Update on BCTF/BCPSEA bargaining

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

The union representing 40-thousand teachers across the province wants the BC Government to invest millions of dollars more in education funding to address issues of class size and composition.

In an updated memo to teachers, the BC Teachers’ Federation says that fund should be 225-million dollars.

The union says the “workload fund” would be used exclusively for the hiring of additional teachers.

On top of that, the teachers union wants a second 225-million dollar “retroactive grievances fund” to address other working conditions and improve health benefits.

In return, the union says it will withdraw grievances after a BC Supreme Court victory on class size and composition bargaining rights.

The memo says “Combined, the funds would immediately create better learning conditions for students and working conditions for teachers for the first day of school in September. At a cost of less than the price of the roof on BC Place, this is a fair and reasonable approach to improved funding for BC Schools.”

It also says ” the government’s own officials testified in Court that restoring the stripped provisions would cost an estimated $300 million.”

The statement says the BCTF is demanding an 8-percent salary increase over five years, while the BC Public School Employers Association is proposing a seven percent wage increase over six years.

The union wants a 5-thousand dollar signing bonus, while the employer is offering a 1200- dollar signing bonus if an agreement is signed by the end of June.

The union says no new agreements were reached yesterday, but the face to face talks were “positive.”

A BCTF spokesperson says bargaining resumed today, no word yet on any progress.

Comments

  1. The BCTF has dangled a proposal which the government might consider carefully in the context of the pending appeal.

    In my opinion, (and please note that I am not trying to influence anyone else) the BCTF has finally found its negotiating legs.

    The BCTF may well be sending a message-Commit $225 million now towards restoring CS and CC language and terms, accept a promise that past grievances will be withdrawn or pay later an amount to be determined-should the government lose ita appeal..

    This $225 million proposal is credible and is far less than the $300 million estimate provided to the court under oath by t the government to restore “stripped” provisions. Compare that with the current $75 million offer from the government.

    There is more clarity now. This is getting interesting .

    Perhaps it may boil down to “pay now or pay a lot more” when the BCTF wins in court. Food for thought.

    But the parties should now get down to real serious business and negotiate-all rhetoric set aside.

    • Do remember that the decision by the courts may not require then to reinstate and pay the full amount either. There are other considerations. However I do agree that the BCTF is finally negotiating properly using their legs.

    • I have heard a rumor that if the government loses their third court case. Their second appeal. they can still appeal one more time. After that they have the non with standing clause. BC’s schools are screwed.
      I have also heard a rumors that Christy Clark was denied entry into a teachers training program (PDP).

  2. Chances are slim to none Liberals will win appeal. Maybe that’s why they are demanding an opener clause if they lose appeal. They want contract which now would include class size and composition….and void it and start all over again. No one would do that after a 12 year fight. Christy needs to end her personal war with union. How much less would this have cost the bc taxpayer if this had been settled 10 years ago or even 5 years ago.

    • Dave, I respectfully disagree, I think there is an even chance to win on appeal. Both judgements were made by the same Judge and she could be wrong…..twice.
      Also, the Union would have appealed in a heartbeat and would have been foolish not to do so. So, please, take off your hypocrites hat for just a second.

    • @Dave-

      In my opinion, the worst thing that can happen now to the BCTF is that the government will legislate its terms in a collective agreement. But that does not end its CS and CC struggle because the pending government appeal is overhanging the entire issue. Eventually, the Appeal Court of BC (I hope I’ve got it right, Don) or someone further up the judical food chain will prevail and render a final decision. The BCTF has absolutely nothing further to lose. If it does not win. the government-sanctioned classroom environment will prevail. Some teachers may well decide that their environment is no longer tolerable and leave to be replaced by new teachers. And life will go on-with different consequences.

      If that scenario unfolds, I personally fear for the future of education. I fear that the quality of education will be severely compromised when funding commitment relies on an overconsuming-some would say fanatical-desire to balance the provincial budget. Implicit in that desire is the sense that the quality of education will vary in accordance with the state of provincial revenue. That kind of notion is better applied to expenditures on a stadium-roof, a toll-free highway and a soccer-team practice field – all of which were constructed while BC was running very high deficits. I know, I know-education has no impact on the economy unlike stadium roofs.

      Without venturing who will emerge as the ultimate victor in this judical dispute, it is the government-and ultimately the taxpayer- who will pay dearly-$300 million annually plus the cost of settling grievances-if it loses its appeal. Those are government numbers.

      Tou raise a very impotrtant point that it could have cost so much less if the matter was resolved 10 or even 5 years ago,

      To your comment, I might note that it would have cost even much less had the government not stripped contract provisions unconstitutionally in the first place. Government should have consulted with all stakeholders before embarking on this path. An entire generation of student children have lost out -if we are to believe what teachers and affected parents are telling us.

