Today’s teacher contract negotiations cancelled

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Today's teacher contract negotiations cancelled

Contract talks scheduled for today between the Provincial Government and the B-C Teachers Federation have been cancelled.

Peter Cameron is the government’s lead negotiator.

He says, “That’s right, yes, we’re in caucus, both sides are in caucus, reviewing their positions. The main reason for that is that we’ve said to the BCTF it’s urgent that we get on with real bargaining but it’s impossible while you’re there, asking for several times what anybody else has got in the public sector. We’ve got 116-thousand people have settled and a very clear pattern, and the BCTF says we just want a whole lot more.”

On Monday the union begins rotating strikes and the government begins a partial lockout.

Cameron was speaking with Michael Smyth on the Bill Good Show on CKNW.

BCTF spokesman Rich Overgaard says after yesterday’s session, both sides agreed they needed to further consider their positions.

He says some discussion could take place on the weekend, but talks are officially set to resume Monday.


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  1. When will the Gov’t learn that “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.
    You try to goad the teachers to strike.
    Stop the threats and bullying and negotiate fairly.

    • Fairly? How is 21.5% wage hike fair? Almost ALL other BCGEU unions have been settled, never the BCTF. Why? Because they are using “education” and “children” as their tools.

      • This is exactly why we need binding arbitration! Let an independent arbitrator decide which arguments and positions offend common sense. This removes it from the authority of the BCTF – it’s fast, efficient, and binding.

      • So threats, and bullying is how you work. I don’t agree on how much the teachers are asking for but is not about just cash in their pockets.
        Go into a classroom and see how many kids are sitting and twiddling their thumbs because they can’t get help.
        All Clark wants to do is privatize the education system.

        • So you think this is a Christy Clark agenda to privatize BC’s public education system. Really? Why don’t you educate yourself on the Public school act of Canada before you make more embarrassing statements

    • How does anyone provoke the BCTF into a strike.
      Hell they took a strike vote BEFORE putting all demands on the Table?
      Did same thing last time This is totally unheard of in Collective Bargaining .
      It is obvious as to who wants to Strike.

    • Given the government has been doing the same thing with the rest of the unions and there are deals with all of them, it would seem the only difference is the union, is this case, it’s the BCTF.

  2. It’s nice to see that more posters are joining the call for binding arbitration to settle this impasse.

    I’m in favour of a binding arbitration process. I will not prejudge the outcome and will accept the results whichever way it goes. The process will ensure that the submissions of each side will be carefully weighed and a fair decision rendered.

    Interesting that there is opposition to binding arbitration because “the BCTF will not like it and will whine.” Such comments opposing binding arbitration originate from those who are totally against the BCTF from 2002 days.

    In actual fact, they believe that binding arbitration will favour the teachers. They are correct!

    And there is a view that this government was elected to put an end to this impasse and put the BCTF in its place. That is also correct-to a point.

    Except the the principle of law and the BC courts got in the way. “The rule of law applies to everyone and government is not above the law.” By extension, anyone who advocates that our provincial government pass legislation to tear up contracts and impose collective agreements in contravention of the Constitution is also saying that the principle of law does not apply. In short, it is all right to break the law to achieve your goal of putting the BCTF in its place,

    Having sadid that, as I indicated before, the provincial government has the right and power under our constitution to carry out “what it was elected for.”

    How? All it takes is for the provincial government to invoke the “Notwithstanding Clause.”

    To those who advocate running rough-shod over the BCTF by invoking the above clause,, consider that your organization, business or personal freedom may be the next casualty. Unfortunately, there are consequences and many do not think out the consequences of what they advocate.

    Once the genie is allowed out of the bottle, we cannot cherry-pick whose rights may be obliterated. What do we want? 1942 again?

    • Your incite is one of the only sane arguments on these pages these days. Pun intended, I’m sure.
      Democracy and freedoms will always raise up the middle classes. But it seems democracy has little effect in wealthy nations where voters are too apathetic or busy spending the wealth freedom afforded them to educate them selves.
      In our world of technical wonders, it seems propaganda and influence peddling have more vehicles in which to be delivered.

