Fassbender blasts union on first day of rotating strikes

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Fassbender blasts union on first day of rotating strikes

Since last week, the union has said the partial lockout that begins in all school districts around the province today, puts at risk extracurricular activities.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender calls that “truly puzzling”, saying the true disruption to student learning comes from the BCTF’s leadership decision to turn students away from their classrooms.

Last night the BC Public School Employers Association sent the union a letter, saying the lockout does not effect any voluntary extracurricular activities by teachers, such as coaching.

Fassbender also says, “Parents and students don’t deserve this disruption. We should be resolving this dispute at the negotiating table, not in the classroom or on the picket line.”


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  1. He’s right! Parents and students don’t deserve this. So why doesn’t the Minister admit the real reason all of this is happening. The Liberals attempt to skirt around the Supreme Court of BC’s ruling against them. They lost the same case 3 times with HEU, and have lost twice to the BCTF. While they are attempting an appeal, the precedents are clear, they will be required to restore the illegally stripped contracts. Everything in this latest disaster of negotiations is based on the premise of forcing teachers to abandon their case. So do the strikes impact students and parents? Yes. Could they be avoided? Yes. However the only way to avoid them is for Fassbender and Christy to accept the inevitable and move forward with restored class size and class compositions. IF they do that, and talks still fail, then clearly the BCTF needs to be taken to task over the failure (which has happened before, repeatedly). The current strike is the fault of the Liberals and their refusal to act in a legal and lawful manner. Until that happens all these events that impact students the most are due to the government and not the teachers.

    • You are so spot on Darcy. Believe me I’m no ally of unions but what Christy is doing is pretty sad and really a disgrace to government. It appears she is above the law and is on a power trip. Yes the students suffer and parents are scrambling to adjust schedules. But from what I have been hearing and discussing with many parents is that Christy and her puppets are acting in a provoking and in some terms a bullying manner. She does not have the support acting in such a manner and she should actually really think about her actions before implementing. Class size and composition is a major issue so let’s address this and not blindly ignore it.

    • I’m alive to your points, however, while the argument continues, children are compromised; the risk of a child missing a graduation, or a planned field trip etc is unthinkable – we were all there once.

      Send this issue to an independent party for resolution, now!

  2. If that really is the case Darcy and that is all that needs to be resolved can you get the BCTF to say make the following statement? “If we resolve that issue we will forgo the wage increase we are demanding and also modify the gold plated benefit package that teachers get so it is more affordable to taxpayers?”

    • I guess when the politicians do the same maybe the teachers will. Talking about the kettle being black Dale. Government pays people to come here and troubleshoot every comment not in their favor. I wonder how much money is being spent for people to use comment board to further their political agendas that could be going towards a negotiated settlement?

      • If you are suggesting I am being paid then you are sadly wrong. Maybe the Union paid you to suggest I was. Nope I am just tired of the constant threats by the BCTF and the unreasonable demands. It has been nonstop friction no matter what government is in power. They are the most militant union in North America.

      • If you think people are actually being paid to voice their opinion, you must have very little respect for those with different views than your own.

        With regard to getting to a negotiated settlement, if the BCTF dropped their dues (highest in the country), stopped trying to buy a government that would then give them all that they demand with all those extra dues then perhaps teachers would have a more take home pay and just think how far that would go to getting a deal.

      • Ole Boiler Plate Ken . . . spouting nonsense again . . .

        The reality is . . . the BCTF was unable to get along with the Social Credit Party, the NDP Party and now the Liberal Party . . . for the last 40 years.
        The problem in education is the BCTF . . . who care little about the children and only about how few days a year they can work and their bank accounts.

        If they cared about the children . . . would education be on a slide in this province, would Reading, Writing and Math be suffering to teach kids about nonsense like Gorebull Warming? Social Engineering has been going on at an ever increasing pace for decades now . . . with the result being kids that can’t even figure out your change at the store without a cash register.
        They have been dumbed-down . . .

        The solution . . . every student should get a govt Voucher for a year of education. They can take this voucher to a school of their choice, be it private, charter or public.
        Make membership in the BCTF . . . Optional . . .
        Make the BCTF collect their own dues and benefits . . . the taxpayer should not be on the hook to do union business . . .

