With the government turning up the heat in its dispute with the BCTF, many are wondering if it’s time to turn to a labour-relations legend to calm things down and hammer out a deal.
Vince Ready is, no doubt, one of the best in the business.
Vancouver School Board Chair Patti Bachus says maybe it’s time to seek out Ready, or someone like him.
“I don’t follow his career daily, but I know he has a very strong and highly respected record, so I would hope some options like that would be considered.”
Even though a negotiated settlement between the provincial government and teachers seems far off, Professor of Employer Relations Ken Thornicroft doesn’t believe a third party mediator would help the situation.
“One of the reasons you sometimes bring in a mediator is because the parties are having a difficult time communicating with each other and that doesn’t really seem to be the issue here.”
Thornicroft says the issue lies in wage increases. He doesn’t believe the Province will reach BCTF’s demands because of the position it has taken with the other unions.
BC Teachers’ Federation President Jim Iker also says he doesn’t think now is the time to approach Ready.
“Well, we have a facilitator currently at the bargaining table. We have options in terms of the Labour Relations. That includes mediation, includes arbitration at some point in time and you know, those are options that we will consider probably when we’re actually closer together.”
Peter Cameron–the lead negotiator for the BC Public School Employers’ Association– says he’s open to having someone like Ready step in, but agrees it’s too early in the process.
“And get a mediator in to say what? Typically, the mediator moves in when there’s a kind of a zone by which the mediator can move and help parties get to a deal.”
The multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association representing 47-thousand health care workers announced a tentative five-year deal was reached recently with Ready’s help. That deal included a wage increase of 5.5 per cent.