BC teachers to vote on whether they support a full walk out

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BC teachers to vote on whether they support a full walk out

BC teachers will be voting on whether or not they support the BC Teachers’ Federation with a full walk out beginning as early as June 16th.

Parents and students are concerned a potential increase in job action could mean missing provincial exams, not getting report cards, and even missing post-secondary application deadlines.

The government’s response to this: asking the labour relations board to make certain teacher services essential in the event of a full walk out.

BCTF president Jim Iker says the government’s partial lockout should also be to blame for interrupting exam schedules.

The Labour Relations Board is expected to start reviewing the government’s essential services application.

The vote on teacher support for a full walkout is Monday and Tuesday.


  1. If the government would allow parents to decide where the tax dollars that is dedicated to each child is directed, then we would soon realize that the government instituted public schools and their teachers are not essential. There would be a great deal more independent schools available if we could those dollars for tuition.

    Instead, there is a system that keeps many parents back from choosing the education they desire for their children because of financial constraints. This is partly why homeschooling is such a good option today.

    Maybe this labour dispute will do some good and initiate an overhaul of the publicly funded education system and take the choices away from union and government and give them to parents.

  2. Go ahead and walkout, it is all about $$$ and distraction about the requirements of the students.

    It is nice to see the stress that your “Union”with it’s high priced representatives are placing on those that seen report cards for post secondary acceptance in September pf 2014.

    Nice work BCTF …………….

  3. What other choice does the BCTF have? Doing a great job and producing some of the highest performing students in the country and the world and then hoping to be rewarded for a job well done sure hasn’t worked.

    • BC, it is called Doing the job your paid very well to do.
      You don’t want Merit pay, remember?
      Try sitting down and negotiating like the other public sector unions.
      This crap, every set of negotiations with this Union, has to top.

  4. I wonder how long it would take to settle this dispute if the media stopped endlessly reporting on the dispute. I would suggest that if both sides were forced to negotiate with each other rather that endlessly presenting the same tired rhetoric thru the media, yes I am talking about the BCTF head, we may see an end to this dispute..

  5. Its long past time we had a little competition in the Education Industry.
    Public education today is more about indoctrination and social engineering.
    We have watched a steady decline in the public system for decades, with very few bright spots. To keep doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity.
    The BCTF has not been able to act like adults with the last THREE Governing Parties in the province. This speaks volumes of the abilities of the people that are supposed to be educating our children. Iker is just the latest in a long line of out-of-touch posers.

    • Good post Dale.
      I would add at least 2 Commissions on why they can’t negotiate. Both of which they rejected. All other public sector unions negotiate without problems with the same BCPSEA.
      Why do we have to change everything for the BCTF.
      That social engineering really scares me.
      Read their document ” Social Justice in the BCTF”. And we allow them to Teach our kids.
      Time we wake up to just exactly what this Union is doing to our kids.

    • You are correct, schools are charged with socializing children into society’s value system as an extension of the home; you call it “indoctrination and social engineering” – I see no problem with that. The real issue is whose values do we teach children; yours or mine?

      Criminal courts are full of children who have not accepted social values and norms. Is that what you want?

      • Garp . . . schools used to teach Reading, Writing and Math . . . as well as Critical Thinking skills. A student so armed could go out into the world and do well, be it further education, trades or other endeavours.

        Today . . . most of the graduates can’t even make change at McDs if the cash register is broken . . . many have been taught “Group Think”.
        History is NO Longer taught in schools, but Gorebull Warming is front and center.
        Graduates today know nothing of economics, little about democracy, how they are governed and on and on . . . but they know all about 3 washrooms, the so-called theft of indian land and other far-left lunacy.

        • What you say is understandable, as it is very evident here that a good number of Teachers don’t understand it either. They don’t understand economics, how the Government works, and totally ignorant as to the Justice system. In particular the Appeal process.

  6. It does not appear that the public really understands this dispute, and the issues, which finds it’s roots in the 2002 stripping of teachers’ contracts through legislation. That legislation and subsequent legislation has been held to be contrary to Constitutional Rights. The government continues to ignore these Court Rulings. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, when a government ignores the law, or tries to circumvent it, we have a problem! The problem does not belong to teachers alone.

    I for one don’t think a full blown strike is good strategy. Teachers are playing into the government’s strategy to create facts which will support a future “good faith” argument to support work back legislation already being drafted. Teachers should wait for the court decision and then act. They will have more moral authority and the government will have none. Your union is off on left field – don’t let ideology rule you!

