No progress yet in teacher contract talks according to BCTF President

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No progress yet in teacher contract talks according to BCTF President

Teachers at another batch of B-C school districts are on the picket line today in day 2 of escalated job action.

Iker has spoken to reporters as he was flanked by about a dozen teachers from the Langley Fine Arts School, all wearing picket signs and walking down the street.

He says the rotating strikes have put some pressure on the government, which itself has imposed a partial lockout on schools this week.

Iker says this about yesterday’s bargaining session however.

He says, “We have some respectful dialogue on some of our issues. We’re still far apart, there’s been no movement yet. But you know as long as both parties are talking that’s always a good sign.”

Iker says he’s ready to compromise on wages.

He says, “We still want a reasonable wage increase but it is about compromising.”

Iker says bargaining sessions will continue today a decision will come tomorrow on whether to continue the rotating strikes next week.

Education minister Peter Fassbender says there was little movement by the union yesterday.

He says, “My briefing from our negotiating team from BCPSEA was that they had some robust discussion, I don’t think I saw any indication that we’ve had movement but at least there were discussions and they’re gonna continue today.”

And Fassbender continue to fight against what he calls a “campaign of misinformation” about the strike, stressing that teachers can still eat their lunch at school…and will be covered by Worksafe for voluntary activities.

The Premier acknowledges the bargaining system is broken and needs to be fixed, but one thing at a time.

She says, “We need to get past this disagreement first before we can get down to that. But once we have settled this agreement, I want to sit down with the teacher’s union and jointly recognize that the system is broken, we’ve got to fix it and that’s what’s going to get us to ten years of labour peace.”

Two weeks ago the government took the 10- year deal teachers did not want off the table, a day before announcing they were clawing teachers wages back 10% during strike action.


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  1. I strongly support the Government. Angus Reid polls, who trusts them any way? I do not know anyone who is on teachers side. If needed I suggest…..”do the Reagans”.

    • I think most parents are on the teachers side it is just you guy’s with outdated Reaganomics that can’t see that that is stuck on the 50th floor your tricked down theory just led to the TFWP and if you seen in the EU everyone wants out of the EU and this insane Globalization and corporate domination!

      • What part do you support? There needs to be more funding for special needs or in order to get there, the teachers require an increase close to 4 times what the rest of the unions accepted.

        • I thought I was clear but I guess not. I strongly support OUR teachers.
          I support them one million percent. I have had the excellent fortune of having excellent teachers my entire schooling from Kindergarten to graduation. Not one bad apple in all those years. I remember each and every single one (I’m 44 years old).
          I cherish teachers and respect their profession immensely. I hope my children have the good fortune of having excellent teachers, so far, so good.


          • So we must give them 4 times what the other unions accepted in order to keep these excellent teachers?

            And glad to hear you had a good experience. Not quite as common as you might think. A few great teachers, fair number of good ones and some that need a fair bit of help. That last group can cause major issues and there’s not much you can do about it currently.

        • I would argue that the existing funding is likely just fine. The problem is the current system of inclusion of ‘special needs’ kids has failed creating way more work than good.
          We should create ‘schools within schools’ where those deemed ‘special needs’ are placed in order to concentrate specialized teachers and aids, plus the application of IEPs.

          In normal classes, IEPs should be abolished along with the nonsense of ‘no one fails’ concept.

      • I am. This union feels it is a law unto itself. Their Boss is the Government. Had I had people of their ilk and demeanour on staff they would have been terminated for insubordination.

    • It’s interesting how many people have bought into and are now using the government rhetoric / jargon. People are now regularly referring to themselves as “taxpayers” after government’s decade-long use of this term. We are CITIZENS of this province and of this country. Is your only tie to British Columbia the fact that you pay taxes here? Heck no! Through the constant use of this term, government makes taxes and money the main focus of our connection to our province. CITIZENS by contrast have rights and responsibilities: the right to the rule of law; the rights of the charter; the responsibility to protect our environment; the responsibility to be politically savvy and participate in the democratic process; the responsibility to look after our society’s most vulnerable, including our children and seniors; and the the rights to public education and public health (among a host of others). Government is trying to change our focus and abdicate its duty to us as CITIZENS. I am not suggesting that we should be indifferent to the taxes that we pay. We just should not be defined by them.

      • It’s because there is two kinds of bc’ers, private sector and public sector. private sector live and die by the economy ,public sector just rolls on and always wants more than we’ll ever have.

        • and the Public Sector employees are paid on average of 25% more than the private sector, which is unacceptable. Public Servants should be paid equal to or less than the private sector.

