BCTF formally announces full-scale strike for Tuesday, June 17th

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

The BC Teachers Federation has officially called a full-scale strike to start next week.

But its president appears highly optimistic a deal is possible before then.

Public school teachers are set to walk out across the province on Tuesday, but classes won’t happen on Monday either.

Jim Iker says Monday will be a study session, where teachers will meet outside school to look over what he calls a “revised bargaining package.”

Both sides plan to bargain over the weekend.

Iker is asked if this revised contract contains a lower wage offer, “We said we’re willing to compromise.” Reporter: “Is that a yes?” “Absolutely, we’ve revised all of our proposals.”

He says each school district will decide whether they’ll supervise kids on Monday, since, with no pickets, some workers will be there.

A decision is expected later today by the Labour Relations Board on whether teachers will have to administer and mark final exams, if a strike does occur.

Comments

    • Well it’s about a fair deal.

      Teacher’s have not had a raise in 4 years and class sizes have gone up and funding has gone down. Everyone keeps talking about comparing us to other “public sector unions” but we are not the same. They all got raises over the last 4 years. They do not do the same job that teachers do. What other public sector unions take work home, spend hours preparing for lectures, and volunteer for free?

      BC teachers have done a good job (provincial rankings) considering the lack of funding, larger class sizes and kids with special needs. Shouldn’t the government reward the teachers for that? NO they have to strike, get locked out, be deducted wages and in the end, pay for their own raise. I ask you how is that fair?

      • That’s why you get free days. I can tell you to that many working people spend a lot of their time after regular hours , doing job related tasks, and their salary is a lot less than yours. And lastly, understand life isn’t fair , play the hand that’s dealt to you and stop the whining.

      • your getting paid to work, than work? if we give every public sector what you teachers want than we as a country would be finished?

        look at your demands- 100% prescription paid, long term disability 100%, eyecare, dental 100%, $3000 a year for massages? no wonder no one supports you

    • FACTBENDER has you all brainwashed. The liberal government tells parents that “families come first” but could car less about your child’s education. Many BC families and children are suffering from all the government cuts. Public education is suffering and it is broke.

      FACTBENDER is telling the parents that teachers are asking 3 to 4 times more than what other public employees are getting but he forgets to mention that they all got raises over the last 4 years. BC teachers all took zero over the last 4 years.

      FACTBENDER is offering teachers 7.25% over 6 years. This does not even cover the cost of living increases which have risen 10% over the last 6 years. (see attached CPI from statscan.)

      http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/econ46a-eng.htm

      Teachers are losing pay to stand up for what is right and fair. BC children and families deserve better.

      • Paying you more, and giving you $3,000/year in free massage (among other things), is right & fair, and what BC children & families deserve?
        Give your head a shake.
        Take the modest raise you are being offered, take a reduction in benefits so we (your employers) can afford to hire more teachers.
        Or kindly suggest which other public sector union we should take money away from so you can have more. Because the pie has been divided, and the VISA is off-limits. And unless you have a suggestion as to how our (not your) tax dollars can be divided more favourably for you without pissing in another public sector’s pool, you are simply whining like spoiled children without offering real economic solutions.

  1. The guy talks in “Cliches” and makes little sense . . . until the BCTF shortens their long list of demands and gets “real” this could end the way it always does . . . with the Govt Legislating them back to work.

    • Seeing the announcement and press conference this morning I wonder how he even got the job? Adrian is a first class speaker compared to Iker. He not only missed actually answering a question but did it void of anything close to passion. The dwindling support is no surprise eh?

  2. With comments like teacher strike action is greedy and selfish, huh? That old axiom about education is new again: If you think education is expensive try life without it.

    • Education does just fine in many places without tax-sucking groups like the BCTF.
      That is a Fact !
      It is also a Fact that public education in BC has been declining for decades . . . and the solution has always been . . . Give the BCTF more money . . . insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
      Time for mandatory membership in this bankrupt union to go ! ! !

    • Aside from class composition, how else can one interpret the teachers “demands” that are on the table?

      Do you really thing the massage benefits would only be used by a few? Nope- it would end up being just like sick days. I know of teachers who retired in their 50′s and now pull in a $40k pension-something most of us will never see.

      When they take the stupid stuff out of their demands and focus on what is good for the kids then they will have my support. Until then, as far as I’m concerned, they’re just a power lusting group holding innocent people hostage.

  3. I just do not get how anyone can state that our education system is underfunded. According to Statscan, in 2010/11 (the most up to date data they have), we spent just north of $11,800 per student. Yes that is $725/student less than average in Canada (where do the whiny teachers keep getting $1,000/student less?), but think about that number. In a class of 24 kids, that represents $283,000 per year. And that is probably closer to $300,000 in todays dollars due to declining enrolment. And yet the whiny teachers claim that $300,000/year per classroom is insufficient to allow them to do their job. So, how much money do they need? Would a million per class suffice? No, they would then ask for more.