    Teachers, do not play into the governments strategy. Don’t be martyrs – you and public education will be the losers.

    • Garp, it seems you are the one who really doesn’t understand this dispute.
      That Decision is being APPEALED. Why is that so hard for you and a number of other Teacher to understand that. Your Union does it all the time.
      Another one of those ‘it’s only okay for the BCTF.
      Here’s a real shocker for you, What if the Government wins on Appeal? I guess it is over, as the BCTF doesn’t agree with Appeals?,

    • Garp, the government is not ignoring the law. They are appealing a ruling of a lower court judge to the BC Court of Appeal. Something that is permitted within our system of justice. Something we all would do if we felt a ruling wrongly went against us.

      It does not become “law” until all appeals have either been exhausted or abandoned. Should the government did not comply with the ruling at that point, then they would be ignoring the law. Until then, they are playing by the rules.

      Contrary to your assertions, I think the public does understand this.

      • @Dwight / Don

        Ok, the government is circumventing the law through a stay of proceeding; same thing. The judgment of Justice Griffin is valid; its effect is delayed. The government is not keeping in the “spirit” of the law – that’s a problem. I’ve reviewed the decision, the likelihood of a successful appeal is questionable, but you can always hope.

        No Dwight, the public does not understand; you clearly do not! They are mislead by the union and the government.

          • @Don-Even if you work in the justice system, I can understand the principles of justice better than you.

            With an attitude such as yours, you are not worthy to be part of the justice system. There must have been an error if you are.

            Let’s include the Justice system to the fields of endeavour where you have shortcomings-in addition to math proficiency.

            Imagine peddling the notion a $1000 increase in teacher salaries will cost each taxpayer a $1000.

            Tell us where you work or did. You are like the little circle on my computer screen which goes around and around…

            “Wait…Not Responding.., “

        • Actually, a judge issued the stay. That you can perceive that as circumventing the law seems to indicate a rather loose knowledge base. Maybe you should catch a few more reruns of Law and Order. And the judgement of justice Griffin is basically suspended until it goes before the higher court, so, no it is not currently valid or in effect. Interesting that you state the government is ignoring a ruling that is under appeal. Why would they appeal the ruling and then turn around and implement it before the appeal?

          But all of that aside, I agree with you that a full blown strike, as much as it would go a long way to destroy whatever shreds of credibility the BCTFF has, is a terrible idea. Maximum damage to upper grade students with minimum possibility of success. But, like any good flock of sheep, the teachers will vote yes because they were told to do so.

          • Ok, I stand corrected; I understood this was an application for leave to appeal and took a different view of it. The reference to “Law and Order” is a low blow though.

          • John, further, you do know that a judgment under appeal is deemed to be correct pending a decision of the Court of Appeal. It follows that the judgment is the law pending a appeal, albeit, the “effect” of the law is suspended.

    • @Garp-

      You seem to be one of the few posters who articulates a plausible comment on the government-BCTF impasse.

      I agree fully with you that the BCTF is being sucked into a losing strategy. Like you, I agree that this is not about winning the current war. It is all about the government accumulating sufficient evidence-manufactured or otherwise-to support it’s appeal of Judge Griffin’s January 27 ruling.

      The BCTF would be wise to not to agree to any terms moving away from Judge Griffin’s order that contract language and terms be retroactively restored to pre Bills 27 and 28. Judge Griffin did not specifically order class size and class composition to be negotiated in the current negotiations. The operative word from her was “future negotiations.”

      Some will argue that Judge Griffin ordered that class size and class composition to be negotiated in the current talks as well. That is not correct.

      Because If this were so ordered, that would also mean that the government is equally bound to FIRSTLY retroactively restore the previous contract language (wrt class size and class composition and terms) before such issues can be re-negotiated. There is no sense negotiating in a vacuum so as to speak-especially when the government has appealed the court’s decision. Better to wait the decision. The government cannot have it both ways by attempting to negotiate teachers’ rights out of the contact at the same time as it is appealing the decision.

      The only battle that the teachers have a chance of winning is in the hands of the court(s). The issue of “bargaining in bad or good faith” on the part of the government, IMO, is not germaine to the issue of unconstiutionally stripping of teachers’ right to bargain class size and class composition.

