It’s all the Premier’s fault – so says the BCTF about disruptions to schools

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk
It's all the Premier's fault - so says the BCTF about disruptions to schools

Calling it “Christy Clark’s lockout” numerous times during a morning news conference, B-C Teachers Federation of President Jim Iker is blasting a move by the government to cut teachers wages and lock them out because of their strike activity.

Iker is especially critical of a move to prevent teachers from any contact with students outside of school hours and during the lunch hour.

He says, “The Premier who once put families first and who just yesterday said that children should not be put in the middle, is launching significant disruptions to our education system.  Premier Clark would rather shut down extracurriculars, prevent teachers from working with students at lunch hour, block teachers from talking to parents about a properly-funded education system, and put the marking of province-wide exams for senior grades, as well as report cards, at risk”

Earlier this week the union announced it would start rotating strikes on Monday.

Iker was asked how the teachers would compromise on wage demands if the government were to compromise on class size and composition.

He dodged the question, “I’ve been very clear that bargaining is about compromise, and bargaining is about moving forward and not backwards. Class size is an important issue for us at the bargaining table and we want to see smaller class sizes for our students come September.”

The union is asking for a 10.75% wage hike over 4 years, which the government has said is much too high.

It has offered a 7.2% increase over 6 years, with a $1200 bonus for each teacher if a contract is signed by June 30th.

Listen to the full statement below:


  1. Iker needs to look in the mirror too, it’s not just the government that is causing tension (and, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the BCTF just issue a strike notice with reduced services and, now, walk outs effective next week?). Without a doubt, this is one area that seems to have become ungovernable. No other labour relations issue seems to ever have this many problems and it doesn’t matter who is in power (so the NDP and its supporters cannot point the finger at the Liberals or, in the past, the SoCreds, when they did the same sort of things). Yet, who gets caught in the crossfire? Students and parents (yep, parents, the forgotten group in all of this). Both sides say they are all for the student, but are they really?

    • That’s right. What’s worse is that the BCTF is not accountable to we minions who are just parents and taxpayers. We have no say in how they attempt to tell US what’s best for OUR kids. We merely are asked to sit back and watch the battle unfold. I have a say in turfing the government if I feel they are doing a bad job, but the BCTF is the untouchable BCTF. This is not democracy.

    • Exactly! The BCTF simply is a rogue labour union who can not seem to get along with any sitting government. It is the BCTF way or no way, until they are legislated back to work.
      Time to just ignore the bleats of the BCTF and force a contract.

      • I wish all you sheeple would understand that you are horrible parents , you give your children no accountability and then blame teachers who have no authority over those children . You go try and teach 35 kids. 6-7 of which should not be in normal class. Then repost about teachers not caring . Anyone that says teachers have it easy has no idea , and should run for gov office. There job is so hard , but noone will complain about there wages .?? You know your government is corrupt when….. .. Unbelievable. ….

    • I don’t understand how all of a sudden this is bad government? The BCTF and teachers began stage 1 and now rolling strikes next week and that’s seems okay with everyone but when the government accepts their choice and doesn’t pay them for it’s not okay?

      Seems like a double standard to me.

      Parents are the forgotten group! I can’t be the only one to see that higher wages are not going to improve the education of our children? Higher wages don’t replace items desperately needed in classrooms and schools.

      In my opinion, the BCTF and their decisions on how to handle this with government is doing an injustice to parents and children! They believe they are putting pressure on the government but in reality it’s putting unnecessary pressure on families.

        • If you paid more attention to all you know the BCTF is also bargaining in bad faith. Plus if you pay even more attention, you will know that there is noway taxpayer can or will pay the greedy BCTF the money they want.

          • does anyone know what bargaining is??? My goodness!!!
            Just like when you went to the store for your mom. Can I spend the change? No. Can I have a dollar? No 50 cents. No. How about a quarter? yes…you can have a quarter.
            Go big at the start and hopfully find something you can live with. Do you really think the teachers know they arn’t going to get everything they ask for??? you bet. But it is how you ask and accept. get with with it people.