      My apologies to commonsense for submitting another essay to express my thoughts. And I haven’t attacked anyone.

    • Where are you coming from. Christies personal war with this union. This union has not got along with any government for the last 40 years. They think they are the government. They want to dictate the terms. Tell us where the money is going to come from.
      It is obvious that this bunch can’t balance their own check book and don’t care where the money comes from. They vote 86 percent to strike and then say. ” wait a minute I don’t have money for food”. Duh! How smart is that.

  3. Time to stop talking to this toxic, good for nothing union ! … The government needs to break the BCTF and stop their destruction of our education system once and for all !

  4. The BCTF has a New Demand on the Table. $5,000.00 signing bonus. Please explain how that is for the Kids?
    Also explain how that is bargaining in good faith, coming back to Table with new demand that will cost over $150,000,000. They just do not want to settle. They want to be legislated back, so they can whine for another 6 years how the big bad Liberals didn’t negotiate.
    Time for a Final offer. Let them make up their minds if they want to stay out or not.

    • People are conveniently forgetting the damages owed to teachers. The Liberals never appealed the 2011 Supreme Court loss. That means the Liberals agree they broke the law! We will have to pay for the government’s law breaking. Experts believe that means the BCTF members are potentially owed $600 million in damages/grievances. Some believe over a billion.

      The BCTF members are willing to accept a $5000 signing balance. If one uses 30,000 full time positions, that works out to $150 million. The teachers are willing to let THEIR other $450 million be put back into the system. This $5000 seems like a good deal for the province.

      Christy Clark wants to continue to appeal this for longer and longer. When it is all said and done the BCTF members will be owed $1 billion or more, plus legal fees. That will work out to $30,000 per full time teacher. The teachers are offering to walk away from all the grievances for JUST $5000 each. That is why they “need a signing bonus” As a taxpayer, this government better accept the offer before we are forced to pay up just as we had to pay the HEU.

      • @Ian, thanks for showing your true colours ! … it really is all about the money and if you have to use peoples kids as pawns then so be it ! … I have lost ALL respect for teachers that support the actions of the BCTF and none of you deserve to be in a classroom ! … you should all be ashamed !

  5. As much as I support the teachers, when I saw the 5k signing bonus I couldn’t believe it. How serious is the BCTF at wanting a settlement?? Don’t lose the support you have by being greedy.
    Additional funding is in order to better kids education but let’s not be self serving in your demands. Focus on the kids in class education!

      • People are conveniently forgetting the damages owed to teachers. The Liberals never appealed the 2011 Supreme Court loss. That means the Liberals agree they broke the law! Experts believe that means the BCTF members are potentially owed $600 million in damages/grievances.

        The BCTF members are willing to accept a $5000 signing balance. If one uses 30,000 full time positions, that works out to $150 million. The teachers are willing to let THEIR other $450 million be put back into the system. This $5000 seems like a good deal for the province.

        Christy Clark wants to continue to appeal this for longer and longer. When it is all said and done the BCTF members will be owed $1 billion or more, plus legal fees. That will work out to $30,000 per full time teacher. The teachers are offering to walk away from all the grievances for JUST $5000 each. That is why they “need a signing bonus” As a taxpayer, this government better accept the offer before we are forced to pay up just as we had to pay the HEU.

    • To help close the cost of living gap that teachers have been struggling with for 12 years.

      To help make up for the impact of two consecutive legislates 0% wage increases while the average across public and private sectors was at least 1.5%.

      To help BC teachers who will be likely denied a final paycheck and who have been suffering a 10% wage cut over the last month.

      Many good reasons to include a signing bonus.

  6. As a self employed professional and the parent of two school aged children I am disheartened with this entire process. The BCTF is so out of touch with the private sector such that demands for $3000 in massage therapy and IVF drugs are considered a right, really? I would love to see what the benefit package alone would cost out at. I do not have a benefit package but I know what I pay for medical, dental, glasses, and miscellaneous therapy. When people do not pay for something it has no value.
    The rhetoric is that this strike is about class size and composition. While that may an issue in the lower mainland it is less so in the interior. Our problem is declining enrolment and school boards reluctant to close schools. Class sizes are in the low 20 s with full time aides. Where is the hardship? There needs to be a serious reality check. In our community teachers are probably in the the top ten per cent of income yet they work considerably less than a full year, summer holidays, spring break, Christmas and paid stats. Pretty rough, compared to the private sector where holidays start a two weeks and maybe move up to six weeks but in most cases can not even be used because of work demands. Quite frankly I find it pretty hard to be sympathetic. I would rather have my tax dollars go to nurses.

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