Parents fearing possibility of teacher strike lasting into September

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Parents fearing possibility of teacher strike lasting into September

With no talks between teachers and government scheduled and B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s comments that there will be no back to school legislation for teachers, it’s another twist of the knife for parents.

The nearly month-long strike between teachers and government shows no signs of ending any time soon with neither side making plans to resume negotiations.

And with B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong hinting at the possibility of the strike carrying on past September, that has Lisa Cable with “Parents for B.C.” getting increasingly fed up.

“There’s so much bad blood over the years, but at some point someone needs to stand up and say ‘We’re the bigger group, we’re going to say what’s gone on in the past has gone on, it’s now time to make this work’. I don’t think picket lines in September or forcing teachers back to work are a good resolution for anyone.”

Added Cable: “Legislating people back to work is very touchy and so I can understand the government’s unwillingness to do that and probably there are many teachers that wouldn’t want that to happen. But at the same time, this can’t go on perpetually. Students need to be in school and to be able to start school in September like they’re supposed to is what most families want.”

BCTF President Jim Iker says no calls have been put through to him recently to resume negotiations.

Premier Christy Clark said earlier yesterday that the BCTF needs to find its way to a settlement zone, adding they should take a lesson from other unions to resolve the labour war.


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  1. I watched the all star ball game last night. They had a salute to teachers. My thoughts were, if Vancouver had a representative would he or she have been wearing a picket sign.
    It seems it is becoming a part of their dress code.

  2. 18 months of negotiation and we have a Union still demanding at least 2X what all other Public sector unions have settled for.
    A SC Justice saying the gap between the parties is to large for mediation.
    The Government has stated it is not going to Legislate them back.
    It is all entirely up to Iker and his comrades where it goes from here.
    My guess is they will do nothing. Just sit there are whine that no one has called them!
    Why do something when you can sit back and blame the Government?
    Teachers are losing support daily. And the sad thing is the final deal will be pretty much the same was what it was when they went out!

  3. Parents should fear that schools will not be open in September because there is no one in government who can provide leadership and/or a solution. Isn’t that part of the skill?

      • First thing is to assure the public that the government is taking this matter very seriously and are implementing the very skills they said they possessed when they were running for office. A little more statesmanship from the premier would be another way of moving this thing forward instead of making statements similar to, “I wouldn’t want to be a mediator in this either.” As well, every time the Minister of Education comes out of one of the negotiating sessions, could he be just a bit more positive? He is always doom and gloom – essentially he is saying, “whoa is me, I don’t have any idea how to solve this thing and the other side are jerks.” In any other political forum we would fire the leaders if they could not put forth a solution. How is that for starters?

        • What you describe isn’t leadership Rick. It’s just saying what you’d like to hear. Leadership is guiding and directing which is just what this government is doing. They are not distracted by this BCTF nonsense and remain clearly focused on their mandate of stewardship and management for all of British Columbia. That’s leadership.

        • Rick, all good points but the fly in the ointment is the Gov. is dealing with Jim Iker and the BCTF. They have explained the situation to the BCTF and they don’t like it. Tough to negotiate with someone who refuses to negotiate. So, I guess “Leadership” at this point would be legislating you Teachers back to work.

        • Hogwash. The court gave an opinion on whether or not the government bargained in good faith or not. Luckily for the BCTF that the judge didn’t give her rule on anything to do with their greed.

        • Tony, once again, twice by the same Judge. I really wish Teachers would quit being so hypocritical on this issue. The Gov. has the right to appeal and would be shirking their duty if they didn’t. If the BCTF loses the next round in court they will appeal as is their right and “duty”. So get off your phony high horse on this one.

          • If the government loses the next (the third) round in court, they will have the right to appeal for a fourth time. All the while spending your money on government lawyers. If they lose the fourth round, they will have to pay up and it won’t be 2 billion, it will be 4 billion.
            You can take odds on the government winning but the experts say they have little chance. But the liberals won’t have to worry. They will be long gone by then and it will be another governments problem. Thanks Christy your a real plumb.

