Day 1 of full strike by BCTF

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Day 1 of full strike by BCTF

This is day one of a full-scale strike by the BC Teachers Federation, and union President Jim Iker is standing firm.

Standing in front of a few dozen teachers at Delta Secondary, Jim Iker says he’s still optimistic a deal can be done by the end of the month.

But despite saying talks are scheduled for today and throughout this week, he wouldn’t commit to saying they’d be sitting at the table, when pressed for commitment.

He says, “Well, we’re going to be contacting government today, or the employer, about being at the table. And we need to hear from them that they’re actually in a positiion where they can looka t the proposals again and see if they can revise them in a way that will actually move us forward.”

Iker says class size and composition are the main sticking points.


  1. CUPE support staff are not being paid for strike nor are getting strike pay or any signing bonus offers.. “”"This offer is a PROPOSED offer given only if we accept the governments other conditions. The BCTF ,focus \This action although not illegal it is not what is needed..Why is the contract signing offer given after 16 months of none fruitful none movement. CUPE should be getting a signing bonus because we accept a offer within guidelines.. I Hope we All remember the “ME TO CLAUSE” that is put into our contract..
    Why do we not have teachers qualification recertifying at 5 year time lines.. This is what other Higher Paying Provinces of asked the Teachers to do.. (Alberta)
    Why do we pay for teachers Master degree even when they were never asked to use this degree.. We have other professionals that are high qualified but don’t get paid their pay scale because not needed.. The teachers are a national Federation with a mandate to get as much each contract to build the national level higher with each contract negation. This is why the BCTF knows and has full knowledge of each Provinces previous contract DEMANDS.. Maybe this is why Cristy Clark is aware of this knowledge and blocking the further side to TAX increases for ever.. Dont forget Children you will pay this tax increase once you become a well educated Adult employed Tax Pay-er ..

  2. This toxic militant union needs time be brought down once and for all !

    I hope this government has the guts to break the BCTF and rid the education system of the worst parasite affecting our kids !

    Any teachers that support the BCTF deserve to go down with it !

    • Dex, isn’t “union busting” the Plan? One at a time! Starting with the BCTF – Don’t worry, there will be no repercussions from Labor, in BC or accross Canada. They will accept the inevitable! If you believe that, look in the mirror with that Tin Foil Hat. Anyone in a union should read Dex’s comment with concern.

      • LorAx, every other Union, lately, has been at least reasonable. Can’t say as much for BCTF. They are so far out to lunch they are only hurting themselves (and kids). BCTF will continue striking, and losing money, and then get legislated back to work for 5%. Then the whole dance will start again. We’ve seen it so often we don’t even need a program anymore.

        • The BCTF is demonized by the Liberals because it suites their negotiated goals. You can trust who you want, but I have as much doubt about the Liberals as I have about the BCTF; I don’t have much respect for either. That does not mean the Labour Movement will not react to termination of teachers – they know where that’s going.

    • Not really sure what “brought down once and for all” means. You mean completely disbanded? Run into the hills by the Sheriff? Worst parasite affecting our kids? Seriously? If this were simply about the money, the teachers would be in the classroom where they belong. Teachers are looking out for our kids, otherwise, teachers would get the 8% they are asking. As for, “Any teachers…with it!” – again, what does that mean? This is not Syria man! Your comments are not very well thought out. Offer up some evidence to support your writing.

      • Read it again. You’ll figure it out.
        An opinion is an opinion. Asking for evidence for a questionable statement of fact is fair enough, but asking for evidence for an opinion is goofy.

        • Well, how do you draw that opinion? Normally speaking, in dialogues like these, you offer up information to support your argument, or opinion in this case. “Toxic militant union,” if I have quoted you correctly. Where does this come from? My opinion, based on the evidence above, your comment in particular, leads me to believe you do not have a clue about the issue but, rather, just angry. See how it works Dex?

          • I get what you’re saying Rick but lots of people are just plain fed up and angry. I’m one of them. We’ve been round and round the same block for months now. It’s obvious in some comments and trying to get explanation in logical terms isn’t always necessary. As much as this blog can often be an interesting debate, it’s also a place to vent a bit. That’s all I’m getting at.

