Union conduct needs to be clarified

Kamloops Daily News
December 13, 2012 01:00 AM

Regarding the article SD73 Panned For Disallowing Q&A Session (The Daily News, Nov. 14), information as to why union groups were removed from speaking at the public meeting of the board of education in School District 73 was incorrect.

It stated, "Kamloops-Thompson Teachers Association president Jason Karpuk said nearly 10 years ago CUPE local 3500 president Larry Bancroft was prone to yelling and banging on tables, which led to unions being frozen out of open public discourse."

If I implied in any discussion I had with the reporter that this happened, it is not correct and I am unaware of any evidence that this ever occurred.

The facts are that the board accused the union groups, not Bancroft, of grandstanding and bad behaviour at a board meeting held in Barriere in September 2003.

At the meeting, board members were requested to discuss the salary adjustment for excluded staff, which they indicated they were not prepared to discuss. There was no yelling or banging on tables. In the rationale provided to the teachers' association when it grieved the exclusion in 2007, it was stated, "a representative ignored warnings over 'bad behaviour.' "

There were no warnings produced and the removal of the union groups from the agenda of school board meeting did not take place until February 2004. At that time both employee groups requested to have the union presentation moved to later in the agenda to allow them to respond to committee reports and issues raised during the meeting before decisions are made.

There is room for open dialogue at board meetings, with all stakeholder groups. It is done in many other districts and I believe that with the appropriate boundaries on the question period that it would better allow the board to examine issues from the perspective of all stakeholders, prior to making important decisions.

I want to make it very clear that Bancroft, as president of CUPE, presented for years and was never accused of yelling or banging on tables. In fact, it was never identified what the "bad behaviour" was or who was the "representative" that was responsible.


President, Kamloops-Thompson Teachers Association

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