BCTF wants mediator to settle labour dispute in August

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

While the Premier says her negotiators are calling the BCTF weekly to restart contract talks, the news came as a surprise to the union’s president.

Jim Iker says his phone is not ringing.

“Well I am hoping that it is not he said he said or he said she said. I was curious to hear that they have been phoning us weekly because we haven’t recieved any phone call. We want a deal before school starts. I am hoping that we can get one. I think what we need to do is go into mediation.”

As for mediation Iker says he even has a date in mind.

“Well were hoping that we could have gone into mediation with Justice Kelleher the week of July 7th when he was available. We know he has the week of August 4th available so we are hoping that government will agree to go into mediation with us. I think we will get an agreement once we enter into mediation so that is our hope.”

The ministry of education says it is also ready to negotiate with or without a mediator if the union commits to an affordable deal.

“Well we think we are in the affordability range in class size. What we have on the table is a work load fund of $225 million to address the conditions of class size and class composition specialist ratios for the interim while we wait for the next decision of the Appeal court.”

The two sides have not met since the end of June.

A parent’s activist group is urging the BC Government to accept the BC Teachers Federation’s offer of entering mediation next month in an effort to reach a negotiated settlement.

Marlene Rodgers with Protect Public Education says the last thing anyone wants is picket lines up in September.

“It’s really important the kids get back to school in September, and the teachers, if they can sit down together, that would be exactly what we want to see, and that’s exactly what the petition is asking Premier Clark to do.”

A petition signed by 1400 people was delivered to the Premier’s office encouraging her to end the stand-off with the teachers union so school can resume in the fall.

Comments

  1. Iker never mentions that other 225 million per year to boost the benefits of existing teachers or the fact he’s demanding the union has equal weight in deciding who gets hired and where they work. He’s also refusing to have an open review of class composition to decide what the need is, he wants it decided only on the anecdotal evidence brought forward by teachers.

    • In her ruling Justice Griffin gave BCTF the right to grieve breaches of our illegally stripped contract language. This could potentially come to $400-500million dollars. The BCTF has offered to waive the right to grievances and to settle for $250M to offset parts if our contract. As such it represents a potential savings for the government.

      • They are asking for 450 million. 225 million to improve the benefits of existing members and 225 million to hire new teachers with the union having equal say in the hiring and placement of those teachers. And those numbers are per year. 225 million is more than 3,000 new teachers per year (wages, benefits. pensions). That’s more than 15,000 new teachers, and keep in mind that special need kids are supported by SEAs, a different group.

    • Don’t know where you get your information from, but the the class size/composition numbers are from the Government’s own request to Districts for ‘how much would it cost’ to re-instate the 2002 illegally stripped contract language that has been court ordered twice to be returned. The first time, the government put it back in the school act then took it back out with more ‘stripping’ language and threw a bucket of pennies into each district, making schools fight for their trinket of copper. This time, they are appealing.

    • Let the BCTF find a creative way to settle the wages + benefits issues so overall it is more in line to what other unions have accepted.
      Then focus on class composition and size.
      If the union is still on strike- where are the picket lines?

      • In my district, summer school was cancelled so there was no need to picket.

        The thing is, this is about the constitution and the charter of rights, not wages. If it were about wages we would have settled a long time ago. I have lost more so far than I could ever make back before the end of the contract being negotiated, even if we get the 8% we are asking for. That means I am actually in the hole. If we let the government get away with ignoring the law, and we give them carte blanche to do whatever they want. Their ultimate goal is privatizing eduction. http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/07/14/bc-liberals-favour-private-schools.

        • If you’re under the illusion that some Tieleman “opinion” gives any meaningful information you’re saddly mistaken. On the contrary, it shows he is nothing more than a BCTF/NDP driven mouthpiece. There’s not one bit of fact that says the Liberal government is out to privatize education.
          “If it was about wages we would have settled a long time ago” is nonsense. Just take a look how far apart the union demands are from the government offer or the many other negotiated settlements. Iker’s call for a mediator when he’s in a whole different ball park is nothing more than grasping for an escape hatch.
          If the TF has any credibility they would have considered your and your colleagues potential losses. For the past 4 decades the BCTF has never had anything to do with the Charter of Rights and everything to do with their own power and political goals.

    • 3k in massage therapy? Over how many years is that figure? You do realize these are therapeutic massages right? Prescribed by a doctor to treat an injury not a day at a spa. Can you afford private school for your kids? I can’t but my child deserves the same small classes, support and individualized attention as advertised by publicly funded private schools.