    It is unimaginable to me that anyone other than our whiny teachers could fathom that $11,800/student is considered underfunded. This whole debate that the teachers continually bring forward is just screaming charter schools are the answer.

    Education is way too important to be left in the hands of just one producer, ie the BCTF and public schools.

  4. If we are looking to share the blame for this situation a little more broadly, we must include parents. The public school system was devised to be “MOST things to MOST people”. The unreasonable expectation today is that it can be “ALL thing to ALL people”. The inclusion of any and all manner of “special needs” into every classroom and the expectation that it can ALL be addressed in a single classroom is too much to ask for and the system is groaning under the strain.

    • The current system of ‘inclusion’ and the so called ‘designated’ students is a total failure. I agree, a ‘school within the school’ is likely the way more efficient and obviously less expensive. The twelve (12) levels of special needs/designated classifications for students is nonsense and has caused chaos.

  5. How about once the Liberals walk their talk a deal will be reached. Fassbender talked about concessions, when in fact almost none have been made. The real sticking point is class size and composition and the gov’t knows this has to change as they will eventually have to stop hiding and deal with the court decision. Appeal after appeal lost, they know there has to be a negotiated end, so no legislation but a stubborn unwillingness to compromise. Does the BCTF shine at negotiations, ABSOLUTELY NOT! However, this time. the majority of the blame lies with the gov’t not the teachers and their union.

    • Can not agree. The government is clearly protecting the taxpayer relative to the current status of the economy.
      The total blame for all of this is the BCTF who arrogantly have demanded way too much.

    • Huh? What you actually mean is that once the government gives the BCTF 100% of what they are asking for a deal will be reached. And, no, the sticking point is not class size and composition. It is about teacher salaries and bennies. They apparently have not even started to discuss the other issues.

      Minor point, but there have been no appeals heard yet. Confusing, I know, but if you study hard, you may figure out the difference.

      OK, so why has this strike come in June when the impact on upper grade students is maximized? Here is the chronological sequence:

      June/2013 – contract with BCTF expires.

      July and August 2013 – govt negotiators try for talks with union, are turned down due to teacher holidays.

      Fall 2013 – union meets with govt negotiators but tables no proposals. They are stalling awaiting outcome of court case.

      Christmas 2013 – see summer 2013.

      January and February 2014 – union is giddy about court case results, but tables no proposals.

      Early March 2014 – union takes a strike vote.

      Later March 2013 union puts first proposal forward.

      Spring Break two weeks – see summer 2013 and Christmas 2013

      Man, those teachers and their union sure have made a big effort to get to a negotiated settlement. I wonder how the teachers and their groupies will defend the fact that when the end of the school year comes around, without a doubt the union is going to say they cannot negotiate during the summer lest they miss out on part of their bloated holidays.

      • So John, I don’t see any proposal from the BCSEA on the table. Appears neither party has made a serious effort to come to an agreement. How do you feel about arbitration? Seems to be a painless solution. In this way the uncertainty of the pending appeal can be addressed by an independent party.

  6. Christy will not legislate them back to work. She has been encouraging them to strike all year. It makes her look like the good guy.
    Knowing Christy from her radio show. I’m sure she is dancing a jig of joy.

  7. How are those final grades and exams looking now….!!!!! Fasbender, didn’t you PROMISE that you’d get them….This will be quite a sight ot see, with 41,000 teachers on strike…I hope him and Clark, and all of you who hate public education becasue its a waste of money, have a solution or a lot of red marking pens because you’ll have lots of marking to do this weekend…Enjoy yourselves…..

  8. Hands up all teachers who have only 24 kids in their class? Of that 24 how many are NOT special needs students? Were you allowed to agree to the assignment of these special needs students? Do any of them have full time helpers assigned to them?

  9. Of course President Ike wants a settlement this weekend but what impetus does the government have to settle when Iker is clearly bargaining from his financial knees. The BCTF has already admitted their “war chest” is empty and now they are being led into a strike that will only enrich a cash starved government by a 140 million a week in unpaid teacher and CUPE salaries. Once the LRB designates report cards and final exams as essential services, what leverage does the BCTF have? Clark and Fassbender should just let them throw their hissy-fit for the last two weeks of school. Then dedicate the 280 million savings from salaries to address the special needs funding that the BCTF will have us believe is more important than their 19% wage demands. Iker needs to be thrown a couple of face-saving bones so increase the signing bonus to $2000, reduce the term to 5 years, but hold the salary increases to 6.5 % to avoid “me too” clauses signed with other unions. Hopefully the BCTF will see this as fair deal but if not ,the government may have to borrow the NDP’s legislation bat. At the end of the day, teachers get a “self-funded raise,” needy kids get additional help, and no increases for a tax starved public. Most importantly, we won’t have to see this circus for another 5 years.