        • BC Supreme Court and I believe it’s being appealed (two more levels of courts they can go to for this; so don’t expect this to be resolved for many years to come).
          I do have sympathy re: class composition and more support for SE, less so for class size (a number of studies have shown that class size doesn’t really make the main difference in quality of education). The problem with much of this is streamlining of SE kids, a hot button topic that all parties avoid- because they know it cause more headaches, protests, court cases, since it’s considered a Charter issue to have all SE students in schools no matter what (not just the high functioning Down’s Syndrome student and the like, but also the poor child whose mental ability is at a two months’ old and wouldn’t know the difference whether school was in or not). This is a heavy burden and more support is definitely needed (as well as for behaviourial issues, which from all accounts I have heard have become worse in recent years).
          The issue I have little sympathy for is the pay raise. Effectively no one else, private or public, is getting such a raise (yes, I know, MLAs and MPs give themselves nice raises- which I’m against too, there should be a separate body that oversees and adjudicates that). The BCTF has to come down from that position, if they say they’ll take what the government offers but ask for more help with SE and composition in general, they’d win a lot more people over to their cause. But they won’t, and so the turmoil continues and they’ll get legislated back to work in due time. The usual cycle continues.

        • @Trevor J

          I am not arguing what is currently before the courts. I am arguing here that you can’t have a double standard when the BCTF plays dirty too. Why don’t we wait until the appeal comes through and then make that judgement.

        • You sound like a teacher Trev . . . no wonder the system is failing !

          Iker is just another in the long list of radical loons that the BCTF puts forward as their leader. They have not gotten along with ONE Government in the last 40 years.

        • The sad truth .. Teachers need to put kids in the middle. Tell them how there government is screwing them out of a decent life. The more immigrants we get from 3 rd world ,the easier it is for government to pay poverty wages. After all. Coming from 3$ a day to 10$ / hr is a huge raise. Pack 20 in a house and thats a good life right cristy.? Tell the children to stand up and say we wont be neglected. The stupider our kids get , the more money our government pockets. Why cant you people see this?

      • I don’t understand how all of a sudden this is bad government? If you do not understand why are you commenting? They have been found unconstitutional and bargaining in Bad faith. What more can you say about this Government since 2001 that is good when bargaining with the teachers..

  2. Clueless Cameron was extremely antagonistic and aggressive at the bargaining table (too bad the press didn’t report this).

    He has no right to limit teacher interaction with students or parents.

    Cameron’s just upset about not being able to be the dictator he wants to be–that, and the fact he’s got a European vacation booked that he doesn’t want to miss out on.

    • Antagonistic and aggressive? I’d say those are ideal must-have qualities for dealing with the BCTF. I suppose you’d rather have a wimp.
      If the union negotiators demanded spring break off why would you think the summer would be different this time around? It seems like a safe time to book.

      • Ron, why do you always support the wrong about this government(breraking the laws, bargaining in bad faith) when dealing with the BCTF. Antagonistic and aggressive did it work,will it work thank God for unions that stand up for themselves and not bend from the media circus that the BC Liberals are so keen to do with the photo op queen!

    • Time to define the BCTF in what it really is: “a greedy rogue union” that has zero respect for the taxpayer, the public, or anything else. They want everything their way or else they will not play in the sand box. The BCTF is a prime example of greed, of failure, of total incompetence, of arrogance, of complete ignorance.

      In short the BCTF needs to be ignored.

  3. Nice Try Jim…
    Don’t blame the lockout when you voluntary decided to ditch the students at first. Nobody asked you to go on strike while the current contract is still in place.

  4. Teachers were in their class rooms teaching, taking work home to mark, planning at home, contacting parents, doing extra-curricular activities (and planning these activities), doing report cards, working with students (before school, after school and at lunch). Now the government has ordereed teachers to stop all the stuff they do outside of class time and on thier OWN time. All in a bid to deduct wages. Did they even think what the consequences were going to be for doing this. Government must think that parents and the general public is clueless and will blindly blame teachers.

  5. Anyone, who listened to Christy Clark’s phone-in to CKNW’s sister FM station yesterday, will disagree with Jim Iker’s blaming Christy for the latest government move. Christy did not indicate or even threaten the possibility that the government was bringing down the heavy sledge hammer.