  3. In my opinion the teachers don’t even know why they’re on strike. They are being manipulated by their union, and are following along blindly. They keep on spouting out the same old rhetoric “smaller class sizes, improved class composition”, “fair deal for teachers”. What does this mean? There will be a pay increase, the only question is how much. The teachers should be teaching and let their union negotiate their salaries and benefits………period. Everything else should be dealt with separately and the union should not be involved.

    • Andrew, Andrew, Andrew – let me explain it so you can understand. Teachers are on strike for an increased wage. That’s pretty simple to grasp. However, if this were about money only, teachers would be either teaching or invigilating as I write this note. This is where class size and composition comes into play. What class size means is that a maximum number of students can be placed into a classroom. The exact amount depends on the grade – earlier grades = smaller numbers of pupils. At high school, it is presently 30, with a fudge factor, as I understand it, of two or three. When teachers speak about class composition they mean that only so many students with, say, learning disabilities can be placed into a classroom. Until this government tore up the previous and lawful agreement, a class could have no more than three of same said students. The cap was, for obvious reasons, to allow the teacher to teach the other 27 students and, reasonably, address the needs of the students who need more support (those students with learning disabilities). If you don’t think that class composition is important, then please speak to a parent of a child with a learning disability. It is a very real thing, not a BCTF smoke screen. If it were just about the dough – teachers would be at work. How is that?

  4. The BCTF demands and the BCPSEA proposals are on the BCPSEA website.
    Unbelievable, well considering it is the BCTF, I guess not!

    Nothing at all like the picture being painted by the BCTF.

  5. It seems something will have to happen soon. It remains to be determined how essential the last two weeks of school are for our children’s education-grade 12 exams are an exception.

    But there is summer school and some schools are operating on an year-round basis- which will be far more impacted more than regular school if this strike continues past July 1.

    So if the dispute is not settled by june 30, I’m not so sure that contract resolution can wait for end of summer-unless specific agreements or rulings address summer school and year-round schooling.

      • @commonsense-you are really dense. I posted that we cannot wait for end of summer to reach a deal because of summer school and year round schooling. If the strike goes on through July, year- round schools will lose 6 weeks or 1/3 of the semester. I believe MR and Richmond have one or more year round schools. They need settlement by June 30 at the very latest.

  6. Both sides in this negotiation are very close on both term and wages. The sticking point is class size and composition. I’d like to see both sides settle on term and wages, and then agree to place CS&C on hold until the BC Court of Appeal makes a ruling.

    • I don’t think so Doug. The BCPSEA stated yesterday that the cost of wages and benefits proposed by the BCTF is 11.5%, and other unions settled for 5.5%. Even thought the BCPSEA appears to have offered more than what the other unions got (7%), it does not appear to be near enough for the BCTF. The $5,000 signing bonus is also a problem.

      • BCPSEA says other unions settle for 5.5…but no comment on whether or not changes were made to there benefits. Yet BCTF negotiations always have that number included….CUPE deal included benefit improvement. A larger signing bonus means government will make a one time payment this year…but not compounded on other years…better for BC tax payer and could come from millions saved on salaries

    • Nice to read someone can actually think “out of the box”s and suggest a resolution. This idea actually makes sense. Despite what Don says above, they are close on benefits and wage – that’s Fassbender’s view as well. Put the rest over until the courts have ruled.

      • It is not what I say, it is what was stated by the BCPSEA negotiator yesterday following Iker’s press conference. What inside information do you have that you are willing to share?

    • @Doug-Good well thought-out comment. Nice to see a matter-of-fact perspective being offered.

      I might add that the CS and CC issue, if possible, should be elevated to and dealt by the SCOC as quickly as possible. Otherwise, an unnecessary amount of money is being wasted by the government and the union.

      If the government kicks the can down the road, it runs a risk of losing money big time. A court decision favouring the teachers will be very and more expensive the longer it takes.

      While the BCTF may take comfort by possessing two decisions in it’s back pocket, it should wlecome a final decision sooner than later.

