12/02/2014 07:44 EST | Updated 02/01/2015 05:59 EST

CUPE locals ratify collective agreements in 53 B.C. school districts

BURNABY, B.C. - Unionized support workers in 53 school districts across B.C. have met a deadline and ratified collective agreements with their employers.

This past June, the Canadian Union of Public Employees approved a framework agreement that gave their roughly 27,000 members a 5.5 per cent wage increase over the five-year contract.

But bargaining between the union's locals and their employers continued on issues that were specific to each school district in advance of an end-of-November deadline.

The union says its locals achieved more hours for education assistants, better extended-health benefits, and a commitment to a job evaluation plan that would address recruitment and retention issues.

CUPE spokesman John Horsfield says the union made sure the agreements were fully funded and it looks forward to putting into place the positive gains.

The union represents education assistants, school secretaries, caretakers, First Nations support workers, IT workers, trades and maintenance workers, and bus drivers.