  2. No urgency to settle anything. There are major legal matters to be resolved, including collective rights in the context of essential service authority. The lawyers will do very well in this dispute. Teachers, parents and students can forget any help short term. Binding arbitration now.

  3. “…it is about compromising” Jim? Why didn’t you say that 18 MONTHS AGO? I haven’t heard of one compromise from the TF. You have shrewdly stalled negotiations until the most hurtful time of the year. You were lifeless for months and months before even putting your “demands” on the table. If you believe for one second you have shown any credibility, sincerity or integrity that will allow me to consider your apple pie message now, you are very wrong once again.

    • Really? They have offered similar increases as other government employee settlements PLUS a cash signing bonus announced recently. The BCTF hasn’t budged. Just how do you negotiate with a tree stump?

        • I think the signing bonus offer was a mistake, because we all know it is not about the money to the righteous, it is “about the kids” and “taking a stand for public education”. Instead, I would have taken that $1200 and put it into the classroom. It would be much better spent on the kids than the teachers.

        • Is moving from the 10 year ideal (of course it was wishful thinking) to 6 a bribe too? My point is the government has at least proven some willingness to move. What has the TF shown? Zilch. How can anyone take Iker’s mumbling seriously?

          • Well Ron, maybe the teachers will move a bit soon. Just because the government has made this huge move (as you seem to perceive it), maybe the teachers will this afternoon, tomorrow, next week? I have no idea; doesn’t hurt their credibility with me in the slightest…. not while those in power give themselves whatever they want with YOUR money whenever they feel like it.

      • Ron…other unions git 3.5 to 4 over last 2 years…teachers 0. Be fair and offer teachers the same…why aren’t they? Has to be a reason. Are there concessions being demanded by employer.

  4. The government wants what they tried in 2001 rip up contract and dictate to unions everywhere. They lost in court twice and now are fishing for a sympathetic Judge who will settle in their favor. I can’t wait to read the findings of the unconstitutional side of all of this?As belonging to a union is set in the Canadian constitution after Campbell and Christy Clark’s screw up’s in the teachers collective agreement among bargaining in bad faith,they never did learn to bargain in good faith, it’s as in do as I say not as in what I do! Spin it yea, of blind faith for a government that broke the law how many time and you support them,unbelievable you must have finger’s in the cookie jar to blindly follow the LNG pipedreams as 2017 fastly approaches with debt up to our eyeballs for corporations raking it in ,but not for the ones that teach our youth! Tax cuts for the wealthy and Corporate welfare is the norm for you people!

    • Such a severe detachment from reality. Regarding the court case, the taxpayers lost round one (you can call it twice if you want, but it was one judge who confirmed her earlier decision). The appeal will be heard in front of the BC Court of Appeal, which is a tribunal (that means three judges, Ken). I suspect the losing party will then appeal this to the Supreme Court of Canada (yes, even the BCTF will do this).

      As for your LNG comments, I know you hope it will fail because in your world it is better the taxpayers lose than a right of centre government be successful. Blind ideology (or is that idiotology?)

      Lastly, your “eat the rich” philosophy is tiresome. Here are some facts for you. The richest 20% of taxpayers account for 75% of all income taxes collected by government. The riches 1% (those making more than $200,000) account for 11%. They also account for a disproportional amount of sales taxes. So, instead of the rant against “you people”, perhaps you want to thank them for letting you ride on their coat tails.

      • The appeals court will decide on whether or not Justice Griffin made an error in law. She is a very bright woman with a better grasp on the constitution than the government. She did not make an error in law, twice. By the way, the taxpayers, as you call them, does include parents whose children were affected by the stripped class size and composition clauses. This is not a simple issue but one that has been muddied by Clark, both in her role as education minister and as premier.

        By the way, the Supreme Court of Canada may very well refuse to hear the government’s appeal when they lose again. They already ruled on the very same issue with the health care workers in 2007. My understanding was that every health care worker was awarded $11,000 cash settlement. Not very fiscally prudent.

        • I use the term taxpayers because that is what we are. Is there another word that would satisfy you? Perhaps, donors, funders, bill payers, suckers????

          What negative effects have resulted from the stripped class size and composition? My kids spent their entire public school life under the Liberal Government reign. During that time, Provincial Exam marks have increased, graduation rates have increased, aboriginal graduation rates have increased….. all measures of learning outcomes have increased.

          Class size has no impact on learning outcomes. Look up the California Public School System study. They reduced their class size to a maximum of 20. A ten year study concluded there was no significant increase in learning outcomes; however, the system was now costing taxpayers an additional $1billion per year.

          Class size and composition is BCTF code for their real objective of increasing wages and increasing the number of teachers so they can collect more membership dues.

