CUPE reaches agreement with school board After almost a year without a contract the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Howe Sound School District have come to a tentative agreement. The two-year contract was ratified by the school board last week and members of CUPE local 779 voted to accept the collective agreement early this week, said Lynn Wilbur, president of CUPE local 779, which represents support staff, including bus drivers and custodial workers. "What we have is a two-year deal starting last January, which was when the last agreement ran out," Wilbur said. "It's a long process and I wouldn't say it worked out easily, but it's nearly done." Wilbur said CUPE members, frustrated with the speed of the talks, had authorized union leaders to take a strike vote three weeks ago. The strike vote was not taken. According to Nancy Edwards, secretary-treasurer of the Howe Sound School District, the agreement will not be final until it is ratified by the Public Sector Employees Council. PSEC was created by the NDP government to help speed up and streamline province-wide negotiations with teachers and other local unions. In this case, the local agreement has been ratified by both the board and CUPE members, yet it is going to take two-weeks for the PSEC ratification to come through. "I am optimistic that the PSEC ratification will happen within the two-week time frame," Edwards said. Both Edwards and Wilbur said specific details of the agreement would not be released until the PSEC ratification is added to the documentation.