Tom Kertes and other educators at the March for Child Care Equity

Families, early childhood educators, unions and child care advocates from across BC marched today to stand up for the value of child care. Child care supports families, opens doors to education and employment, helps build a strong and healthy economy, and promotes community well-being. That’s why public investments are worth the cost, especially given that universal and publicly funded child care pays for itself from economic benefits to the overall economy alone.

“The educators at UBC are doing what it takes to be recognized as professionals. Every day we apply professional knowledge and make informed judgment in the provision of child care for over 500 families at UBC. We are also leaders of our profession, advancing accessible and affordable high quality child care for all families, and insisting on professional wages for professional work.

We got organized. We developed our leadership. We demanded the respect that our profession deserves, by working within our union – at the grassroots level. Out of this work, our victory this week reflects a major a step forward. We just moved gender pay equity and professional recognition a step forward.”

Tom Kertes, founder of the Liberation Learning Project and Bargaining Committee Coordinator (BCGEU)

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Tom Kertes at launch of the Child Care Equity at UBC launch

Ballots for the vote were counted today, and members voted 93% in favour of accepting the tentative agreement.

This marks an important step forward for child care professionals at UBC.

The bargaining committee thanks members for their support and involvement throughout the process. Thanks to you, we are working together and making a difference!

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Ratification Meeting – March 4

by Tom Kertes on March 3, 2013

The union and employer bargaining committees began mediation at the Labour Relations Board (LRB) on Monday, February 25, and reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday, February 27.

Your bargaining committee strongly recommends that members vote yes to accept the tentative agreement.

Details of the tentative agreement will be provided at the ratification meeting, where members can vote.

Ratification Meeting:

Monday, March 4, 2013
6 PM to 7 PM
Child Care Services Gym

Voting will begin at 7 PM after the meeting, and members can continue to cast their votes with Lee McArthur until 3 PM on Thursday, March 7.

Please note that the monthly membership meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 5 will be rescheduled to a later date.

If you have any questions, please feel free to speak with any member of the bargaining committee.

Your committee worked hard during this round of bargaining. We appreciate your support and the strength you provided us.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee:
Ingrid Keen, Bargaining Committee Member
Tom Kertes, Bargaining Committee Coordinator
Lee McArthur, Bargaining Committee Member
Selena Kongpreecha, Staff Representative ‐ Negotiations

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Bargaining Heads to Mediation

by Tom Kertes on February 23, 2013

After the strike notice was issued two days ago for Friday March 1, the BCGEU received notice from your employer indicating they were making an application for mediation at the Labour Relations Board (LRB).

We are willing to participate in mediation at the LRB, which is scheduled for this coming Monday, February 25. We have agreed to stand down from all strike action pending the outcome of mediation.

However, in the event that mediation is unsuccessful, we will not hesitate resume strike action.

As a result, the status of the March 1 job action is uncertain.

If we cannot come to an agreement in mediation, we have 48 hours from the time mediator declares that he/she is unable to resolve the matter before we can take any strike action.

Members whose centres are scheduled for the picket line on Friday March 1 will be contacted by the picket captains as soon as mediation has concluded, to advise whether we will be going out on Friday March 1 or not.

As a reminder, two days ago we issued a strike notice for next Friday March 1 that would affect the following UBC Child Care Services centres:

  • Little Raven Daycare
  • Lilliput Daycare
  • Owl at the Barn Daycare
  • Pacific Spirit Daycare
  • Summer of ’73 Daycare

We want to reach a fair tentative agreement that recognizes our members’ qualifications, responsibilities and value.

We will provide additional updates as we work through the mediation process.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

In solidarity,
Ingrid Keen, Bargaining Committee Member
Tom Kertes, Bargaining Committee Coordinator
Lee McArthur, Bargaining Committee Member
Selena Kongpreecha, Staff Representative – Negotiations

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72 hour strike notice served at UBC Child Care Services

by Tom Kertes on February 21, 2013

To BCGEU Members at UBC Child Care Services:

Earlier today the BCGEU served 72 hour strike notice at UBC Child Care Services.

In order to provide parents with sufficient time to arrange alternate care for their children, we will begin job action on Friday March 1.

Rotating job action will begin on Friday March 1 at the following UBC Child Care Services centres:

  • Little Raven Daycare
  • Lilliput Daycare
  • Owl at the Barn Daycare
  • Pacific Spirit Daycare
  • Summer of ’73 Daycare

This rotating job action will support your bargaining committee’s proposals.

We remain committed to negotiating a fair and reasonable new collective agreement that recognizes our members’ qualifications, responsibilities and value.

Thank you for your continued support. It makes a big difference.

In solidarity,
Ingrid Keen, Bargaining Committee Member
Tom Kertes, Bargaining Committee Coordinator
Lee McArthur, Bargaining Committee Member
Selena Kongpreecha, Staff Representative – Negotiations

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stroller-poster-2-1

Strollers for Child Care!
Noise Parade to Christy Clark’s Offices

Saturday March 9, 2013 (this is the Saturday the day after International Women’s Day)
Gather at 11:00 AM (parade leaves at 11:30 AM)
Jericho Beach to Clark’s Offices (4th and Alma)
Gather at Jericho Beach parking lot at West 2nd past Wallace Street

Spread the word: Download and distribute the poster

Organized by the Liberation Learning Project, BC Fed, BCGEU, CUPE, and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC.

