.
We’ve seen progress: the standardized approach to principal and vice-principal Regional Salary Grids has been a success, and we feel that the next step is a standardized provincial framework for negotiation. Provincial negotiation frameworks have proven successful in every other province in Canada, and we believe that alignment with this approach will be mutually beneficial in BC.
We have just completed an in-depth report on negotiation representation for the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) that follows our presentation to the BCPSEA Board of Directors last spring. We look forward to their feedback as we continue along the negotiation representation pathway.
As a starting place, we believe that a provincial negotiation framework would recognize the BCPVPA as the negotiating representative for principals and vice-principals in BC, and the local association as the representative for principals and vice-principals in each district; that there would be a common, but limited set of terms and conditions of employment provincially; a fixed term for each agreement; language defining contract review and dispute resolution processes; and a common provincial language which still allows autonomy for local boards to negotiate on local items.
The provincial terms and conditions of employment could include ongoing Regional Salary Grid implementation, standardized benefits, contract review and dispute resolution language, short-term disability provisions, salary and benefits enhancements and indemnification as possible areas of negotiation should we be voluntarily recognized by our government and employers as the provincial negotiating representative for principals and vice-principals.
At our upcoming Presidents’ and Chapter Council meetings this month, we will provide updates on negotiation representation and seek member feedback about our approach. As I mentioned, our chapter visits will continue and we are beginning to take a similar approach in helping Boards of Education, as the employers, to better understand the benefits of negotiation representation. As we move forward, we will also ensure that our members have the information they need to speak comfortably about negotiation representation if asked by a Trustee or any other contacts.
Our goals in attaining a provincial framework are fairness, equity and sustainability for our members, and a focus on success for BC’s students. Principals and vice-principals take great pride in achieving excellence in our schools, and we want to ensure that our members feel valued for the amazing work you do.