        The result will be an education system striving towards a functioning high-quality system . . . competition raises ALL boats.

    • The BCTF provokes and belittles teachers all by themselves without any help from government. They alone falsely make our great teachers appear to be self-centered and greedy. This message has not come from the many governments they have bargained with which makes me wonder why the dissatisfaction among teachers isn’t growing a lot faster than it is with such shoddy representation?

  3. How is this a lockout issue when the BCTF stated they were going to strike months ago.

    The BCTF should stop pretending this isn’t wage wages and benefits. Iker states they are only asking for 10.75 over 4 years but forgets to mention that doesn’t include an increase for cost of living and another ‘adjustment up’ for inflation. Those added items taking the increase to close to 4 times what the other public sector union accepted. I’m not sure if they think they are fooling the public or themselves. And that doesn’t increase increases to the benefits and pensions they are demanding but are unwilling to make public because they know the type of backlash there would be.

      • “We’ve tabled 10.75 per cent over four years, plus variations of cost of living,” he (Iker) says, the variations would bring it to 15.9 plus benefits/pension increases. Look it up. There are some slight differences based on location.

        Both sides have stated that benefits and pensions are increasing on top of any wages increase.

        In July of last year the taxpayer’s portion of the teacher’s pension was bumped up a little over 10% (BCTF website). I don’t recall Iker mentioning that.

    • I’m so tired of hearing Public Sector, Public sector…I didn’t win the loto…I went to school, got educated and became a teacher…I wasn’t a golden child, I just made the choice, as did you to work in the public sector…I never have the chance to make a miilion dollars, andI’m OK with that….The public sector does.Its not my fault you suck at business, or you have a boss who doesn’t believe in sharing his profits….If you hate your job and lack of wage increases than go be a teacher…Its open to anyone…Or shut-up about the poor public sector because it has no relevence to this problem…

      • I like my job and why would I want to take such a pay cut?

        I just don’t understand how the BCTF can suggest that they only way to keep a quality education is to pay teachers 4 times what the other public sector unions accepted?

        Are they underperforming now because they feel they are underpaid and only that kind of increase will motivate them to bring their standards up? I’m not sure.

      • Wow Dave. You have an issue with the Private Sector – you are Public Sector if you are a teacher. And you teach our students? I am so sick of you union give it all to me folks blasting bosses who don’t share profits when you know nothing about what is done with those profits. Like perhaps creating more jobs and contributing to the taxes and growth of this province. Take a risk and go in to business and see how easy it is. Would be a lot easier if we still had the HST. I am a small business owner and the loss of the HST meant having to lay off an employee that I was able to hire with the savings. I pay my employees in excess of $85000 per year – in fact sacrifice my pay at times to make sure they get what they deserve.

        • You’re breaking my heart…What a Saint…You’re not reading whqat I’ve saud….!!! If you hate your situation than QUIT…Become a Gov’t Employee, or quit whinning about your situation…It has nothing to do with this situation.

      • Dave – most people in this province didn’t win a lotto either. Most people in this province aren’t “golden children”. Most people are just hard working (and yes there are a lot of hard working people not being paid by tax dollars) who get up every day and go to work. No 6 weeks holidays, no pension plan, no sick days, etc. etc. A lot of the people in the “private sector” are also highly educated, and unlike teachers who suck, if they suck at their job they lose it or they go out of business. They do not have the extra benefit of job guarantee if they “suck” like you suggest. Don’t for get, it’s the private sector who pays your wages and benefits.

        • Again…Boo Hoo…. You made a choice…!!! Thats what you signed up for…If you want better, than go out and earn it, if not in BC then somewhere else…The teachers are not to blame for this province’s lack of leadership… Public Education costs money, regardless if you think teachers are well paid, we also pay taxes, and we also can’t afford things when the price goes up…How many taechers do you know drive Bentley’s..??.The Gov’t makes it look like we’re living the highlife….Ask a teacher how the High Life is going for them… We signed up for teaching knowing what we were getting, as you signed up for your career knowing what you’d be getting…Didn’t work out…??Ah well, keep trying and quit complaining ……

          • I sure hope you don’t teach my children. I have a feeling that you’re one of the slack jawed teachers who hides behind your union. You chose your profession. If it’s so bad get out. You state you’re highly educated, prove it go and get a job in the private sector, maybe start your own company and make the millions that you cry about.