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UBC Advised: BCGEU will be taking job action

by Tom Kertes on February 20, 2013

To BCGEU Members at UBC Child Care:

Following the strike vote in December, your bargaining committee met with the Employer on February 14 and 15, 2013.

The committees continued to address the outstanding issues of wages. The committee was disappointed by the Employer’s response, and we were unable to reach a tentative agreement.

The Employer has been clear through this process that they are unable to agree to a pay correction for our bargaining unit, because of the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) mandate.

Based on the mandate for wages that the members have given the union bargaining committee, we were unable to agree to the Employer’s proposal.

We have advised the Employer that we will be taking job action. The bargaining committee will meet next week to plan job action, and will continue to keep you posted.

Thank you for your continued support. It makes a big difference.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee:

Ingrid Keen, Bargaining Committee Member
Tom Kertes, Bargaining Committee Coordinator
Lee McArthur, Bargaining Committee Member
Selena Kongpreecha, Staff Representative – Negotiations

Originally posted by BCGEU on February 15, 2013

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Update: Ubyssey Reports on Bargaining

by Tom Kertes on January 3, 2013

From the Ubyssey:

The union representing child care workers on campus now has an active strike mandate.

The UBC child care bargaining unit of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) local 303 voted 94 per cent in favour of job action last month, after negotiations stalled with the university.

The unit doesn’t have any job action planned, and its bargaining committee will meet this week to discuss how to proceed.

The workers are asking for a “pay correction” from UBC, a minimum wage of $20.00 per hour for its members. UBC child care workers currently make between $11.81 and $21.19 per hour.

Union local chairperson Andrea Duncan said the union hopes to return to the bargaining table with the university soon.

“We are very interested in getting back to the table and achieving a ‘pay correction’ that reflects the value, qualifications and responsibilities of early childhood educators at UBC,” wrote Duncan in an email.

“We got a very high strike vote, which shows how committed the bargaining unit is to achieving professional recognition.”

Last month, UBC spokesperson Lucie McNeill said the university is also willing to return to the bargaining table.

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Strong strike vote for gender equity at UBC Child Care

by Tom Kertes on December 21, 2012

From the BCGEU:

UBC childcare workers have voted 94 per cent in favour of job action to back their bargaining proposals.

“Our UBC childcare members have given their bargaining committee the strong strike mandate it needs. That should send a clear message to the University of British Columbia: childcare professionals at UBC want improved wages that reflect the true value of their services to the university,” says BCGEU president Darryl Walker.

There are no plans for job action at this time and UBC Child Care Services will operate as usual over the holidays and early in the new year.

The union sought a strike mandate from the 160 Early Childhood Educators it represents at UBC after negotiations broke down on November 28. BCGEU childcare professionals at UBC are seeking an improved wage scale that reflects their role as a professional body of the university.

“Early Childhood Educators are teachers, not babysitters,” says BCGEU Local 303 Chairperson Andrea Duncan. “They are college trained, government certified professionals. Their wages must reflect the skills, training and value they provide UBC faculty, staff and the wider community.”

Quality childcare services help UBC recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff. This reality should be reflected in the pay scales for its Early Childhood Educators. Childcare services also open doors for women students seeking education and employment opportunities at UBC.

“UBC Early Childhood Educators are seeking professional wages in the childcare sector; a sector that is 95 per cent staffed by women. We have a vision at UBC Child Care Services of reaching fair and reasonable wages by March 8, 2013 – International Women’s Day,” adds Duncan.

UBC Child Care Services manages over 500 spaces for children aged infant to 12 years old and is the largest campus-based childcare system in North America. All BCGEU staff are certified Early Childhood Educators.

The BCGEU is the leading childcare union in British Columbia, representing over 1,500 Early Childhood Educators in 150 bargaining units.

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94% Strike Mandate for Pay Equity at UBC Child Care

by Tom Kertes on December 20, 2012

From The Ubyssey:

Child care workers at UBC have voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike, and could start job action in the new year.

The workers, represented by a bargaining unit within the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) local 303, held a strike vote from December 11 to December 18 after negotiations with the university broke down.

According to a bargaining bulletin put out by UBC, the union does not plan to undertake any job action until the new year.

According to union local chair Andrea Duncan, the workers haven’t decided yet what shape job action will take. “The bargaining committee still needs to assess what their options are in terms of any potential job action,” she said. “Ideally we want to get an offer that reflects the professional standards of this bargaining unit. If an offer like that comes in, we’d be willing to go back to the table.”

The union is seeking significantly higher pay for their work — they say they’re asking for a “pay correction,” rather than a pay raise. According to a pay-scale document available on a union-associated Web site, UBC child care workers are currently paid between $11.81 and $21.19 per hour, depending on job description and level of experience. The union has asked for a minimum hourly pay of $20 for all workers. read more

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