At KGIC teachers felt a need for a stronger voice to work in partnership with the employer for the benefit of the company, employees and students. We certified as a union on November 18, 2010. Prior to the sale of KGIC to CIBT (Canadian Institute of Business and Technology) in December 2009, teachers strongly felt that working conditions had to change. We felt that there was little job security, simple maintenance was not reliably done, classroom resources were increasingly difficult to acquire, and teachers had come to feel they had no voice. This situation became much worse during the transition period after KGIC was purchased by CIBT Education Group, Inc. A pay freeze, which began in early 2009, and pay inequity between the three campuses (Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria), as well as between teachers, also contributed to a growing adversarial feeling.
Since unionization, repairs and renovations have been done and classroom supplies have become more accessible. Transparency has improved and an effective communication process was quickly established between the union and the employer. In March of 2012 we ratified our first Collective Agreement that saw an average 5% pay increase and teachers paid at the same rate regardless of which campus they worked at. When we certified the employer’s reaction was very strong, and it seemed as if an even more adversarial relationship would ensue, but through the process of bargaining each side came to understand the other. Communication has improved and both the union and management have shown an interest in being collaborative and building a positive environment for students, teachers and management.
In September of 2013, the Loyalist Group acquired KGIC from CIBT. CIBT originally bought KGIC for $4.5 million and sold the school for $13.5 million. Clearly having teachers with a collective voice does not hurt the value of a school; in this case, it helped add $9 million in value over three and a half years.
Local 6 uses the Member-at-Large position to ensure representation of its Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria campuses on its executive.
If all campuses are not represented on the Local 6 Executive Committee, then the affected campus may elect a Member-At-Large at the Annual General Meeting, if needed.