      If either party is uninterested in and does not strive for a quicker resolution, it would suggest that CS and CC are not as important as claimed.That would be a shane.

    • Oh come on light thinkers. Do you really think if it was that simple (an idea that has been tossed around since negotiations got ugly), that the experienced people on both sides would not have already agreed to this?

      Take a look at the news feed just posted by NW. You will see how far apart these sides actually are. It should be obvious to all thinkers that this is much more complicated than this simple solution.

  7. Liberals are demanding that any deal would involve BCTF giving up past grievances. ..then have an opener in contract that if BCTf wins again…class size and composition language in contract would be eliminated and both parties would have to renegotiate a new contract on this issue. ..starting from zero. This is why no deal being done at this time. Government wants no class size or composition language in any contract.

    • Which is the way it should be.

      Class size and composition cannot be so stiffly controlled in a contract and certainly cannot be the jurisdiction of the employees. Those charge with managing the education system need to have the flexibility to manage.

      No body elected the BCTF to be the stewards of education. Teachers need to deliver the services for which they are paid, and leave the management of the system to the democratically elected.

      • So I guess Ron you don’t believe in contracts or legally binding agreements. I guess I should have the ability to tear up contracts when I don’t like them any more…will start with my cell phone contract :)

    • Which is the way it should be! No employee should even consider DEMANDING how the employer delivers its service. The voters of BC have that responsibility, not a self-serving union.

    • @Dave. Missed your latest comment when I posted @ 5:32pm.

      Glad that you posted this because I was the only one to raise this issue yesterday.

      Your confirmation requires me to retract some of my 5:32 comments and agree with you-the government is consumed in its intent to remove all CS and CC language from the contract-even if it loses its appeal.

      So I can repeat my thoughts again: “This government wants it both ways-”Heads, the government wins and Tails, the BCTF loses.”

      I hope the government loses its appeal at the SCOC big time with huge costs awarded to the BCTF as well as paying a fine for every day that CS and CC is not addressed. How does $2 million per calendar day sound?

      If the government loses and it costs me big time to remedy the situation, I will regard that as a huge victory for democracy. I will even consider revealing my name if it isn’t known already.

      I don’t want to see anyone else’s rights trampled-like mine were.

      • Small correction. The appeal is being heard in the BC Court of Appeal. Remember, the taxpayers lost at the BC Supreme Court, the next level is the BC Court of Appeal. Up from that is the Supreme Court of Canada. Don’t get ahead of yourself

  8. Just finished review of respective positions of BCTF and BCPSEA posted today. There are no deal breakers – a well trained mediator should be able to bridge the gap if parties are willing to compromise. Drop the signing bonus – that’s just over the top; find middle ground on term etc. The Class Comp issue can be addressed either with EA’s and/or specialized classrooms to address identified special needs. They need to get back to the table

    • If you’re referring to the BCPSEA post, it may not provide the whole story- which is not unexpected. If the respective positions are so close as you determined, that doesn’t explain why no settlement was reached over the weekend.

      There had to be something else in play which was completely unacceptable to the teachers. Otherwise, I cannot see what the BCTF expected to achieve. The “me too” clauses provide the government with a powerful weapon to resist wage demands in excess of what other public sector unions received. BTW, a very clever strategy on the part of the government to agree to such clauses.

      Leaving the CS and CC issues up to the judicial system is the BCTF’s best strategy. In fact, that’s all that it has going for it. It will fiercely oppose any attempt by the government to negotiate any terms that would have the effect of rendering an appeal decision moot.

      That’s my opinion as a layperson in law.

      • No, I haven’t costed out the consequences should the government lose its appeal through the “judical system.” Is that better? Am I forgiven for my ignorance of the judical system? I aim to please.

        Until the appeal is dealt with, the potential costs weigh heavily in everyone’s mind -especially if the government loses. I acknowledge that this potential cost overhang, in part, influenced its decision to appeal.

        Having said that, if a government fails in its appeal, the costs are totally irrelevant to this decision.

        Because the game is over. It will be what it is..(courtesy of Todd Bertuzzi if you follow hockey).

        Hopefully the government factored in some risk analysis in its decision to appeal.

        Sorry for my essay,,,