      • You didn’t know about the massage therapy 3K demand? It’s amazing how many BCTF members do not even know their own union’s demands. See below what D wrote section 5e and 6. Sigh

    • More misinformation… 3k massage therapy? Which hat did you pull that one from? If it were benefits the Government and BCTF were dickering over, then teachers would have a deal already. This government has no intention on negotiating class size/composition and never has. Underfunding of the public school system needs to stop. Every district in this province has faced funding cut, after funding cut, after funding cut. Unfortunately, teachers are the only one’s willing to take a stand and fight for what is right.

      • The #3,000 massage [er year (with prescription) and the $600 per year (without prescription) is in the official BCTF proposal. I’m amazed how few BCTF supporter haven’t actually read what the BCTF is demanding.

          • No, that’s wrong. The proposal states 600 per year without a prescription, $3,000 per year with a prescription. It’s right in the proposal and it’s very clear that it’s per year. Try reading it prior to commenting.

          • BCTF Proposal U65 Article B (under the u70 umbrella proposal)

            Section 5e:
            Massage Therapist 2015: $600 2016: $700

            Section 6:
            Massage Therapist $3,000 per year, if service prescribed by doctor.

            There rest of section 5 are the other services such at naturopath and acupuncture., those are 600 per year in 2014 moving to 700 per year in 2015.

            Section 1 is the 20,000 in 2014 for fertility treatments, moving to 30,000 in in 2015. That is a life time limit.

          • Sorry, I was looking at a previous proposal. $3000 is excessive. That being said, that is not necessarily the objective the BCTF has in mind. You have to ask for more than you want in bargaining.

    • Sammy: the first three things you mention are bargaining points. The $250M benefits is costed at everyone using everything–that never happens, not even close. But what “20+” days off are you talking about? It sounds like you’re making stuff up to spin an anti-government article to be anti-teacher.

  2. I think the BCTF is nuts if they think they will get a contract that doesn’t settle the lawsuit. Leaving it open, leaves the taxpayers open to a massive bill in the future and if they havent noticed, people like to know what things cost before they sign on the line.

    • This isn’t an issue of seniority or experience. The language of the BCTF proposal demands that the union have an equal hand in deciding where new teachers will be placed. You should really read the proposal before commenting.

      • I have read the BCTF proposal. I have also read BCPSEA’s proposal. Do you realize that their proposal states that if either party is unhappy with the results of the court case, they can terminate the contract and bargaining starts again? The BCTF wants the result of the court case upheld, and the government wants to try and to get away with ignoring the law again. BCPSEA is also asking for concessions that effectively wipe out all hours of work provisions? You do realize that part of bargaining is asking for more than you want/need right?

        • Do you know that the BCTF is trying to reduce the instructional time of elementary teachers by 180 minutes per week (over the next three years)? What happens to the kids during that time? I’m assuming new teachers will have to be hired to cover that or are there provisions being presented that would allow teachers to work those 3 hours for an increase in pay? That portion doesn’t seem to be covered in the proposal.

        • Do you know the reason for the termination clause? The courts can’t insert language into a contract. That contract would have to be made void for any changes to occur prior to the contract ending. To do that one party would have to go and ask the courts to void the contract. This way either party can do it without involving the courts and the added costs associated with that. Seems more than reasonable.

  3. $225 million to address the conditions of class size and class composition specialist ratios for the interim while we wait for the next decision of the Appeal court.” Did any one of you two read? I can just here you scream if the government loses there appeal!

  4. Teachers should get rid of this, thing, called BCTF and reorganize. I have a hard time figuring out if the BCTF is a union for the teachers or a disagreeable arm of the NDP.
    Did I use the right description, or should I have used dysfunctional arm of the NDP??

    • Separate the union. Metro Vancouver Teachers Association, Vancouver Island Teachers Association, BC Interior Teachers Association. Done! Let the union represent the areas of the teachers, not the whole province.

  5. Tired ole JIm . . . got the troops out on the street with their empty strike fund . . . and has NO idea how to fix the mess he created.
    When do the teachers in BC wake up?
    In the next decade there are going to be massive changes in the way education is provided to the masses. Will BC be a leader or as the BCTF wishes a group of luddites?

    For over a century, there has been a mass illusion that has been fostered by beneficiaries of tax money. This money has gone to teachers and educators. This illusion is as follows: state certification necessary to be a good teacher.
    This illusion has been basic to the creation of the teachers’ union. It is this commitment to what is laughingly known as professionalism that has been the basis of legal barriers to entry.
    There was never any scientific or any other kind of evidence that indicated that going through a teacher-training program designed by men and women on college faculties would in any way improve the education of children.
    People who teach in MBA programs have never owned businesses. People who teach psychology have never worked as full-time psychologists. Professors get themselves licensed by their own group, few of whom have had any experience in the free market, where profit and loss determine who survives and who fails. Then, having created a state-mandated barrier to entry, they earn above-market wages paid by taxpayers. This starts at the university level, and then it moves down to the very lowest levels of the educational system.
    It is all a farce. It is summarized by the slogan we have all heard: “He who can, does. He who can’t, teaches. He who can’t teach, teaches teachers.”

