Education minister says teachers need to negotiate realistically in wake of support workers’ deal

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Education minister says teachers need to negotiate realistically in wake of support workers' deal

B.C.’s education minister says the deal reached with school support staff this past weekend shows what can be accomplished when both sides negotiate.

Peter Fassbender says, over five days, he saw CUPE and the employer staying until a deal was done.

He says now teachers need to do the same: bargain realistically.

“Put their counteroffer with the one-per-cent decrease from what they originally brought. That’s still in the 19 per cent range, which is out of line with all of the other settlements, including the one that we just did.”

Fassbender says a signing bonus remains on the table for teachers until the end of June, and the government is committed to getting a settlement.”


  1. Why let the marketplace set price and wages, when we’ve got Herr Fassbender to tell us what is reasonable. Parents need to step up and balance the province’s books on someone else’s dime. Their kids have to come first.

    • Did you really just make reference to market pricing for teachers?!?!? Really? If you are interested in market pricing, great. Surplus of teachers with more graduating every year. Shortage of students with enrolment still in decline. Yes siree, you are in a great position for market pricing.

      Even if you expanded the “market” to include other provinces, all teachers are capable of doing is bemoaning about how a teacher in Flin Flon makes $100/month more than you do, but nobody actually wants to move to Flin Flon to realize that monetary gain.

      You are absolutely correct that parents need to let the BCTF that we have all had enough of your tactics and that it is time for you to shut up and teach.

    • R What is the X cost of living adjustment. How much is the Cost of living Adjustment. That is where the Government gets it from.
      Wow!, sometimes you just got ot wonder…?

    • He is rightfully including the costs of benefits improvements that the BCTF is demanding. Maybe the day of bereavement for the passing of your cousin’s neighbour’s dog is back on the table.

      A real problem with teachers is that the vast majority of you are absolutely clueless about the world outside of school. No, not everyone gets dental, message therapy, sick days, indexed defined benefit pension, extended medical, etc, etc, etc. You really all should get up each morning and write a thank you card to the taxpayers of BC, but of course, all you know is whining and entitlement.

    • With a CPI average of 1.8% over the past 6 years the total increase is 15.5% – this will rise to 17% if the CPI rises to the average of the preceding 6-year period.
      I’m sure there are some other juicy benefit increases in the proposal that the BCTF isn’t eager to share with the great unwashed. Get off your cloud and realize that you are NOT better than most other working stiffs in the province. Teachers get paid rather well, and if you get into it for the money you are in the wrong job to begin with.

  2. A signing bonus is just pain stupid. You lose probably 45% in taxes. Even though snookums says they haven’t raised them.

    Put that 1200 in the base rate. I’ll bet when the grand poo bah to England and the rest of his ilk voted 51% for him and 40 odd % for the rest of the brightest and the best they wouldn’t have taken a signing bonus instead of another couple of %…….

    • You see, B, you lose all credibility when you quote bogus numbers. Why lie and embellish ? Don’t be lazy, do a little research. Premier Campbell got a 53% raise and the MLAs got 29%. This is bad optics at the very least ! But there’s no need for your embellishing ….. you only make yourself look bad.

  3. What is this Strike going to accomplish? The Union has been told, There is very little more.

    Perhaps Teachers should review how they made out the last time they took Job action. How much did you lose for that little hissy fit? The satisfaction that you forced the Taxpayers to pay for your VIAGRA. How does that help the kids?

    He is certainly showing he is more interested in the Kids, then the BCTF.

    • @Dwight asked “What is this Strike going to accomplish?

      Nothing for the teachers for sure because the government doesn’t care if teachers go out on strike. It will save $80 million per week. Several have already suggested that the strike is a waste of time. Nice to see that you are questioning that as well-albeit for your own reasons.

      Now that we have that issue out of the way, let’s allow the justice system make the final determination on class size and class composition. Too bad this pending appeal could not go directly to the SCOC to get resolved within 6 months into a 5-year contract.