    • your ndp friends threw the class size into the contract as they were going out of office to totally screw the taxpayers in this province. And that’s exactly what the ndp and their friends are trying to do today. As for tax cuts, tell me where they are. Everyone got the same income tax break. Your problem seems to be you don’t want to pay anything, it should be up to only the rich. You think it’s okay to punish people for working hard, investing their own money and trying to get ahead. Pretty sad.

      • It shows exactly what is on the Table, how can that be one-sided. Point out where it is one sided!
        To compare that to the BCTF website is utter madness. Look how much misinformation the Union is putting out there.
        What misinformation has the BCPSEA put out.

      • Excellent points Ray. When the NDP were in power they had to legislate the teachers back to work- something even the Liberals never did. And when they knew they were political toast, to kiss and make up with the BCTF, the NDP gave away the farm in a sweetheart deal to frustrate their political enemies. Come to think of it didn’t the Iraqis who when faced with certain defeat, also set fire to all the Kuwaiti oil wells before retreating?

  5. When I heard Iker try to defend his 20% +wage and benefit package by suggesting teachers had to make up for 2 years of 0% increases I laughed so hard I almost drove into a teacher’s picket line. Iker’s mentality demonstrates why the BCTF is impossible to deal with and why this union is so out of touch with every other public sector union and the real world. This argument is like your plumber telling you he is charging you triple time to fix your broken water pipe because he under-quoted you for your bathroom renovation last year. Earth to Iker- you can bet your mullet that the Liberals will never capitulate to the tune of 20% so get real with your demands or be prepared to be legislated, kicking and screaming to the principal’s office…again. Or was that your plan all along?

  6. Right on J. They sign an Agreement with two 0′s and then basically say, we screwed up last time, so we will make it up now. Really goes to show Credibility.
    Taking a Strike Vote before they even had all their demands on the Table. Unbelievable.
    BCPSEA should have taken them to the LRB for bad faith bargaining. But they choose the high road. And look where that got them. There is no other ball but hard ball with this bunch.
    2 Commissions on their inability to negotiate. Lost their professional designation, and the Teachers just fall in line like good little Cult members.

    Funny that both polls NW did the Government got considerably more support then the Teachers.
    Once the general public actually finds out what they want, how they compare to other public sector employees, and the outrageous costs, we will see where the support is.

    • Of course both the BCNDP and their labour union supporters like to use any excuse to force the taxpayer through the government to increase taxation. These organization believe government MUST control every aspect of peoples lives. The Unions also like to find ways to increase their membership as that means they can profit at the expense of their members. Unions have become political joy sticks for their own benefit.

  7. Christy Clark is to blame for all this unrest with the teachers. It all stems back when she was the education minister, ripping up the contract which was totally illegal. Christy has it out for the teachers, she always did and always will. Face it, don’t let her smiles fool you. Families first, I think not.

    • Arthur, how about before Cristy, who can you blame for that.
      You have responded the same way with all Governments. Why can’t Teachers understand that.
      Please show us how wonderful the BCTF worked with other Governments.
      A good number of you will need deprogramming once you leave the BCTF. OR you won’t no what to do.

    • BCTF has never been happy with any Government and never will be…….what do you expect 12 years of school, 4 years of University and back to “school”, never living in a “real world”, the grass is always “greener” on the other side…….the benefits they have no other has……….

  8. In my opinion BCTF has the attitude of “it is our way or the highway”, no room for negotiations unless it is their way!! It is time that our Government stays strong , that is why I was part of the majority who voted you in last year. Break or make the deal before the school year is ending. No more “summer holidays” ….September should be a “fresh” start for all. One can never satisfy BCTF so it might have to be “forced”. Enough is ENOUGH.

  9. Dennis, the board would not let me reply directly to your post. Below is a paragraph from the article you cited in your post. The data is at best inconclusive that class size has any significant effect on learning outcomes (note the word significant). California taxpayers are getting very little in return for their extra $1billion per year – and those in Florida and Connecticut are getting zero.

    “Studies of class size in Texas and Israel also found benefits of smaller classes, although the gains associated with smaller classes were smaller in magnitude than those in the Tennessee STAR study. Other rigorous studies have found mixed effects in California and in other countries, and no effects in Florida and Connecticut.”

  10. Dennis, thanks for citing that article. Did you even read it (it is not a study in itself, it is a summary of other studies)? The conclusion is, a) smaller class sizes produced positive effects in some jurisdictions, mixed in others, and negative in others; b) smaller class sizes are very expensive; c) governments should choose carefully between smaller class sizes and increasing other education expenditures, including teacher salaries (aka…. you can’t do both!).

    Smaller class size is a BCTF ruse.