      • When insite says he’s in favour, we best all get on board. Haven’t you learned this?

        As for his comment on the courts. It’s before the courts. A contract is needed now, and must be settled. If the courts decide otherwise, then open the talks then. For now, let’s settle.

    • You keep simply calling this an “impasse”. There is NO common ground on the horizon. If it wasn’t so toxic with taxpayers, parents and kids as the losers, it would be almost laughable how they are far away from reality. The BCTF has been engaged in combat for decades and has made crystal clear that anything resembling a truce is not an option. This won’t just stop because someone tells them to.

      • To be fair, during the last decade the Liberal Government has gutted education and as the Supreme Court pointed out bargained in bad faith. Those are important factors to take into account when judging the BCTF. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of either Liberals or the BCTF, but responsibility for this dispute seems to fall equally upon both parties – ultimately education suffers.

        • “gutted education”… get real Garp. The world is not always according to you. More money each and every year and learning outcomes at record levels. Define gutted for us all.

          • Thanks for asking. Take a look at this website on CKNW


            The evidence is unequivocal that the Liberal Government has systematically either withdrawn funding or failed to properly fund. That’s real – too bad comment on that story has not been allowed.

        • There’s no gutting there, Garp. That’s your interpretation. Tackling the teachers union is not gutting the education system. Declining enrollment, increased hiring, no curriculum change and so forth is what’s causing stress on the system. Change is needed. From both sides.

      • Ronnie:

        I agree there is no common ground. If there was common ground this circus would not be playing out. That’s why only “binding” arbitration will settle the impasse. Take the rhetoric and politics out of it. FYI, arbitration decisions are final with a very few exceptions.

        The government is not going to put the BCTF in its place without breaking the law. Nor does the 2013 election give the government the unfettered authority to deal with the BCTF as it pleases.

        I have suggested a lawful way for government to put the BCTF in its place as a last resort. But ithat requires the government to act constitutionally by invoking the Notwithstanding Clause (with the caveat if it dares).

        Let’s face it-you will not support binding arbitration because you believe an arbitrator will rule in favour of the teachers. You are probably 100 percent right. The BCTF has a very compelling argument to suppport salary levels that are in-line with other provinces along with two court decisions upholding its right to bargain class size and composition.

        But your world will not come to an end if an arbitrator favours the BCTF in these negotiations. If binding arbitration is mandated permanently into BCTF negotiations, the government will have future opportunity to re-negotiate when the contract term expires. Like anything else, the pendulum will swing back and forth until a sense of balance is achieved. The on-going threat of binding arbitration will, out of necessity, force the parties closer together.

        Now, imagine if an arbitrator rules in favour of the BCTF in the next three contract negotiations. That would lead to the inescapable conclusion that government has had it wrong all the time-do you not agree? But, the converse is also very true.

        I maintain binding arbitrator works both ways. Then it doesn’t matter what the government, BCTF, you or I think. The rule of law will prevail and life goes on.

  3. You cannot negotiate with the BCTF. For the last 40 years it has been the same thing over and over. Doesn’t matter which govt is in power they can’t negotiate with the BCTF. The BCTF forgets that the govt. Is their employer. I read the other day that a member of this union said the should be classified with Doctors and nurses. Now, that says it all.

    • I know you’re at least 100 Rose, but to young kids we are as important as doctors….Do you not value education in our society as much as that new hip you need, but some of us do..As I’ve said before , I’ll pay $500 a month for my childs education, if Seniors over 65 pay $1000 a month more into BC Med care…

        • Yup…..I see how it works…She can be rude about teachers, but when i bring up how much we waste on the baby boomers sucking the Med Care dry, I’m the bad guy….I value education and health care equally…they are important parts of our society, but for some reason when we don’t have kids in the system, we feeli its OK, to support cuts in funding…If we want to privitize the system and get rid of socilaism, I for one am compeltely for it…Same with CPP, I don’t want to pay into that either…I’ll take care of my money, and pay for what I need… The old farts should be grateful that we middle aged are working are arses off to pay for all the programs in theis province…I feel like I have 10 kids, not 1, with the amount of money I have to pay in taxes…

      • I sure hope you are just an elementary school teacher so that your students have time to forget the crap you are selling. Teachers = Doctors, what a laugh!