    During her interview, she was optimistic that the two parties could reach an agreement before the weekend. Accordingly, someone forgot to tell the government negotiator and Peter Fassbender that Christy was in favour of a negotiated settlement-not war.

    On second thought, Jim Iker is correct.

      • Below is what I wrote yeaterday.

        “Anyone who heard Christy’s call-in to CKNW’s sister station would have been terribly disappointed in what she had to say. She was flippant and was actually enjoying the fight with the BCTF. She had the opportunity to act very premier-like but she didn’t.

        While, I support the BCTF and the two recent court decisions, I would have given her begrudging respect had she appeared decisive and tough-but she didn’t. I suppose truckers’ strikes are more her cup of tea.

        But then, to her credit, she avoided MILF and cougar speak….”

    • Seems the only thing the BCTF understands is war! The BCTF is like a bull in a china shop and can’t get through their thick heads that their demands will not be entertained. Jim Iker and his cohort need a reality check, either that or be committed to a psychiatric hospital for a serious review of their intelligence.

      Pretty darn clear the public does NOT support their demands.

  6. Uh, Jim, wasn’t it the BCTF who first claimed they were going to go on strike? Shut down the schools? Disrupt the system? You and your militant union need to take a long walk off a short pier.

    The BCTF needs to be disbanded and the teachers, the good ones anyways, need to be rehired based on their merits and paid accordingly. A crappy teacher should NOT be making the same salary as an excellent one, kind of like the real world.

  7. In 1919 a group of 178 teachers in Victoria, BC, staged a two-day strike over salaries – the first teacher strike in the British Empire. It led to the formation of the Ministry of Education in B.C. As in 1919. the matter won’t get resolved without leverage on both sides. All this union busting will end up in court, likely before the SOC, which has confirmed free, fair, open collective bargaining under collective rights in Canada. We’re not going back to good ole days of union busting. And I refuse to subsidy your economic failure (BCRIC, CFI, IPP, Carbon Trust, LNG, etc.). Education has worked nicely in B.C. for more than 100 years. It’s our economic policy the past 25 years that is a laughing stock. Get a job, add value and start contributing to society.

    • There is a really strong justification where labour unions in some sectors are more of a detriment than good. I happen to believe that education is one of them, not only in BC but across Canada. In fact, as a taxpayer, I am getting really tired of Public Service unions who now have the attitude that their is a bottomless pit of money to feed their greed.

      • If that greed was coming your way, you would head for the highway? You right winger’s are always the first one up to the trough! Reaganomics with it trickled down effects can’t you feel it!

        • Wrong! I, for one, wouldn’t be a member of a union like the BCTF for any amount of money. They could never be my voice! I have my own voice and it has served me just fine.

  8. Is the Government right here Cristy has had it in for the BCTF since she was Education Minister. by telling teachers they are going to cut their wages for working to rule is way over the top when it comes to collective bargaining if they tried that with any other union in the province there would be hell to pay. Having said that the BCTF is not entirely right either, by stating that teachers would have to cancel grads, track meets they play right into the governments hands.

    The right course would be to carry on with extracurricular activities show the parents they are about the students. That they actually care.

    If the government has $1200.00 for each teacher then they have money to correct some of the things that we are hearing about all over this province. The government telling teachers they cannot show up until 45 minutes before class starts is beyond stupid.

    Quit fighting this in the media bring in Vince Ready or someone like him and get on with it.

    • Again, we forget that twice the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against the BC Liberals in their dealings with the teachers. They seem to snub the courts decisions. So, what part of this don’t you understand. Christy Clark always had it out for the teachers.

      • And once again, Arthur, the same Judge ruled in both cases. She couldn’t very well rule against her own ruling in the first case. Doesn’t hurt to get at least a second opinion on this case as the BCTF would have insisted on a second opinion if they had lost.

      • Sorry, but it wasn’t the Supreme Court of Canada, it was the BC Supreme Court, which is why the BC government has the option of appealing it to the next level (the BC Appeals Court and if they fail to win then, they can then go to the Supreme Court of Canada). This could drag out for years and the BCTF does not have any certainty they will won in the end either.