      Even if teachers win or lose, that does not guarantee labour peace or a contract favourable to teachers in the future. Teachers deserve a voice. Unless a process like binding arbitration is established to break deadlocks in future negotations, this fight, unfortunately, will contiune. But, binding arbitration is not in the government’s interest for various reasons.

      The on-going battle will prompt more parents to enroll their children into the private schools or French Immersion or home schooling-with less special needs children. If more children attend private schools-at least for the interim-the cost to government of educating the total student population in BC is lowered. But when private-school population reaches critical mass, private schools will no doubt acquire a greater share of the per-student education budget.

      Meanwhile, those who cannot afford to enroll their children in private school, can expect an increasing and continuing assault on the quality of public education-all in the name of money-so that TOIFA-type events, professional sports, horse racing and LNG (in the face of an uncertian market and prices.) can be subsidized-at taxpayer expense.

  7. The real problem is “class composition” so the BCTF should drop the wage and class size demands and focus on that. The fact is, special needs integration into the classes has been an abysmal failure because of the lack of support. Either increase the support in the classrooms or stop trying to integrate the more severe special needs students that are disruptive to the classroom. I’m sure the parents of these students will play the discrimination card but their kids are not being served by being forced on teachers that don’t have the training to deal with the many issues these kids bring. They would be much better off being in a class with kids dealing with similar issues and being instructed by people who have the proper training.

    • Except, “class composition” should never have been reduced to a mere bargaining chip.
      One very disturbing child can easily be a much larger problem than five with minor issues. A simple number means nothing with such a complex issue and if we think picking a number will be a solution, we’re fooling ourselves and are doomed to repeat this craziness down the road. This needs to be dealt with, but in a professional setting within the Dept of Education with input from proper research studies and experts, not as a union that really has no competency or public authority in education development.

      • The class size/ composition issue is a matter of policy, which should be decided by those who we elect. Experts, ie professionals including teachers, should have input to what the policy should be, but the final decision belongs to the elected officials. Class size/composition should only be discussed in collective bargaining to the extent it concerns working conditions – that’s where things get muddled! This limitation must be understood by the teacher’s bargaining unit.

        • Yes. So how can this happen? How can elected officials bring these issues back to the Ministry to deal properly with without being branded with ripping up a contract that should never have meant to tie their hands so tightly in the first place? It really shouldn’t be this complicated.

          • I’m not sure teachers understand the distinction between policy and contract. A court will not interfere with a policy decision, regardless of how unjust it may be! Justice Griffin’s decision acknowledges that distinction but I highly doubt whether the BCTF has outlined the limitations of that decision for teachers.

            I still think an experienced arbitrator would be able to work within this point of reference and make a just decision.

  8. I agree to a certain degree. Of course, parents of sped kids would have nothing to do with segregation. So, rather than spending more money on higher-wage teachers, more money should be spent on Education Assistants – better bang for your buck and far more efficient, they make about 1/2 the wage as a teacher – a 2 for 1 deal.

  9. What irony. On the very day that teaching assistants represented by CUPE has reached a tentative settlement after only 5 days of bargaining, Iker and the BCTF is calling for a complete shut down of the education system underscoring their reputation as a union that no government can negotiate with. So give them the summer to throw their hissy-fit, and do what even the NDP had to do- legislate them back on “Labour day. ” In 5 years hopefully moderates will step up to replace their militant leadership or better yet teachers will return to being a professional organization instead of a trade union

    • It is almost as if they are trying to force the Government to Legislate them back. Then spend the next 6 years whining how the Gov’t Legislated them back.
      They realize, of course that if they go on Strike, they will still be on Strike in Sept. Then what?
      What if the Gov’t just say, to heck with, we are not going to Legislate?, and let the Taxpayer solve it. I think I know where the Taxpayer sits on this situation and it’s not good for the BCTF.

  10. @ Insite…. you need to read the post again. It was Garp who said he worked in the justice system, not me. As for the comment regarding my math – in no post did I state that a $1000 salary increase would result in a $1000 per person tax increase. Where did you get the notion that the teachers are only looking for an extra $1000 increase? Even the BCTF say their wage demands are in the 16% area. If the average salary is $50,000, that would be an $8,000 increase – correct?

    What I have posted is that giving the BCTF everything they want (class size and composition set back to 2000 standards, wage and benefit increases) will cost the taxpayers more than $2 billion per year (according to the BC Government). This means the increase to the average taxpayer is about $1,000.

    Can you follow that simple, short path?