        • The part where the court said the Liberal government has been negotiating in bad faith and tried to provoke a strike to gain public support.
          After all the public uses no thought of their own and only regurgitates left or right of the last 20 sec snip-it they heard in the local news.
          There is a whole world gray out there. But it takes a bit of individual thought, independent of the six o’clock influence peddling.

  4. The BCTF put their best foot forward, stop the rotating strike, and demand binding arbitration. If the province had any sense they would welcome that with open arms – that is the key to resolving this ongoing madness.

  5. The demands made by the BCTF will cost billions-and yet no one is too interested in discussing where the government is going to get the money. Because, on top of this there is a huge looming cost for the aging population and the associated medical costs. More billions. Yet, just about every private sector initiative that might generate more economic activity, and thus more tax revenue for government, is opposed by the progressive left, including the BCTF. These people are living in a fantasy world.

    The biggest problem with the existing education environment is that there is no chance for reform so long as the BCTF is in control, through their contract. And, the system is in urgent need of reform. But, the BCTF is concerned first for its members, and if reforms in any way diminish their power, they won’t happen.

    Expansion of private schools is the only solution-let parents take their per child share of the education budget with them in the form of a voucher, and reforms will happen. There will be no reforms in a monopoly government-union system. And our kids are the poorer for it. The next contract, when it is reached, will just entrench the status quo for all concerned.

    • Interesting view. Private schools and a voucher system are the answer? Is that where the government is taking us? That would explain why the lockout over summer; teachers have no contracts, new teachers can be hired. This would bust the union. How about arbitration?

      • Garp, every time the BCTF causes disruptions in the schools with their strike actions etc. the Private (Independent) School enrollment goes up. Check the numbers over the years. The BCTF is the best advertisement to those Schools than the Gov’t could ever be.
        Due to the last strike, my Grandson enrolled in Independent School, as he was just getting into the higher grades and his parents didn’t want to take another chance. Now I have a Granddaughter in same situation and she is now enrolled also.
        Of course you will never get this through to the BCTF.
        One good thing for the BCTF in a six tears deal, is it will slow down the bleeding.

        • I feel your pain. I’m very familiar with private school; how they are funded and why enrollment increases. That is why I am interested in public education. Teachers however are only part of the equation.

  6. I know I’ve said this before, but what if the BCTF was put on par with the average Canadian teacher’s salary? Would that not be fair? If not, why not?

    • What would be more fair is if teachers were paid on merit. Put an accountability system in place to evaluate the learning outcomes of every single teacher – then pay them according to performance.

      Pretty foreign concept to unions and those on the left, so I can’t see the BCTF ever agreeing to that. Their mandate is to protect the weak and reward the militant.

      And riddle me this… why don’t we have a teacher shortage in BC given the horrible working conditions, disrespect and low pay? Why have we not seen a flood of teachers over the border to the green pastures of Alberta? Why haven’t we seen teachers quit and move to the private sector? Why have our learning outcomes improved in the past 10-years given that class size was no longer under the control of the BCTF?

    • You need to look at the total package that teachers get including benefits and pensions. If bc teachers were willing to put those items on the table in exchange.

      As an example the government contribution to teachers’ pensions are higher in BC by Ontario by about 15%, plus or minus a couple of points depending on the calculation.

    • WE live in B.C. Wages should be based on B.C. rates and Taxes. We are not Alberta .
      Compare Teachers to those with equivalent Education/skill etc. in B.C.
      When you do that you will find that Teacher show quite well.
      AS Taxpayers we cannot afford the Whip-sawing between Provinces.
      Also, would the BCTF be willing to take the Canadain average on Benefits ? I doubt that very much.

