BC teachers to picket summer schools if no deal reached by June 30

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

B.C. teachers plan to picket outside summer schools if a new contract can’t be reached in the next five days.

BCTF president Jim Iker says they didn’t take this decision lightly.

“It’s been a painful decision for us – to take the strong stand that we’re taking for our students for learning conditions and for our members because it’s their working conditions.”

Iker is asking parents and all B.C. residents to pressure the premier for a deal.

He says there’s room for compromise, but would not say specifically on what.

He says what’s most important is to get a mediator involved.

Both sides plan to sit down in what are being called “exploratory talks” this afternoon at 1:30 p.m.



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  1. As we all wait in anticipation of what bumbling move could Mr Iker come up with this time. Will it be:

    a) Ah screw it, I quit. Mike Lombardi, take over. Life was so much simpler being the union rep for a school district that no longer exists.
    b) The teachers have talked it over and decided that we really like having the last two weeks of June off. We want that in our contract also.
    c) For the love of God, would you just please, please legislate us back.

    • d) OK Christy, I gave you what you wanted. A bankrupted union, impoverished teachers standing in foodbank lines, a miserable summer of picketing in the blazing sun, and 200 million dollars in unpaid wages to score political points so you can fund special needs without raising taxes.

      Will you go out with me now?

  2. If summer school goes ahead it must mean there’s a settlement! What? They’ll still be on strike? Then it would be absolutely WRONG to have summer school.

  3. these demands should be split in two. either concentrate on class size demands or salary demands. let the taxpayers see where your heart lays , kids or wallets.

  4. For What Its Worth
    At this point egos are in the way of reason! Neither party is prepared to give an inch and compromise. In candor, I am not familiar with every aspect of every position taken by the parties, but it appears obvious that both are entrenched in their positions. This is where parties need to walk away and give themselves a good talking too and return with fresh ideas. Threatening summer school is extreme if the students who intend to attend are there for the sole purpose of improving their standing for graduation /or university entrance – that is counter productive for students and in no ones interest. It is definitely not within the goals of the teacher who want the best for children. I understand where their hearts are, but this is misguided. Their leader needs to take a breath of air and re-think his strategy.

    Here’s my suggestion – both parties agree to a “cooling off period’ of 3 weeks. Recommence negotiations in late July. Build up good faith (not in the legal sense but in the practical sense) . Jim Iker needs to retain professional negotiators and take on the role of adviser to those negotiators. He is a teacher and a well intentioned idealist and is out of is league.

    The class size composition issue should be referred to an independent body; a body appointed by teachers and government who are versed in education fundamentals and public policy funding issues. Their decision does not have to be binding but can act as a guide. Grievances can be dealt with in that context. Restoration of 2001 contracts, retroactively is unsustainable and the BCTF needs to get past that.

    • Garp – few more profound words have been spoken that Mr Iker needs to hire some professionals to guide him out of the mess he and his team have created. Maybe he is a great teacher and obviously he is an impassioned socialist, but he is about the worlds worst labour negotiator. The govt knew this would be a tough round of negotiations, particularly in light of the fact that they were going to hold the fiscal purse strings very tightly, so they went out and hired a professional negotiator in Peter Cameron. But the teachers send the bumbling, but probably nice Jim Iker.

  5. The BCTF keeps saying the gov’t should do everything the teachers want. We the taxpayer supply the money. We voted for Christy and the liberals to look after our budget NOT the BCTF who would have us in the hole DEEP.
    By the way who is going to pay for this mediator??

      • R – that comment is highly disingenuous, as I am sure that you are aware that a one time savings will not fund teachers salary increases into the future. It is very much along the lines of the inane school of thought that somehow having the one time expense of putting a new roof on the stadium could have funded educational needs into the infinite future. I would applaud the govt if they came out at the end of this whole mess and committed all savings to the purchase of textbooks etc.

  6. Both sides are out to lunch.
    BCTF asking their teachers to sign up to picket through the summer around mostly empty buildings is really DUMB!
    Liberals wanting to have the LRB declare that Summer School is now an essential service, when most districts don’t even offer summer school. Then they will be forced to offer summer school in every little district = $$$$. That’s even DUMBER !
    Hollywood can’t write a better script for the latest version of “Dumb and Dumber”!
    This is what happens when uneducated people become leaders.
    But you commentators can keep picking sides… mmmm…. should i pick “DUMB” or “DUMBER”; mmm keep asking yourselves “what do I support?” LOL
    Wake up and stop trying to support STUPIDITY. The Liberals suck and so do the BCTF.

    • Summer school has been planned and budgeted for long ago Corman. It sounds like it will be paired down but go ahead for those needing a better grade as planned. The government simply doesn’t want their future plans stalled or stopped. They sure aren’t asking for any more summer classes than what happens every year.