        • They have more certainty that a government that was unconstitutional and bargaining in Bad faith and never followed the courts ruling the first time and they did not take an appeal to the BC Supreme Court ,they took that option the second round! They still have not followed the court ruling about restoring funding and class size and composition in the first ruling,they just rammed the same bills at the problem.Great governance from the BC Liberals,bullies first agenda.

      • Arthur, first its only the Supreme court of BC. Second, both sides are bargaining in bad faith. Third, I still don’t see why the teachers should get 21.5% of wage raise. I didn’t even get 2.15% last year.

      • Arbitration in this instance will not work. Arbitration simply causes the parties into more adversarial positions as the Union would demand the sky, while the employer does the reverse. The result would be something in the middle, which usually would not be any advantage to the taxpayer.

        Arbitration works in the private sector, but in my view should never be used in the public service sector.

        • (The result would be something in the middle, which usually would not be any advantage to the taxpayer) Then you would just like the status quo or kill the unions? They way you talk is they don’t deserve anything.

    • If the government has $1200.00 for each teacher then they have money to correct some of the things that we are hearing about all over this province.

      Good point, but the greedy BCTF still not happy about it. They want another “zero” behind the 1200. Sorry, I am not going to buy it unless “Jim”, you are going to pay for that.

  9. As a parent of a graduating student and the husband of an EA I have to say I’m getting sick and tired of all the finger pointing. Isn’t one of the first things we terach our kids is not to “BLAME”? We must ALL have the humility to accept some blame ourselves instead of just pointing fingers. I just had a quick scan of the BCTF web site and it reminds me of something right out of WWII excpet for the newer technology. It’s propaganda at it’s finest directed at trying to get it’s members as riled up as humanly possible. Mr Iker, while you have the mullett of a gung-ho union leader of the 1970`s we are in a new era. Don’t get me wrong, I dont believe the BCTF is totally at fault here but if they want things to get better they have to learn that getting public sympathy is critical andfrom what I see they are doing the exact opposite. Kinda like the Posties going on strike right before Xmas…. Why not do the 1 week of rotating strikes then step back and say OK we have shown solidarity now we want to prove that the kids are our priority so we will not be taking further action before next year but if we can`t sit across the table and negotiate with an equal participant then we will truly have no choice but to take action in September. THAT would start to bring the parents and the rest of the public back on board`and would force the government to show their true faces. All BCTF and CUPE (EA`s who are forced to not cross the picket lines) workers who feel they have no choice but to accept this understand you do have a choice. The idea of a union is to give workers a voice so use yours. Unfortunately unions use every intimidation method possible to force their workers to agree with everything they say or do. Also, remember, while you are trying to find ways to pay your bills and feed your families Mr. Iker isn;t losing cent 1. I was an HEU member during the last strike there and was told over and over again to Stay strong brother and fight the fight, this contract offer is garbage. But…….as soon as the government threatened to fine the union and not the members all of a sudden we heard Well, we have re-reviewed the last offer and it really is pretty good so we recommend you ratify it. Hmmmmmmm…..sorta puts the idea of the union for the worker in a bad light doesn`t it…….

    • Let us be clear, the average Union member really has zero influence on what their elite clique decide and do. I suspect most teachers are reasonably happy with their wages and benefits as they currently are. I suspect that teachers are concerned with the classroom composition issue. With some minor exceptions class room size is likely not an issue.

      The BCTF fails miserably to identify the real issues and tends to always go for every issue which in their minds MUST be achieved. Nice objective, but the BCTF are so narrow minded with greed and the all important ‘we want to control’ education, that they miss the obvious. There is a limit, but the BCTF just does not care.

      We see good solutions with most of the Public service unions who actually use logic, but the BCTF simply ignores the obvious,

      In my view the BCTF is a complete ‘rogue’ labour union.

    • Listen to your propaganda if the union was afraid to lose money , it’s not their money it belongs to the members. The union could say to ratify, but the membership can say no with their vote where were you in all this just watching and complaining? The workers are in control at all times if they want the fight! The union heads speak for them so it does not spill out into the streets! I guess you hate unions but love the pay and benefits.