      So IF the SCOC upholds Justice Griffin’s decision, it will require the government to retroactively restore contract language and implement associative terms
      immediately or as soon as practicable (s/t SCOC approval). WRT to class size and class compsosition negotiations, it need not be addressed for another 4-1/2 years to comply with Judge Griffin’s “suggestion or order”-whichever term you suits you. There is a “future” element involved.

      So Dwight, what will the government do in the event that the SCOC values constittional rights over lawless government? According to Dwight, invoke the Notwithstanding Clause?

      And what will you and the taxpayer do if the government loses?

      As for the teachers? If they lose at the SCOC, they will need to accept the result. Chapter Closed.

      • “And what will you and the taxpayer do if the government loses?”

        insite, shouldn’t that be “… you and I….?” You are a taxpayer, are you not?

        • @Don_If the government loses it appeal, due court process will have been followed. Accordingly, I personally would accept the decision as I have indicated many times. I would also accept a court decision ruling in favour of the government. I would accept any decision and ruling by an arbitrator as well if outstanding issues between the parties were to be placed in front of an arbitrator.

          But you wouldn’t because you do not respect the judicial system, fair collective agreement processes or democracy. And you would not accept any decision favoring the BCTF by an arbitrator either.

          How are your math lessons coming?

      • Except I totally oppose hardwiring class size and composition is a union agreement. Such just does not belong there. There are just too many variables involved.

        Clearly the policy of inclusion has totally failed and needs to be reworked.

        • I agree “inclusion” creates a problem and may well be the cause of disruptive classes; revisiting this policy and finding a realistic alternate solution is inevitable.

  4. I think the teachers should get a salary increase in keeping with other public sector unions. I know they are special, but so are other public sector employees. When teachers say they have X amount of coded kids, this also includes those who may have a physical/health impairment, such as diabetes, to those who have allergies or inhalers. They’re not all the “high incidence” category of behavioural or learning disabilities. Keep class sizes, but add more EA’s – more bang for the taxpayers’ bucks as their salaries are more cost-effective than teachers.

    • You can’t compare a public sector union job with teaching. Compare apples to apples and compare BC teachers with other teachers across the country.

      In terms of the other public unions in BC they all got wage increases in the last 4 years and teachers did not.

  5. So let’s look at deal CUPE signed…better benefits, increased hours and will be paid full wages for every strike/lockout day. That’s the bonus CUPE got. No wonder they signed so quickly. 3.5 percent for last 2 years and now 5.5.for the next 5….that’s 9 percent… wonder they agreed. Maybe that’s why you can’t get a deal done with teachers.

    • Good bargaining, that bit about pay during the strike. Good on that negotiating team.
      If you are correct on their wages, that would be 9% over 7 tears. Teachers are at 7.25 over 6 years. Not that far apart.
      However, the BCTF wants in excess of 19% Maybe that is why a deal can’t get done?

      • Again where is the 19 % the government is throwing around?

        Here is the truth on the wage numbers

        Year one 3%
        + .5 x CP index (or cost of living which is around on average 1 to 2%) = .5% -1%

        Year two 2.25%
        +.5 x CP index = .5% – 1%

        Year three 2.25%
        +.75 x CP index = .75% – 1.5%

        Year four 2.25%
        +1 x CP index = 1% – 2%

        TOTAL is 12.5 % on the low side to 15.25% on the high side.

        • @R.

          You seem to have an uncanny ability to accurately forecast the COL in the future.

          Also, how’s your math in computing the compounding effect of annual increases in the salary grid? If you compounded the annual increases, you might end up with a higher number. i did.

          There is no dispute here that the two parties are eyre far apart. Interesting that on the wage issue, a plurality of voters are in favour of a wage compromise by both parties according to a Global poll.

        • There’s no such thing as “the low side”. I’ve seen some info include bonus, cola, benefits, and/or different pay grids. It’s difficult when everyone doesn’t use the same base, but even the numbers you use sure show again how arrogant the BCTF is eh? It’s no wonder they aren’t taken very seriously.

