Teachers' contract a 'relief' to Cowichan
No pay raises and no change in class size or composition—the two major things teachers spent a year bargaining for are missing from the new tentative agreement.
But there are positive aspects to the proposed contract, according to the Cowichan District Teachers' Association President Shellie Trimble.
“I have to admit that I’m not excited but I feel a little bit of relief, she said. “Because what was on the table on the employer’s side were some pretty heavy concessions that would have seen quite a few of our rights and our collective agreements stripped, and those are off the table now.”
The role of seniority was at risk of becoming less important, but the new contract keeps it a factor when hiring or promoting.
The new contract also sees health benefits harmonized around B.C. districts, which Trimble said will bring the Cowichan Valley up to speed with other jurisdictions.
“Because Cowichan Valley teachers had a slightly less than standard benefits package, we’re going to see a very slight increase in that.”
And that boost is slight. For example, she said while teachers received $175 every two years in coverage for eyeglasses, that benefit will rise to $200 every two years.
She said at end of the deadline for contract negotiations, it is a relief to have a negotiated contract instead of legislated one.
The teachers must ratify the proposed agreement and are expected to do that by Friday.
Photo: Cowichan teachers on two-day walk out in March
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