Abbotsford Teamsters and school district reach tentative agreement

The two sides headed back to the bargaining table on Wednesday.

Cindy Schafer

Cindy Schafer

A tentative agreement has been reached between the Abbotsford school district and its support staff represented by Teamsters Local 31. Negotiators for both sides met in Abbotsford today and worked out the agreement.

The parties are expected to ratify the agreement within the next two weeks. According to a statement from the school district, details will not be released until ratification by both sides is complete.

This brings to a halt any potential strike action by the Teamsters Local 31, which in Abbotsford represents 800 school support staff such as clerical workers, educational assistants, bus drivers, custodians and maintenance workers.

The local had been in a legal position to strike since Monday afternoon, after issuing 72 hours’ notice to the school district on Friday afternoon.

The two sides reached an impasse on April 10, when the Teamsters rejected the school district’s last proposal and requested the withdrawal of the mediator appointed by the Labour Relations Board.

The union had sought a wage increase of four per cent over two years, while the district was proposing a seven-year term with total wage hikes of nine per cent (3.5 per cent in the first two years and 5.5 per cent over the remaining five).

Cindy Schafer, chair of the Abbotsford board of education, said the board is pleased with the outcome of today’s talks.

“It is a relief that we have avoided strike action by our valued support staff across the district,” she said.

“We appreciate the work accomplished today by representatives from our district and Teamsters Local 31 negotiating teams to achieve this deal. Moving forward, we will continue to focus our energy  on the important job of educating and supporting our students.”