    • Actually, most of my professors, especially in the methods classes, had extensive experience in the classroom. The exceptions were the instructors for the theory classes, but even then, they had some experience. My faculty advisor, the person who oversees and evaluates student teachers during their practicum, was a retired principal who had 18 years in the classroom before becoming a principal.

      • Did you actually read it Mary?
        “Professors get themselves licensed by their own group, few of whom have had any experience in the free market, where profit and loss determine who survives and who fails. Then, having created a state-mandated barrier to entry, they earn above-market wages paid by taxpayers.”

        The reality is the present format is a joke . . . what’s the future you say?

        Salman Khan in 2006 began posting his mathematics screencast videos that he produced for his nieces and nephews. People began to come to his website to see the videos. He kept producing more videos. He offered them free of charge.
        Today, 10 million students are using his videos. They are using them in school systems and also in homeschooling environments all over the world. The students must speak English. That is the main barrier to entry, other than Internet access. Internet access is going to get cheaper. Learning English as a second language is going to get cheaper. And, before too long, there will be automatic translation programs that can be applied to videos. Khan will someday be teaching 100 million students.

    • Tired Ole Dale with his ridiculous assumptions would be more like it. Ok, here we go again. The strike pay, I am told, is about fifty bucks. That is not enough to keep guys like you in cigarettes. Besides, there are only a handful of teachers picketing not and, in September, if there is no strike pay it is no big deal. It is not about the fifty bucks. Next, not even sure what some of you points are about. What is the illusion? Teachers go to university like those who are in almost every other profession. Your point, with regards to this matter, is convoluted! With regards to your message down below, are you really saying that students are better off watching videos for instruction. That could work for those who are motivated to learn, but what about that portion of the population who could care less about learning? Will Salman Khan and his nieces and nephews do what they can to reach those students? News flash Dale – not every student is disciplined enough to watch a video, do the work and then submit the work. Get real! How about the struggling learners? To hell with them? Where’s Khan? Teaching is a skill man, whether you wish to acknowledge that or not. Sure, not every teacher entering the work force out of university is great; what profession guarantees 100% perfection in their line of work? Is every dentist, doctor, engineer great? Now, I have to back up to the comment, “he who can does…teachers.” That is such an old and worn out canard – you talk like you are new think, but you sound more like Tired Ole Dale than Mr. Iker. Teach via videos – they don’t even call them videos anymore Dale – that’s how up to speed your thinking is man. By the way, you begrudge teachers a raise and, what until recently was legal, the right to negotiate class composition, because it costs too much, but you are, apparently, ok with 28% hike in hydro, a buck and a half gas and, as stated in the CKNW’s first news item, BC government’s list of those making five hundred grand or more is growing longer and longer. Dale, who is under the illusion?

    • Tired Ole Dale with his ridiculous assumptions would be more like it. Ok, here we go again. The strike pay, I am told, is about fifty bucks. That is not enough to keep guys like you in cigarettes. Besides, there are only a handful of teachers picketing now and, in September, if there is no strike pay it is no big deal. It is not about the fifty bucks. Next, not even sure what some of you points are about. What is the illusion? Teachers go to university like those who are in almost every other profession. Your point, with regards to this matter, is convoluted! With regards to your message down below, are you really saying that students are better off watching videos for instruction. That could work for those who are motivated to learn, but what about that portion of the population who could care less about learning? Will Salman Khan and his nieces and nephews do what they can to reach those students? News flash Dale – not every student is disciplined enough to watch a video, do the work and then submit the work. Get real! How about the struggling learners? To hell with them? Where’s Khan? Teaching is a skill man, whether you wish to acknowledge that or not. Sure, not every teacher entering the work force out of university is great; what profession guarantees 100% perfection in their line of work? Is every dentist, doctor, engineer great? Now, I have to back up to the comment, “he who can does…teachers.” That is such an old and worn out canard – you talk like you are new think, but you sound more like Tired Ole Dale than Mr. Iker. Teach via videos – they don’t even call them videos anymore Dale – that’s how up to speed your thinking is man. By the way, you begrudge teachers a raise and, what until recently was legal, the right to negotiate class composition, because it costs too much, but you are, apparently, ok with 28% hike in hydro, a buck and a half gas and, as stated in the CKNW’s first news item, BC government’s list of those making five hundred grand or more is growing longer and longer. Dale, who is under the illusion?

      • Rickey . . . many wind up in the “teaching profession” by defaut . . . after they FAIL at their original goals.
        Most Teachers have never had a Real Job in the Real World . . . they have gone to school all their lives . . .

