From your FSA Bargaining Team: Colin Jones (Chief Negotiator), Amy Fell, Terry Gordon, Silvia Raschke, and Maria Angerilli (Staff Support: FSA Interim Co-Executive Director)
On May 27, 2020, your Bargaining Team reached a tentative agreement with BCIT. As per the process for bargaining, this tentative agreement will now be presented to you, the FSA membership, for a ratification vote. The Bargaining Team recommends voting yes to ratify the agreement.
This provides a high-level summary of some of the changes. See the detailed summary in the FSA Members Portal (login required*) of the tentative agreement for specifics.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: This login is not the same as what you use for BCIT platforms. The FSA website is not a BCIT system. If you have never set up a login to our website portal, fill out the new user form and your account will be activated after confirming that you are an FSA member. Thank you for your patience!
From the outset, we knew there was little room to maneuver beyond the government’s mandate of a 2% increase in each year of a three-year agreement. As 300,000 other unionized, public sector employees settled “within mandate”, each successive tentative agreement further reinforced that fact. Then, with the start of a global health pandemic, we began to consider the possibility of a change in mandate for those bargaining tables that had not yet settled. Our focus turned to ensuring all FSA members not only received the 2/2/2 increase, but also received it retroactively to July 1, 2019. We achieved both. We were also able to negotiate additional wage improvements for Student Employees, Assistant Instructors, and the Nurses in Student Health Services. See the detailed summary (login required) of the tentative agreement for specifics on these changes.
Part-Time Studies (PTS)
Inside and outside of bargaining, we have long attempted to make concrete gains for our members who work in Part-Time Studies (or Auxiliary Employment). Always, and even more evident during a public health crisis, it is critical that all workers have access to sick leave and resources to adapt their skills and knowledge for their work. We are thrilled that his tentative agreement brings two substantive changes that start to address these matters.
- A new, pooled Professional Development (PD) fund exclusively for members in PTS
- A new, pooled sick leave fund exclusively for members in PTS
See the detailed summary (login required) of the tentative agreement for specifics on these two funds.
Management Hiring & Benefits
These two items – the role of FSA members in hiring BCIT managers and the levels of extended health benefits that many members have access to – are not usually linked in our minds. Since the beginning of this round of bargaining, BCIT made it clear at all 3 bargaining tables that it was seeking to make significant changes to the management selection process covered by the “Quad Agreement” – of which BCIT, the FSA, and the two BCGEU units are party to. Your Bargaining Team seized an opportunity to make improvements to extended health benefits, the top non-wage issue expressed by members for many rounds of bargaining.
At the time of original “Quad Agreement” no concessions were made to gain the rights it covered. Over the years of the agreement, participating in selecting our managers has become a valued part of exercising rights as FSA members. In this round of bargaining, we have been able to ensure the continued participation of members in the hiring of their managers, while also agreeing to changes that unlocked some of the value in the agreement to be invested in extended health benefits.
The changes to the “Quad Agreement” were the only substantive concessions made in this round of bargaining and resulted in freeing up what your Bargaining Team has come to refer to as QuadBucks™. With these QuadBucks™, we were able to negotiate significant improvements to extended health benefits. See the detailed summary (login required) of the tentative agreement for specifics on these improvements.
While a number of the changes negotiated will make small contributions towards addressing some of the recruitment challenges we have faced, one in particular is a significant change. All initial placement barriers have been removed! In addition to applying to new hires, this will result in a reassessment for members who were hired since June 1, 2014:
“Employees who were hired at barrier during the life of the former Collective Agreement dated June 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019 or up until June 1, 2020 will be reviewed by a committee made up to two (2) representatives from the employer and two (2) representatives from the union within three (3) months of ratification. The committee will review the initial placement of these employees and determine if, on initial placement, they would have placed higher on the salary scale but for the initial placement barrier. If yes, effective September 1, 2020 these employees will move to the salary step they would have been placed at. If an employee has already reached that step or higher, no change will be made. No retroactive salary adjustments will apply.”
Recognition of Indigenous Self-Governance
The Collective Agreement has long included an opportunity for members to take a leave of absence without pay to seek election, and serve, in public office. This level of civic participation in the structures that govern our lives is often assumed for many of us and previously this Article (9.10) was limited to the municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government. With this agreement, this Article extends to Indigenous Government which recognizes and acknowledges the rights of self-governance by Indigenous peoples and is a small step towards aligning our CA with the BC government’s commitment through new legislation, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, that affirms the application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
This covers some of the highlights. See the detailed summary (login required) of the tentative agreement for all the changes.
In no round of bargaining will any Bargaining Team be able to achieve all the improvements members wish could have been made. There will always be items “left on the table,” but bargaining is a process. In less than 18 months, we will be reaching out to you with a call for our next Collective Agreement Committee (CAC) and identifying opportunities for all FSA members to participate in consultation activities towards the next round of bargaining.
What you see coming out of this round is a reflection of the time and effort that you shared with us over the last couple years. You told us through open houses, surveys, emails, and conversations what your priorities were; you voted on a set of bargaining themes, and you were generous with your stories about why these issues matter.
We engage with you to inform these proposals and move us towards this stage – a tentative agreement. The next bargaining process begins right after we ratify this agreement, and we want you to be a part of it. Continue to reach out to tell us what’s important to you, participate as Tech Reps and at general membership meetings, fill out surveys, and utilize the rights available to you. The value in our rights and the strength of our future bargaining position relies upon being able to point to the utilization of our rights in practice.
We are grateful to everyone that supported us in this round and, while acknowledging the many areas for improvements that were not achieved, we are confident that a fair and reasonable deal, within the current political and social climate, was reached. Thank you for trusting us to bargain on your behalf!