      • Because they are the ones elected to solve problems! Did I really need to point that out Dwight? They run the schools man – not sure it is up to ME to find a solution. With regards to the greed demands – are you ok with the 28% rise in Hydro while the guy running it makes a million bucks a year? Are you fine with paying a buck and a half per litre of gas? Those are taxes, we are being gouged but it is the teachers who are greedy. Again, for the hundredth or so time I have asked this, what does class composition have to do with being greedy?

        • There are two funds of 225 million being demanded by the BCTF. The first is for improving the compensation for current teachers (outside of wages). The demands for the items such as 3,000/year massage and 30,000 life time coverage for fertility treatments is not part of this 225 million per year. Those items are part of the wage/benefits package that is being discussed. The 225 million is on top of those items, each year.

          The seconds is for the hiring of new teachers. That 225 million would add about 3,000 new teachers each year of the the five year contract. Those teachers, according to the BCTF proposal, must be hired directly with the union’s involvement. They will have an equal say to who gets hired and where they will work. If the employer disagrees a third party must decide. Keep in mind that the majority of special need kids get their support from SEAs, not part of the BCTF. According to the proposal the salary grid will be reduce allowing new teachers to reach their maximum pay in 8 year as opposed to the current 10 year. Also the BCTF is demanding that elementary teachers have their weekly instructional time be reduced by 3 hours.

          That’s where the money/greed issue comes into play.

          All of this is spelled out in the BCTF official proposal.

        • The only possible way this 40 year old problem will be solved is for both side to come to an agreement. Legislation won’t do that. Neither will mediation. They will only bring a continuance of the rhetoric and push the same ol’ same ol’ (or worse) down the road a couple of years. If all the other union negotiations have been able to do it with this government, why not the BCTF? It’s obvious they alone need to come down from their self-made pedestal into the real world.

        • Rick, it is you who doesn’t understand. You can’t change the past, however I don’t think your NPD would have done better. But in any event in you mind, that justifies all your outrageous demands?
          You Teachers really have to get out in the real world.
          You got yourselves into a deep hole, and don’t know how you are going to get out.
          And just because Iker says it is so, does not actually mean it is so.

  4. Poor Iker. No one’s calling him. I wonder if he’s thought of getting real with his over-the-top demands and pick up the phone himself to let the employer know he’s finally ready to be sensible?
    Parents and students have no one to blame but the BCTF for missed class time and the headaches it causes. The government has been clear for over a year that a deal must be in line with the many other settlements and that legislation is not in their plan. Mediators have said the sides are much too far apart to even begin the process. The court has yet to decide a ruling of who’s responsible to determine classroom structure – the union or the Ministry of Education. So Iker, do you get it yet? Get off you lawn chair, pick up the phone yourself and attempt to bring back the notion that you care about the pocket books of BC teachers and have at least some respect for parents and taxpayers. Put your disdain for elected governments on hold and just get the job done.

    • why should Iker get of his lawn chair he’s already had the supreme court of BC speck for him and the BCTF twice now and both times in favour of the BCTF….

      • Ron_26
        Very well put and exactly right.
        And Tony, mediation has been turned down twice for being to far apart?
        So following your logic, what to do now?
        Your two wins was from the same Justice. Pretty hard for her to overrule herself!
        The mediation was turned down by 2 different and respected people, one of whom was a Chief Justice also!
        It is easy to see why the BCTF can lead them around so easily.

  5. The BCTF has nothing to lose. If the government wins its appeal, nothing will change-the government simply gets to do what it intended in 2002 and what it continues to do. It seems that government members are just singing from the same song sheet in an attempt to play head games with the membership.

    If the government loses its appeal (it will need to be decided by the SCOC), the BCTF will have pre-2002 contract language and terms restored.

    UBC Law professor Bakan believes that the Government will lose if and when the matter goes to the SCOC. Since the BCTF has pushed this far without results, its only hope is that it wins in court. Perhaps, it is better to lose the current skirmish and hope to win the war.

  6. Who Governs Public Education?

    That is the burning question. Globally, teacher unions seem to belong to one mindset — that it is teacher unions who should govern public education.