  6. The question is who is not negotiating realistically. The negotiations began prior to the current contract expiring. The BCTF and BCPSEA were making very good progress to a negotiated deal. Then the Liberals fired all the BCPSEA board and replaced them with one person and a hired gun to negotiate. Since then the only concession put forth by the government is reducing the term from 10 years to 6. Further they ignore the salary increases the other unions have earned while teachers did not get a raise. Further while the BCTF is not great at negotiating, they have moved twice toward the compromise necessary for a settlement, but the government has not moved. Finally the BCTF said they would accept a mediator and the government refused. Who is not negotiating fairly?
    As a final point the government is not appealing a lower court decision to the BC Supreme Court they already did that and lost. They are attempting to see if they have grounds for an appeal, so technically not an appeal at least not yet.

  7. Please tell me why my tax dollars are being spent to subsidize private schools and then be told there are no more dollars to spend on public schools. Education is the right of all and is slowly being eroded along with many other public services that are being cut. I am a support worker within the public school system and have seen an increase in the amount of students who require extra services with no funds. I see teachers and schools struggle to insure their students are getting what they need with no increase in funds. Support workers have settled but the cost of that settlement has been a loss of hours and jobs which leaves the students and teachers without the services needed to meet the demands.
    Private schools have the option of picking and choosing their students, unlike the public schools. Beware, public schooling is only one public institution that is turning into a two-tier system, those who can afford to pay and those who cannot.

    • Learn the economics on it, Janice. You do know that the private school will not accept more funding per student percentage wise, correct?

      For every 2 students in an independent school, that is enough to fund just 1 student in the public. Guess what! That takes away stress from the public system. Remove that funding and that will not resolve the public school system but add more stress as it will not be able to support the influx of students entering the public systems. Schools will become more overcrowded and there isn’t enough money to build more schools or classes. The remaining amounts for non-public school come from more sources than tuition, so tuition could more than double but triple.

      If you understood the economics you would not have made such a poor suggestion.

      • I fully agree with your point! I don’t think the majority of teachers understand it though. Private School is a 2 for 1 cost to the government; actually reduces the cost of education. That said, she is correct that private schools chose their students, and therefore class environments in private schools are more advantageous for students, teachers, and support staff. In turn this leave more difficult students in the public classrooms.

    • Shall we cut funding to those private school that only accept special needs kids?

      And with regard to public schooling being the only institution that is turning into a two-tier system, have you seen the our healthcare system? There are private MRI clinics and private surgeries where you can pay outright to get the surgery you require without any wait times.

  8. There is no interest in the government negotiating realistically. The situation is that arbitration is off the table as the government has no intention of negotiating class size and composition. The only solution is a legislated settlement (this coming from a retired teacher???). The downside is that this will enrage the teachers and future negotiations will be way worse.
    On another note….
    ….. I have no idea where the government will find the staff to mark the exams if exam marking is declared hot. If it is, there is no way the government can oblige the teachers to apply for those jobs. I would hate to be an administrator who once taught English. July could be ugly.

  9. ROLMAO!! Global reported that the government is lifting the lock out during the summer holidays. Is that when school is out?

    The government is going to pay CUPE for not crossing teachers’ picket lines! The government has turned labour relations upside down by buying off support. Where have we heard that tactic used before in BC?

    • You do know how the system works, right? You seem to know all!

      During the summer is when teachers receive their recalls. The first week and last week of August the schools are open. What does that mean? It means teachers can come into their classrooms and prepare for the school year. Lack of insite indeed.

    • And with the government lifting the lockout, if summer school is cancelled it can’t be blamed on the government by the BCTF. The BCFT will be the only reason that kids won’t be able to take summer school.

    • And where would the money come from for all those student to go back to the Public system. The Private system saves the Taxpayers half the cost of the Public sector.

      Teachers in the Private school, at least the one I am familiar with, pays about 3% less than a public school Teachers.
      About the cost of the Union dues to the BCTF. So a vurual sawoff. But they lose no days to to walkouts, lockouts, and don’t have a Union telling them what to do.
      They are actually working like Professionals. Making their own decisions etc.

  10. Paul, if we cut funding off to private schools, there will be a greater number of students in the public schools – that seems to me to create more expense. The fact is that the government wants to move to a private voucher system, to decrease costs.