          • Ray whats your point…????? I wasn’t saying its bad, I’m just tired of people making out like we’re living like millioners and don’t desreve it… Iw orked 7 days a week, and went to school full time for 5 years and also started a t a low wage in the early yearsr. I also have my Masters which cost me %$30,000, so I’d say I desreve to have a decent wage…. I IThe Private sector is set up for those who want to make money, adn go out on their own. I got into teaching becasue I enjoy woking with kids…. If you’re not making money in your job than thats the risk you took… I gaurantee you didn’t get into business so you could scrape out a living…. You made the wrong choice , so suck it up and try something else… Maybe teaching….!!!??? Teachers are not draining this province dry, and for the record I do believe we get good pay and benefits, but like everyting else in the world prices and inflation have gone up, and we haven’t had a rasie in three years…. I think 2% which adds up to about $100 in our pocket a month is not unreasonable..

          • Dave get over it. Never complained about what I do for a living and in fact could not even imagine doing something else. Love it and look forward to getting to my office every morning. If I was complaining every couple of years like teachers do then maybe you would have a right to suggest we should join the public sector like you decided to do. I commend you for making your choice but quit trashing the private sector people that pay your wages. If you hate what you are getting then quit and move on to something else.

          • My point is simple. You rant on about the private sector and boo hoo etc. Nobody here is complaining about their job only you. Don’t make enough money, you DESERVE more because you went to school for 5 years and so on and so on. You knew what you were getting into when you went into teaching, the pay package and the very generous benefit pack that goes with it. What gives you the right to say you DESERVE more when you haven’t proven your worth. An educated person who has no experience is just an educated person who can’t teach. But I digress, you knew the compensation when you got into teaching so if you don’t like the pay, get out of the profession like you so elegantly tell other people here.

          • Dale…I gaurantee you’re on UI…I’m I right….?????? Or CPP….!!! Maybe Teachers should work for free…At the end of the day, we should get a bag of food, and a bus pas to get us home to our one room basement suite…Thta would be fitting for us teachers…. You’ve been right all this time…. Legislate them back for 20 years at 0%…That would be even better…make them work 12 hour days…Please add to the lsit when you get the chance…..!!!

          • And Dave you are so wrong in your comment about what I am on and not on. Nope sorry to ruin your day but I happily came to work this morning at 6:15 – will work for another hour or so and then happily go home to my wife and mother who we look after. Don’t make a mint (not even as much as most teachers) but am a happy man. Will continue to do this for at least another 15 years or more.

            No I do not think teachers should work for free (some of my best friends are reasonable teachers that are to afraid of the militants like you to speak up). I just think you need to learn what is affordable and respect for other working people. You have clearly shown your political views here today and I really hope you do not spread those views in school – it is not what I pay you for.

        • I complain, because as soon as the teachers want a modest raise, everyone is on these threads saying how lazy and undereserving we are…Should I smile and say your right…??!!You guys started this fight, so be man enough to fight, or shut-up, and don’t post on threads…I’m here defending my position, I’m not an unreasonable person, we haven’t had a raise in 3 years, and now I’m getting docked 10% becasue of some drummmed nonsense about being locked out…What would you do if you were in my position…?? You’d be on this thread fighting like I would….

          • Dave I went back over the “thread” and you started the rant about poor old you, and the rhetoric from you and your union. Find the extra money, you go on and on about funding. The VSB, also left wing ndp sycophants, in their wisdom, turns down a $475,000 donation from a company because ideological differences. You complain about funding cuts, want a larger raise than all over public sectors, and yet have no idea how to raise the millions and millions of dollars necessary to fund it and yet your allies in the VSB would rather complain than find resolution!!!