  7. How much will this cost? And where is government to get the money? Until those issues are dealt with, the answer is no. Because it is not fair to the rest of us. And, just bear in mind-income tax rates in BC are lower than elsewhere-teachers can end up with a similar net to other places with a much lower gross.

  8. We don’t have a teacher shortage in BC for two reasons:

    1. Cuts over the last 12 years have left us with well over a thousand fewer positions. Declining enrollment is not a factor when you average across the province.

    2. University teacher education programs are churning out new teachers at a rate that is far beyond the demand. These institutions are treating teacher education programs as a tuition cash cow.

    • A thousand fewer positions and learning outcomes are at their highest level ever. Also, the Education Budget has increased by 32% over that same period. No wonder the majority of British Columbians see the BCTF for what they are. Self serving, me first whiners!

      • And how much of the increased budget has gone to pay for hydro, gas or carbon tax. You may not have noticed…but things do get more expensive over the years due to inflation. Second point…you cant have it both ways…if learning outcomes at the highest…then reward the teachers with a raise for achieving it

  9. When every other public union is settling for about 1% , Iker is still clinging to his 4% wage demands, a wage increase we haven’t seen since the 80s… just like Iker’s mullet. I hear some parents say they support the teachers but l never hear them say please tax me me more. BCTF demands will cost an extra 400 million more every year or about $200 for every family. Talk is always cheap until you have to pony up. The BCTF knows they will never get 4% and will be legislated back so why not throw a public hissy fit as they’re being dragged kicking and screaming to the principal’s office.

  10. All the people complaining about how much class size and composition going to cost us now. What if Liberals hadn’t illegally taken it out of contact with BCTF…then only thing to negotiate now would be salaries or tweaking class size and composition. Liberals illegally took money out of education….now they must put it back.

  11. Global Eyes On Our Teacher Strike?

    Is the whole world watching our teacher strike? Well, probably not. However, you can be sure a certain sector of international culture is deeply interested. I have seen our four-decades-long education struggles prominent on global socialist sites. Our teacher union, the BCTF (BC Teachers’ Federation), is seen as a vanguard in “social justice unionism”. Reports from the battle lines are sent out regularly.

    Feedback is that “Lots of folks all over the world [are] taking notes from BCTF.”

    Fabian socialism is alive and well — into their 130th year — motto: Educate, Agitate, Organize. Their method — incrementalism, gradualism. Their byword mouthed by their mascot, the tortoise — When I Strike, I Strike Hard.

    A report just received by Rank & File (Canadian left labor website)— motto: Agitate, Educate, Organize — so similar to Fabianism — is here: The ABCs of the BC Teachers’ Fight

    Even if an arbitrator were to resolve this tumultuous faceoff between union and government there is no guarantee that our toxic “status quo” would ever end — harmful and tiresome for students, parents and taxpayers. No, it would just continue for another 40 years!

    What we do need is legislation to change the ball game. This experiment in monopoly mass education is the lifeblood for such obsolete behaviors as we witness today. Activists find fertile ground for their progressive political mission.

    We do need to increase the opportunities for choices and alternatives in education. Already BC has quasi-charters — independent schools which operate with partial government funding and which must abide by contracts outside the rules of school boards and union agreements and which promise not to foster sedition.

    We do need to move to a system where fully funded public charters are available, as in Alberta. And, we should seriously explore the promising new funding model for personalized education via Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) as found in Arizona.

    • Excellent posting. The BCTF’s mantra is agitate, educuate (members to be good union foot soldiers) and organize. When Iker says “kids first” he obviously means they will be tossed under the union bus if they don’t get their 4%.

  12. Is there no way we can get rid of the BCTF . and their spoiled brats members. Christy now is your time to take these guys down. You have the public behind you and more teachers than you know.