There are many different Vancouver School District staff who help to keep a school functioning, from principals and teachers, to those keeping facilities clean, ensuring playgrounds are safe, and serving students food. Those employees focused on the operations of a school are essential to keeping buildings and grounds in the District healthy and safe places – and today, we celebrate them.
These employees include building engineers, assistant building engineers, head custodians, assistant head custodians, custodians, culinary assistants, cafeteria teachers’ aides, food services workers, supervision aides, and maintenance engineers. They are all members of the labour organization International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 963 – which marks its 90th
anniversary this year. In recognition, the provincial government and the City of Vancouver proclaim Wednesday, July 22 IUOE Local 963 Day. In the City of Vancouver proclamation, Mayor Kennedy Stewart states, “Vancouver has always been able to count on the highest possible standards of service” from the members of the labour organization.
Tim De Vivo, Business Manager with IUOE Local 963, says it is an honour to be recognized by both the City of Vancouver and the province – adding the accolades are emblematic of the respect members and leadership have earned, all in service of student education. He adds members “believe in their school communities and the amazing work being done in all our schools and they enjoy being an integral part of their success.”
The work has not stopped through the COVID-19 pandemic. De Vivo says members have been fully engaged throughout the pandemic, offering food services, and doing critical cleaning work.
The credit for IUOE Local 963’s long existence goes to members, according to President Tim Chester. “The work our members do every day has kept Local 963 successful for over 90 years,” he says.
The formal relationship between IUOE Local 963 and the Vancouver School District goes back 75 years, with the first collective agreement between the parties signed in 1945. The organization looks forward to many more decades of public service.