        Teachers work less than half the year . . . and get benefits most in the Private Sector can only dream about. Many in the Private Sector lost their sick days 10 or 20 years ago . . .

        Education has been on a downward slide for several decades . . . do the teachers take any responsibility for this?

        Education is going to drastically change in the coming decades, only a Luddite would sit and think that the “Status Quo” is working . . . it is NOT !
        Universities have been complaining for years at how poorly prepared high school graduates are today . . . is that the fault of the BCTF?

        “He who can, does. He who can’t, teaches. He who can’t teach, teaches teachers.”

  6. The BCTF should get back to the Table and start negotiating. Again, they need a way out of their own made mess.
    They are just incapable to make the necessary decisions to conclude an Agreement. Someone else has to make the decisions for them, then they are not to blame.
    Everyone in B.C., but apparently the Teachers, can see where the deal is, You can delay this as long as you like, but it is not going to be any different then!
    When will Teachers realize history has demonstrated their way(BCTF) has not worked! Maybe it is time to try a different approach?

    • You may be right about the different approach, but what would that be? Teachers and the BCTF have very little power right now against a government that is doing it’s best to destroy public education. While teachers would like a wage increase, they have lost far more than they could ever make back. It’s really the government – they have not realistically countered any BCTF proposal. Christy is still talking about a ten-year deal at fundraisers, when they moved off that to 6 years in May. Why is she still talking about that? I think it’s because she is going to stall well into September, so that everyone is ticked off about the students not being in classes and then impose the contract that she wanted teachers to accept in the first place. Her ultimate goal is to privatize the system. Should teachers roll over and allow Christy and company to destroy public education, and ignore not just Canadian law but international labour laws? Have you checked out her Blueprint for education? Read this: http://teachteens.org/2014/07/13/lets-make-some-money/

      • Don’t forget, you have a choice too. You can call Iker and tell him to get on with it and work towards presenting a proposal that suggests the BCTF is in the present day. When you say that the government has not realistically countered a BCTF offer, tell Iker to earn his fat paycheque and present a realistic proposal. If my car’s worth $10,000 and I advertise it for $25,000, who do you think will even bother responding to my ad?

      • Mary, you do understand that all that has been accomplished so far was mostly done prior to the strike. YOU were the ones that made a conscious decision to go out, don’t start whining now as to what you are giving up.
        YOU could have stayed in school and accomplished exactly the same, and lost no wages. Do you not get that.
        It is nobodies fault but yours. You made your decision, put your real world pants on and deal with it!

  7. It is wrong and unethical to gravy up the BCTF members at the cost of raising taxes putting more people in to poverty in this province. The BCTF just demand more money, don’t care where it’s suppose to come from, just as long as it comes. Teachers have existing benefits, vacations, and pay well above the average citizen here and now demanding many families who have so much less to pay more to support their gravy train. I for one are proud of this government for standing up to this union and not giving in. It’s amazing how many BCTF members don’t even know what their union is demanding. Read section 1, 5e, and 6 for example? $3000 per year massage therapy benefits, 250M dollars more on top of existing gravy benefits, 5K signing bonus, and more days off then school days for example. If the BCTF only dropped those nonsense gravy demands then government could have serious conversation about how to really help kids.

  8. To my understanding the $$$ millions the BCTF is asking for is not to go in their pockets. When you actually read past the propaganda, you should notice that the government has not budget on putting back any money for students. The BCTF is asking for $225 million to be put towards supporting students with learning needs, not for their pockets. The $225 million is the money the government is not budging on. They are not allowing the teachers to negotiate it.

    This is not about teacher salary or benefits. If it was this would be settled already. The teachers came within percentage points for salary demands of what the government was asking for and then the government decided to offer less salary.

    I feel sorry for the people that keep posting silly facts. As if this issue over this thing is massage money. Come on people. Before you post, get educated.

    • Actually the money the bctf is asking for has to go into their pockets. The first 225 million per year fund can only be used to increase compensation (outside of wages) of current teachers. The other 225 million per year fund can only be used to hire new teachers. The hiring of those new teachers must, according to the proposal, have a 50% control by the BCTF to where these teachers will work. If there is a disagreement between the schools and the union, a third party will decide.

      That second fund will add more than 3,000 teachers per year for each of the 5 years of the contract.

      Keep in mind that the majority of support for special needs is from SEAs and not from teachers.

      And with regard to getting educated prior to posting, I have to assume you haven’t actually read the BCTF proposal or you would know this. Look it up.

      There are also issues related to making the salary grid small and reducing instructional time for elementary teachers that will impact the budget. Again, all that is listed out in the BCTF proposal.

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