  10. private sector to public sector – we are still in a recession or do you not know that?
    i agree that people should be paid fair but if we don’t start building Pipelines, dams, and LNG plant soon where do you think the money will come from to pay your salaries?

    i hear the same old same old story, i work long hours, weekends, and don’t get any respect. well in this day and age you’re not alone. most people don’t work like that but if you do than that’s great!

    come and sit in the seat that pay’s your salaries and you will be surprised too know that the economy isn’t what you may think it is.

    if you had a taste of my problems you would walk away whistling!!!!!

  11. To all the teachers on this post – tell me what the BCTF has done for you that you could not have accomplished or exceeded on your own? If you are a dedicated, productive, accomplished, skilled employee you do not need a union. In a non-union environment, you are recognized and compensated for the value you are adding. You are not brought down to the level of the weak. A union only exists to protect the bad at the expense of the good.

    You good teachers know this to be true. Why do you put up with the crap from your union?

  12. Still trying to understand why the union hasn’t really challenged Essential Service designation. Why the focus on restoring contract language? I would have thought Essential Service authority is more threatening to teachers. Could it be the union would rather swell its ranks, rather than increase the pocketbook of current teachers. Puzzling.

    • Not withstanding that I do believe that educational services should be deemed ‘essential’ services in all of its functions, it is clear that the BCTF does not really care about the kids but rather their own welfare.

      What is more interesting, given the claim that teachers are supposed to be intelligent, and have some logic, is why the they have not used their logic to counter the radicalism in the BCTF.

  13. Both Christy Clarke and Jim Ikner are petulant children. The people that are getting hurt the most are more mature than both of these clowns… the children.

    Chrusty the Clown and Jim “Bozo” Ikner need to both grow up.

    Christy – take some grammar lessons. Jim – Get a hair cut an maybe , just maybe you will both be taken seriously!

  14. Speaking of salary demands and ability of taxpayers to pay….

    Let me see… The government spends our taxes to hire public servants or anyone who wotks for a crown or quasi-private crown corporation. It also pays doctors and purchases goods and services from the public sector.

    Now, it must spend our tax dollars responsibly.

    So does ourgovernment limit the increases in doctor fees, salaries and bonuses to public sector executives as well as the increases in cost of goods and services acquired by government to the average increases paid to the public sector. I think not.

    Moreover, is the percentage increase in government-provided services by way of Ferry fares, MSP premiums, ICBC premiums and BC Hydro limited to the average of public sector pay-rate raises or the percentage pay increases being paid to private sector employee?

    There is no comparison….

  15. What is wrong with all you haters? First off, if not for unions, the rest of you would be working 7 days a week, working in unsafe conditions and making next to nothing for it.
    Why not spend the same energy arguing why the CEO of your company doesn’t deserve $1m a year and bonuses when you haven’t received more than 2% in 10 years?!
    You are bickering about other people wanting to make a living wage because it is more than you make not realizing than unions set the presedent for all.
    It makes no sense to me why anyone trusts this Government, as they tell us there is no money for increases for anyone, they give themselves increases.
    It really seems like some here like feeding the extremely rich %1 with more earnings on our own backs. Perhaps it is time to question the distribution of wealth rather than helping these greedy corporations or government pay themselves rather than paying us.

    • This is a Public Sector Union Graham . . . the Taxpayers pay the freight.
      Not the same as working for a Private Business . . . where if they make bad decisions it goes BROKE !
      Today . . . most in the Public Sector are paid much higher than their private sector counterparts . . . hence there is NO justification to give them a raise . . . if their profession in the Yukon or Ontario pays more . . . they are FREE to MOVE.

      “Question the distribution of wealth” ? ? ? I believe we had that experiment . . . it was called Socialism and was a dismal failure all over the globe.

      Perhaps its time to look at how govt / teacher relationships have been dealt with in other jurisdictions. Like say Milwaukee . . . interesting article . . . perhaps we should examine something similar here . . . after ALL it is ABOUT THE CHILDREN and their Future . . . yes ! ! !
      Teachers’ Unions Panic as Scott Walker Moves to Expand School Vouchers

      More options for parents = better education = accountability in the public system.