    They have three objectives: 1) providing for their members the usual union services relating to pay, benefits, job safety & security; 2) influence over policies and management of their industry; 3) retaining their ideal venue (public schools) in support of social change for an egalitarian world.

    It is the second goal — governance — that is now in the process of legal clarification. This will take years to settle. Meanwhile student education and development will be stunted. Where is Teach for Canada with their six week training for new teachers?

    Teacher union erosion of governmental role in education has been chipped away for decades. When governments start to push back, turmoil erupts.

    Even today, glee and rejoicing has erupted with the news that the tough Education Secretary, Michael Gove in the UK, has been moved out of the portfolio. Strikes by the NUT (National Union of Teachers) had been imminent.

    Next door, the Education Minister, Jeff Johnson, has just been effectively muzzled in pursuing his probe into the extent of incompetency in Alberta public schools. The teacher union made a formal complaint.

    In Saskatchewan, the teacher union seems to be lining up with BC to stage a strike.

    Many point to Finland as a leader in student achievement, a leader in teacher training, a leader in most things educational. Yet, how many know the true nature of governance in Finland? This is what their main spokesperson, Pasi Sahlberg, has to relay:

    Pasi was asked the question, “Why aren’t the teachers at the decision-making table”. Answer: “There is a saying … that ‘war is too important to be decided by the military people’ and it’s the same with education. I think education is too important to be decided by teachers – and this has nothing to do with undervaluing teachers’ expertise . . . But the broad issues, the big issues, the principles of education should be based on a more balanced view and that’s why I would only have one practitioner in the room and divide this voice more equally to those who are the key stakeholders, (including) parents and the community members.” [The question was out of 10, how many should be teachers?]

    Here in BC, with our teacher strike, already projected to October, and with the Finance Minister de Jong also now involved and asking: “Why is it so difficult in this area?” In answer to de Jong’s question, please go back to the three goals of teacher unions, bearing in mind that it’s the leaders who generally speak. And be reminded that in the international brotherhood of teacher unions BCTF is not its own boss — global loyalties apply.

    • Teachers and other professional organizations, including doctors and lawyers have integral knowledge of the system and rules under which they operate. Hence, they are self governing bodies and also interest groups – no different than other lobby’s – which promote their objectives. The article to which you refer has little relevance to your point, but it does demonstrate that governments try to interfere with professional judgment of professional organizations. The BC government has effectively undermined the professional self governance of teachers and are now trying it with other professionals.

  7. What happen to the CKNW poll that showed the majority of those who voted, said No to Legislation.
    The Public is wising up. Everyday the support for the BCTF and their outrageous demands gets less and less.
    Just wait until we get closer to Sept. and see how much support they have.
    The longer this goes on, the more informed the general public gets. The more inform we get the more the BCTF is exposed for what they are.
    Another Teacher Union said it right, WE will represent the students when they start paying Union dues. Can you believe it, an honest Union leader?

  8. Too much FIFA world cup, work, and family / friends. Forgot about this issue. Are Teachers still asking for the gravy train deal of 5K signing bonuses, $3000 massage therapy, $250M more on top of existing benefits, and more days off equating to less school days then off days? No wonder the BCTF are $600M above the affordability zone for this province. And before Teachers start complaining about my comment please read what your union is actually demanding from the Province including including 1, 5e, and 6. The thought of adding gravy to 1% of the BC population (40,000 teachers) at the expense of our kid’s generation going further in to debt, and raising taxes on the rest including those who are much worse off then teachers with their existing deal is not only unethical, it’s absolutely appalling and border line criminal and I applaud the government for standing up to this union.

  9. As an elected leader, Christy Clakre is failing to meet the needs of her people.
    If public education is an essential service, then CC needs to get a deal done, honour the Supreme Court and its ruling for the BCTF, not once but twice.

    Also if the government was interested in getting the deal done, when the BCTF came within the % demands for salary increase that the government was offering, the government would not have offered less money.

    Long story short, Jim Iker and the BCTF need to play dirty just like the government.

  10. My crystal ball says see you in October. Christy wants the general public to suffer a little. That way when she legislates the teachers back to work she will have more public support.
    Did anyone listen to her radio show. If you had you would know she is an uniformed bully.