    • Excellent summary, but you are assuming intelligence on the part of teachers. The same group who has said they need all day Monday to study a proposal that a grade 8 student would have down in 45 minutes.

      • After hearing Iker and the BCTF claim it’s going to take their teachers a full day to study a three paragraph offer, I have to admit Iker is dead on. More special need aids must be hired to work one one one…..with the teachers.

  10. Class size is a red herring. I attended high school in the 50′s. and from Grades 9 thru 13 the class size was a low of 18 and a high of 33 with most classes over 25. As a student we didn’t complain and our graduation % was acceptable. We did what had to be done and nobody was spoon fed as seems to be the norm now. Incidentally there were 135 Grade 13 grads. So teachers and demanding parents a word of advice … suck it up…..

  11. Regardless of our views, the decision to commence a full-stage strike next week-based on an overwhelming mandate-reflects the collective bargaining process at work. Like any other union, by providing strike notice and going on strike if deemed necessary, teachers are utilizing a legitimate tool to exert pressure on their employer.

    So while some previous job actions have been ruled illegal and appropriate action taken against the teachers, this latest decision seemingly has avoided the previous pitfalls. A strike s/t essential service provisions, will be legal Absolutely, parents and students will be greatly inconvenienced and financially impacted in many cases. Unfortunately that is the reality and both parties are responsible for these circumstances due to their inability to reach an agreement.

    That said, a strike provides the government with several options including back to work legislation with an imposed settlement, do nothing immediately or negotiate an settlement via compromise or do nothing at all.

    However, whether the threat of a strike or a strike, itself, will gain anything for the teachers is yet to play out. The LRB essential services decision has already reduced the potential impact of a strike. It looks more and more that the government will be totally content to wait it out as realistically, the incremental educational value lost in the approximately 10 days of strike, in my opinion, is minimal.

    Having said this, Although I was not a teacher, I agree that teachers are in a very difficult decision in their struggle for fair wages and their constitutional right to bargain class size and composition. Hopefully, there will be a negotiated agreement in this round very soon.

    But it will be déjà-vu in future negotiations unless a seismic shift in the bargaining process is imposed on the two parties. That requires third-party intervention via binding arbitration where the default contract will contain only one of opposing “final offers” when the parties cannot agree….as I have been proposing since mid April. Binding arbitration based on the final offer concept is a “zero-sum” game-anyone who has been exposed to “game theory” will not require a further explanation.

  12. I support the teachers 100%. I know I could not do what any of them do every day. When I try to image hosting a kids birthday party for thirty elementary aged kids alone, even with the backyard to run around in, I think I would have a break down after the sixth hour. I would definitely expect at least one or two parents to help.

    Then I imagine the clean up after such a mess only to have to plan another birthday party all day the next day before I go to bed.

    Don’t even get me started imagining if any of them are high needs autistic or are extremely badly behaved.

    The thought of all that goes into planning a birthday party every day for a week, let alone a month or especially a year…..Then I try to imagine doing it when I can’t bribe them with treats or movies or games all day…. I sometimes wonder how I get through the day without bribing my own kids to do chores.

    Actually having to force them to sit down and learn for six hours in a row must feel like herding cats. I have been a foreman of a crew of thirty five adults using heavy machinery. I would prefer that since those guys take responsibility for themselves.

    So I definitely back the teachers 100% and wonder how they do it every day. I am surprised that so many parents put lower taxes above paying for a better education system. This system is broken. I see it in my daughter’s school everyday. It needs more money and if the teachers get more to do a job I wouldn’t be able to myself, I say good on them. I know they don’t get paid what they would be paid in the private sector with the same education, responsibilities, hours and workload.

  13. Trevor, you can ignore the fiscal realities of what the teachers want if you like, but it won’t ignore you.

    There is much more at play than just the affordability of the teacher deal. How are you going to pay for the bump in all the other public sector agreements due to the “me too clause”? What are you going to say to Nurses, of which there is a shortage (unlike the teachers), when they want more money? What about more money being demanded for mental health, welfare, transportation, justice system, etc….? What about the calls for reducing MSP premiums, carbon tax, hydro rates, ferry fares. How are you going to pay for all this?

    The teachers and their supporters need to grow-up. As much as we would all like to have the utopian education system, you cannot have what you cannot afford.

    I agree with your last comment regarding pay in the private sector….. teachers would be paid LESS in the private sector for the same hours and workload as they only work the equivalent of ten months of the year while the rest of us work twelve. They know how good they have it and that is why you don’t see teachers quitting, why you see a glut of unemployed teachers, and why you have full enrolment in teacher colleges.

    • Of course a “me too clause” was a deliberate tool to be used against teachers and the rest of the public service lapped it up. But I admit it was good bargaining strategy. We’ll see if that holds…

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