  7. Another perfect example of the BCTF acting on what is best for the BCTF and its members while using students as pawn or tool to achieve their means……punish their clients(students). I say fire the lot and hire back whom ever wants to work under current conditions/or hire non union teachers. Either way, I’m willing to bet those teachers picket lines around the schools disappear July 2 with or without job action which will be a great example of how teachers really care.

    • You can’t fire teachers for trying to get a raise and lower class sizes, that would be wrongful dismissal. The BCTF is here to stay, deal with it.

      • The BCTF will be done eventually and if it takes firing all the teachers then so be it !

        We need a non union workforce of teachers in this province, they should never have been allowed to unionize in the first place !

        I do believe the traffic controllers in the U.S. told Reagan they couldn’t be fired as well R, we all saw what happened there and that needs to happen here for the sake of the kids !!!

  8. 8.5% over seven years, class size remains same, drop the $3000 massage, benefits otherwise stay the same, roll back the signing bonus to two grand,leave the class composition until the courts decide and the two sides honor the decision – simple!

  9. Iker is being played by Fassbender like a cheap banjo. When Fassbender pleaded with Iker to not strike, Iker had to called for a strike vote the very next day. Outcome: Teachers/CUPE -200 million $. Government +$200 million $. Now that they are broke, how do you punish the BCTF further? Why not ask Iker to let summer school run knowing Iker will beat his chest and refuse. If the LRB supports the government, thankful parents will credit the government but if the LRB shoots down summer school, Iker has just been sucked into screwing 40,000 teachers out of their cherished summer vacation. So heads the government wins, and tails the BCTF loses. Fassbender knows Iker is like a defiant little kid who has been told never to stick a fork into the toaster. So Fassbender eggs him on and Iker predictably, gets toasted time and again. You could not pay for entertainment like this and how Fassbender can contain the his laughter is beyond me. By now you’d think that Iker with a singeing mullet, would have figured it out, but judging from how well he’s lead the BCTF, it may take 3rd degree burns. Luckily the government has agreed to pay Iker’s medical through the strike.

  10. Oh I’m pretty sure they took the decision lightly. Go for the gravy. Who cares what other unions accepted or tax payers screw them. Summer holiday time. Lets get that gravy train status quo on track and ready because the Lexus dealership needs more clients from the BCTF.

    • Give your head a shake!

      Other unions got 3.5% raises last contract the teachers got 0% (over the last 4 years).

      BTW all teachers have at least 6+ years of university education, student loans aren’t cheap.

      • I believe that when other unions got 3.5% in the last round of negotiations, they had to find the equivalent amount in savings in their contracts. The teachers were offered an additional 0.75% in this contract in return for less sick days, and well, we know how that went. So the argument that teachers deserve a bigger raise is nullified, as is usually the case when dealing with teachers.

        BTW, teaching degrees are easily attained in 5 years (four year initial degree in basket weaving and then a 12 month BEd.). Maybe you are getting confused by the fact that most teachers flunk out of their original faculty before fleeing to teacher school.

  11. What Else Is New?

    We’ve had 40 years of the BCTF calling the shots and governing by “turmoil” the public education system in BC. Please read the book, or at least read the description of the book — World’s Apart – BC Schools, Politics and Labour Relations Before and After 1972, 2011, Bendall Books. Dr Fleming predicted that the public would get so fed up with all this “discord” and these “old organizational relationships to the point that a new ‘post-public’ universe of schooling will emerge”.

    Dr Pat McGeer, Education Minister in 70s, had a column in the Province stating this “warfare” has been plaguing BC’s school system for decades. In one of the many comments I mentioned that the intelligentsia in each camp are well aware of the literature in the field of public school politics and that we do NOT need to “fix” a structurally dysfunctional system but need new models.

    It’s time that the public, not just the “intelligentsia”, became fully acquainted with the calculated strategies employed by the BCTF in their long-term ideological goal of “worker control of the workplace”. Even labour relations writers are in awe. Read Sara Slinn as she concludes that whatever the political orientation of the government of the day, the BCTF will continue to pose “formidable challenges”. By using the strategy of “overwhelming onslaught of litigation” and adhering to the plan to “restructure the reality” so that “the law would follow” and by utilizing a “different trajectory” than other public sector workers — a formidable opponent.


    If you don’t want to read all of what the “intelligentsia” knows from this Slinn article (55 pg), just read the short Conclusion — and then place your bets. It’s likely to be a long hot summer — even if Staples is already preparing their floor for BACK TO SCHOOL — some are predicting school opening for October!

    Homework such as the Fleming book and the full Slinn article should make for a better prepared public since media and PR are being used as part of the weaponry in this seemingly endless School War.