Teachers rally to call for mediation

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

Thousands crammed into the plaza in front of Canada Place in Vancouver this evening to rally in support of BC public school teachers.

They heard from the heads of groups including the BCTF, the BC NDP, the Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress.

With no sign of a deal on the horizon, BC teachers are calling for mediation in hopes an independent party could turn the key in deadlocked negotiations.

“We’re hopeful that this is the next step to get where everybody says they want to be.”
“Its absolutely the time, we need a deal, we are so desperate to be back with our students.”
“I have a lot of respect for Vince Ready, I think he would come to a fair settlement.”
“It’s time to bring somebody else in to bring some sanity to the process.”

Union President Jim Iker says veteran mediator Vince Ready should be step in to help broker a deal by the end of June.

Teachers claim the two sides are not too far apart.

“We are within one percent on wages, so wages I think is a side issue that we can agree on fairly easily, with class size and composition I think that there is a way forward.”

“Where they say they are millions of dollars apart is on class size and composition, which this same government stripped out of our collective agreement.”

“The government has saved over three billion dollars, and the courts told them they had to restore our contract.”

Education Minister Peter Fassbender says the government has addressed the issue of class size and composition with a 75-million-dollar-a-year fund, but the union says that’s not enough.

Teachers are heading into a fourth day of a full-scale walkout by more than 40,000 teachers across the province.


  1. Just one month ago Iker said he would consider a mediator when the sides are “closer together”. He’s since added multi millions of taxpayer dollars to the list of demands – and now he thinks it’s a great time for a mediator. Who’s running his dog and pony show? They really have had no clue what their doing. If he thinks he can go for the moon now after 16 months and then somehow meet half way, he’s dreaming.

    • Obviously Iker and the teacher don’t like the message they are getting , so they think if they change the messenger , they might find someone that has some sympathy for them. What they fail to understand is that Joe Public is fed up … completely fed up.. with their ” Its all about the Kids” BS .. when we all know its all about them .

  2. “Wages”, or “salary” as professionals might call them. , aren’t the main problem. Give teachers the cost of living increase ( avg. 2% per year since 2000) ,and they would probably accept. That would be 8% over four years, 10 % over 5, 12 % over 6 years.

    Even though teachers have received less than the cost of living for 14 years,
    the government offer of 6.5 % over six years, doesn’t even meet the cost of living. It’s actually a salary cut. After six years of zeroes out of 12 years, it’s just not fair or equitable.

    “Teacher’s demands are higher than all other public unions… ” Not true.

    Metro Vancouver Firefighters settlements average 6% over three years, except for Delta,: 20% over 8 years. Vancouver cops averaged 6% increase over two years.

    Federal workers are doing fine – averaging about 2% per year.
    The only thing that’s “broken” is teacher bargaining for 76 meetings with the final word beingv

    Since 2001, teacher’s salary has gone up 20 %, less than 1% per year – not making inflation since
    the 1990”s

    • Considering the only people I know who get regular pay increases for cost of living are those associated in some fashion to tax-payer funded sources. I have no sympathy for the teachers.

      When you tally the total cost of their demands and connect the dots between what they want and what the government is offering, the teachers have not made any great concessions. Their demands were ultra high to begin with. Despite the rhetoric-the two sides are not close.

      Class composition needs to be addressed- take all ESL kids and give them English immersion in a stand alone format. Then place them back into a regular classroom at whatever level they are at when their language skills are at an acceptable level.

      Most of my friends and family have taken pay cuts and / or are on the verge of losing their jobs due to the economy. None of us will retire in our 50′s with the kind of pensions teachers get-most are self-employed and don’t have a pension.

      So until the teachers get the costs of their demands in line with the other unions that have settled recently and focus on kids education issues like class composition and extra services to address special needs -they do not have my support.

      • Seriously? A fair deal? Teaching was once among the most repected professions. Since the early days of the BCTF, that respect has dwindled to a now all-time low because it no longer flows both ways. So don’t pin the blame on every government we’ve elected or the public for any lack of respect. Blame the self-serving arrogant BCTF alone.

  3. I am to the point of Begging the gov’t to NOT bargain with the BCTF. I have never seen a more disgusting group.
    You people are spoiled rotten. Increased money for massages ? Who in hell gets massages in the private sector? Millions for past grievances, unbelievable pensions, over the top medical benefits, sabbaticals, I had to pay for my own upgrading. The list of your benefits and your constant harm to students is too long to list.
    Please gov’t protect my tax dollars. Stop talking to these clowns. If you don’t we will be in the same position forever.

  4. independent schools or private schools, it seems like which ever partyt is in power the BCTF cannot get along with. These are teachers not fireman or policeman, the teachers do not put the lives on the line.

    • have you driven by a firehall at 12AM…Looks like they’re really putting their lives on the line…Why don’t you ask how many have done that in the past 5 years..

      • dave, you really don’t understand how real life is. What a stupid statement.
        Surely even you must understand what a fireman does. Unbelievable.

        I would suggest that you have never been out of the system. Started school at 6 and have not been out of it since. You listen to your union continually telling you how bad you have it, and not knowing anything else, believe it.

        I think this is the problem with a number of Teachers. That is why they just don’t get it. You need some real world time, dave.
        I realize it would be very hard for you, actually dealing with adults and real adult problems.
        First you alienate the CUPE members by stating they don’t deserve the same benefits as Teachers, ’cause they don’t have a degree, and now the Firemen. (Who by the way, do one hell of a lot for the community).

    • What a stupid statement “Teachers don’t put their lives on the line”

      Have you not seen the number of shootings in schools lately? If there is a lock down in a school who is there for the children?

      Here’s a stat for you: 102 shootings in schools since 2010.

      • Climb down to reality “R”. First responders choose daily to be ready to walk into dangerous situations to protect the rest of us. You’re argument suggests no one else is in danger of gun wielding crazies. Well we all are, and if caught in a church, mall, theater, etc would assist those around us in a heartbeat.

  5. Why does one side in a stalled collective bargaining situation get to stall mediation?
    This makes even less sense when one considers that the Liberals have been cited in a BC Supreme Court decision [February 2014] for bargaining in bad faith, for trying to provoke a strike.
    It is time to cut through the “pretend/sham”, “spin-bargaining” and appoint an objective third party mediator.
    Final point: is there any more valid objective third party than a BC Supreme Court Judge?

  6. Cue the sound of those AC/DC bells…..

    those bells are for you Iker.

    Apparently Marxism may be making a comeback in Russia, you might find an ear there.

  7. I wonder if the BCTF really should be demanding medation under the present situation.

    Insiders have suggested that renowned Vince Ready-and other mediators-will not likely mediate/arbitrate this dispute, after experiencing all kinds of alleged abuse from the BCTF in earlier disputes. Implicit in those comments is the sense that a mediator may not be fair to the BCTF. If that is true, then Iker may be jumping into the fire from the frying pan.

    But having said that, I have every cofidence in the mediation process and our mediators/arbitrators who perform their jobs well under difficult and adversial circumstances.

    But there are exceptions-involving a private consumer arbitration case which did not favour me. To appeal through a potential expensive court battle against a multi-national was out of the question. But I lodged a complaint against the arbitrator through available channels-it was upheld and the said arbitrator resigned his roster position.

    But, Iker’s call for mediation should be taken at face value and supported by everyone-including the government which ought to be less coy and equivocal.

    Even if mediation does not resolve the dispute, it will provide an independent third party perspective of the respective positions-instead of press conferences which suggest the two parties were on different planets.