          • You actually started the thread. No one had been complaining until you came along. Never said you were lazy. Getting docked pay because you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing seems right to me. When other unions strike the members do not get paid for not working so why should you? Oh right you are a teacher and we are supposed to bow to your every demand. I do believe you went on strike and the government never used the locked out tool until they were left with no choice. When the union will not negotiate then what other option do you have? I suspect back to work legislation would be best anyway – give you 0% over 5 years with additional money put towards reducing classroom sizes and not wages. I would vote yes to that – would you?

          • Modest raise? Your wage and benefits demands will cost taxpayers $654million. Your class size and composition demands will cost the taxpayers $2billion.

            If this is modest, how would you define generous?

            Do you drag this angry, militant attitude into the classroom? I hope not.

          • Dave, $2.5 Billion is not a modest increase. Why the hell can’t
            you and your ilk understand that. The Taxpayers have had enough.
            That is the entire problem with the Teachers, calling that a modest increase.

    • But don’t forget they pay almost the lowest in income tax in this country. Would they like an increase in their taxes to pay for the increase in their wages?

      • Lowest taxes in Canada? True when applied only to personal income tax. We pay higher MSP than almost anywhere in Canada. ICBC and BC hydro pay huge sums of cash to the gov’t which causes them to raise rates, so in essence is a tax. We have one of last tax freedom days in Canada. So lowest income tax is a typical BC Liberal misdirect. Something they are very good at. They had hundreds of millions for BC Place roof, and the Olympics and their raises, and their henchmen raises, but no money for the 9th highest paid teachers whose students score 2nd or 3rd on national achievement tests. Everyone screams accountability there it is. The gov’t has provoked a strike for the second time in two years, and until they stop nothing will change. If the gov’t negotiated fairly and legally, and things still go wrong (as has happened in the past) then blame the BCTF and teachers. The current struggle is not their fault. Not this time.

      • Lowest taxes maybe but look at all the fees & premium increases and hidden taxes such as the money grab from Hydro and ICBC, no I think if you add in all that government takes from the public we would be up there with the highest taxed in the country.
        Lets remember that every dime government takes in is a tax.

        • Talk about net pay not taxes in general that’s a whole different topic. Teachers say they are 2nd lowest paid. Someone in Ontario making 6,000 per month pays about 420.00 in provincial income tax, in BC it’s 325.00. Difference of almost 100. in net pay.

  4. I think about 95% of the education budget is teachers salary and benefits
    My wife does teacher payroll, teachers benefits are so superior to the cupe employes its a joke. My wife said to me ” Don’t feel sorry for the teachers Ken “

  5. Both parties should call it quits – turn the dispute over to an independent party for a non emotional decision. How can either party argue the children are not compromised? Politics at its worst! Negotiating in the media; where are the adults?

  6. My perception of the dispute is that the Liberal Pary (which are really conservatives) have their pride and ego at stake here . When you combine educated and organized, it’s a Cons nightmare.

  7. BC spends $1000 per pupil LESS on education than the national average. Yet, we are not a “have not” province. The BC government is once again bargaining in bad faith and does not want a settlement. A strike and partial lockout suits the Liberal agenda perfectly! It allows them to save hundreds of millions of dollars and at the same time blame teachers for the disruption to students and parents. After dragging this out for months, they can then play the hero by throwing the hundreds of millions they saved back into public schools.

    The Supreme Court of BC found the government bargained in bad faith yet again in 2012 and fined it $2 million of your tax dollars for doing so.

    • Anderson, when were they found to be bargaining in bad faith prior to 2012, and don’t forget that is under Appeal.
      In other words, if the Appeal court finds against the Lower court, then none of this is true.
      OMG, what will you do then?
      Will it be like the last Election surprise.

  8. wish that Fassbender would keep his mouth shut. They have been forcing teachers to do this for years. Fassbender do your talking at the bargaining table , sick of hearing from you !!

  9. At a certain point, Tax cuts and freezes eventually erode public services and expectations. Christy has bet the province on Gas deals that are not proven. Her cuts to public services and “user fees” seem to be used to give breaks to large corporations. I find it hard to understand how a mother with a school age child doesn’t support the education system for the benefit of the province.