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Post Secondary support-Preparations have begun to negotiate your new collective agreement - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Preparations to negotiate the next common collective agreement for post-secondary support services have begun. As a member of the BCGEU, please read this bulletin for important information about your bargaining committee, progress at the bargaining table, and next steps in the bargaining process.
About your agreement + bargaining committee
Your current collective agreement took effect July 1, 2019 and expires June 30, 2022. That agreement covers 3,900 BCGEU members who work at seven institutions.
As your BCGEU elected representatives on the College and Institute Support Service Bargaining Association (CISSBA), we are negotiating your next collective agreement with your employer’s bargaining agent – the Post-Secondary Employers’ Association (PSEA). The PSEA represents all public colleges, special-purpose teaching universities, and institutes in B.C. and therefore negotiates with other bargaining committees from CISSBA is made up of bargaining committees from the BCGEU and other unions whose members work at institutions represented by the PSEA.
We are a strong committee experienced in negotiations and ready to work on your behalf. Your BCGEU committee includes:

  • Richard Schaeffer, Chairperson, BCIT
  • Darryl Wong – BCIT
  • Hailey Thickett, Coast Mountain College,
  • Tennille Penner, Northern Lights College
  • Karolynn Green, Okanagan College
  • Trina Whitsitt, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Lorna Colasimone, Justice Institute BC
  • Ryan Cousineau, Douglas College
  • Linsay Buss – BCGEU Staff Negotiator
  • Jitesh Mistry – BCGEU General Counsel

The CISSBA negotiates two kinds of agreements with the PSEA:

  • The Multi-Employer Table (MET) agreement, which covers all members of the bargaining unit except those who work at BCIT and Kwantlen Polytechnic University; and 
  • Local agreements, which address issues that are specific to your institution.

If you work for Coast Mountain College, Northern Lights College, Okanagan College, Douglas College, or the Justice Institute of B.C, you have both an MET agreement and a local agreement.

Negotiation preparations

Dates: Negotiation dates have not yet been set for either the MET agreement or local agreements.

Joint bargaining of Multi-Employer Table (MET) agreement: In past rounds of bargaining, the BCGEU and CUPE have often negotiated your MET agreement jointly with the PSEA. The decision to bargain jointly is carefully considered before each round of bargaining. On April 1, your committee met with CUPE representatives to compare our lists of priorities and determine whether it’s in our members’ best interests for us to bargain together this round. By the end of the meeting, we agreed that our members’ priorities and goals would be best served by bargaining at separate tables. As a result, your committee will bargain with the PSEA for BCGEU bargaining units only. We will continue to share information and strategies with CUPE throughout this round. 

Proposals: Since last fall, we’ve been hard at work preparing a comprehensive package of proposals to present to the employer. Our preparation included consideration of proposals from your BCGEU bargaining units as well as member responses to a bargaining survey.

Your input has been clear and consistent: you want a fair and equitable contract that addresses urgent issues such as cost of living adjustment (COLA) protections for wages, flexible working-from-home options, and recruitment and retention challenges, while building on the gains we achieved in the current agreement; and recognizing how critically important the post-secondary sector and workers are to the social and economic success of our province.

We also know you’ve gone above and beyond working towards lasting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, eliminating racism and discrimination from your workplaces, and making our province’s post-secondary sector more diverse, equitable and inclusive. Through all of this, you’ve demonstrated commitment, perseverance, solidarity, and professionalism.

Our bargaining proposals are based on all of this. Addressing your demands in your next collective agreement is one way your employer can show respect for everything you’ve done.

Bargaining process explained

Bargaining a collective agreement can be a long and complex process. To help you better understand what’s involved, we’ve produced an explainer video – Collective Bargaining 101 for Post-Secondary Support Services.

The video, which features members of your committee, explains each step of the bargaining process, and is indexed by topic:

0:08 - Determining Bargaining Priorities
2:28 - At the Bargaining Table
3:43 - Reaching Impasse: Escalation and Job Action
6:10 - Voting on a tentative agreement
7:10 - A Deal is Reached

You may also find this infographic useful to visual reference as you watch the video.

IMPORTANT: Contact information – is yours up to date?

It’s critical that we’re able to communicate important bargaining information with you through your personal email and phone number. If this bulletin is reaching you at your employer-provided email address, please log in to the BCGEU Member Portal immediately to review and update your personal contact information.

If you don’t have a BCGEU Member Portal account, click here to request an account. Then watch for an email with instructions to activate it.

And please check with your coworkers to ensure they are receiving our bulletins, and that they also have provided their personal contact information through the BCGEU Member Portal.


As your elected committee, we will continue updating you as bargaining proceeds and will keep you informed every step of the way.

In solidarity,
Your College and Institute Support Service Bargaining Association (CISSBA)