Langley teachers gather to voice concerns over dispute

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

While both sides in B.C.’s ongoing teachers’ dispute are talking about “mediation” but still remain far apart on key contract issues, teachers and parents gathered in Langley last night to voice their frustrations.

Roughly 60 people showed up to the forum called “Why are Teachers Still Striking?” sponsored by the Langley Teachers Association. Despite the uncertainty heading into the fall, teachers appear to remain united.

“The last ten years of cuts have been so damaging to schools that if my union decides that we must take further political action then I will support them entirely,” said one teacher during the public forum.

“I think we should keep going with what we are going, we have to stay united, and you know I think our greatest time of strength will be in September.”

While dozens of teachers and parents discussed the current state of contract talks with the employer, the president of the Langley Teachers Association took some heat for the local’s tactics over the summer months.

Langley Fine Arts teacher Lorraine Goulet questions why teachers are being asked to picket empty schools.

“I really honestly in my heart of hearts don’t feel it was in our best interest, as teachers in the public opinion, to be picketing an empty school, and keeping janitors from doing their work, and picketing down at the school board office, and preventing CUPE members from doing their work.”

Gail Chaddock-Costello responded by saying CUPE members will be reimbursed for money lost during the strike once the local ratifies its new contract, and picketing at the school board office ended on Friday.

Some teachers feel it’s time for the BC Federation of Labour to direct other unions to go on strike in solidarity with them.

Comments

    • Makes sense. Teachers are still striking so why not call it that. They want their gravy so the quest for 5K signing bonuses, 3K massage therapy, $250M more in benefits on top of existing benefits, more days off on top of existing equating to less school days then off days, etc.. continues and of course all for the kids. Always good times.

    • Of course it’s for the kids. If you were a teacher the better you feel about yourself the easier it would be to teach the kids. So $3000 massage therapy to help you relax, $5000 signing bonus for the Lexus SUV down payment, and more benefits and days off to enjoy the good times. Students can then enjoying being taught by the most relaxed teachers our gravy train public sector can buy. Always good times.

  1. “Why are teachers picketing empty schools”…..because teachers are on strike and people on strike man picket lines like all good union brothers and sisters do.

    There’s nothing stopping the union from allowing anyone to cross their picket line.
    So I for one don’t believe the union or teachers are worried about CUPE or janitors .
    And I have no sympathy for all the inconvenience this causes to their summer vacation plans.

    The lion’s share of education funding goes pay teachers and their benefits. There would be more money available for the kids if teachers entire remuneration package was more in line with the private sector.

  2. Saskatchewan teachers have not had a signed contract since August, 2013. It is called “teachers greed”. The teachers have refused two contract offers already WHICH THEY WERE TOLD TO ACCEPT BY THEIR UNION. They voted no on both offers. Newfoundland teachers have not had a signed contract since January, 2013. Presently contract talks are off because of “teacher greed”. In summary, looks like students will not returning to school in September, in the 3 provinces of B.C., Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland, until this epidemic of “teacher greed” comes to a halt.

  3. Based on the average teachers salary they make $74 per hr this is for a 5.5 hr classroom teaching time, Teachers have over 3 months vacation time per year. Who else on this planet has better wages, vacations and benefits. Why are we even negotiating money with this group?

    • While I don’t completely disagree with you, 5.5 hours in the classroom is, I am guessing, accurate, but no teacher has a five and a half hour day – zero, none! The rest of your points are based upon your first statement, which is completely distorted, and, therefore, are skewed. Ken, if you wish to make points, make them honestly. The teachers at my kids’ schools coach, run clubs, do fundraisers and on and on and on. The CEO of BC Hydro made 950, 000 bucks last year, are you good with that? Hydro is going up 28 percent – explain to me how that works.

  4. Only 60 showed up? 60? How many of those 60 were parents v. teachers? Did teachers bring their kids and were the kids counted among the 60?

    From the Langley School District:
    Number of Schools 42
    Elementary 26
    Middle 2
    High School 6
    Alternative 8

    Of all those schools, there must be more than 60 teachers.

    In my opinion, this doesn’t show solidarity or even dedication to their cause. If they really wanted something done over the summer, the number of Teachers at these rallies would be greater and the BCTF would be hounding the Gov’t to come to the table on a daily basis in an effort to show that they are serious about getting a deal signed before September and serious about bargaining throughout the summer.

    • There are 1,123 teachers currently teaching in Langley.
      Assuming that all those that showed up were teachers that’s just over 5% of the teachers in the area that felt this was worth their time.

    • While you reveal some interesting statistics, your comments have and will have zero impact on the outcome of the dispute as both parties have their own agendas.

      When it comes to being serious about bargaining over the summer, you might substitute government (BCPSEA) for BCTF and teachers.

      And where are the rallies sponsored by those who oppose the BCTF and teachers?

      • @insite – Everyone’s comments here have zero impact as the BCTF and Gov’t use parents and students as leverage against each other. I am however entitled to my opinion and that is what I have shared.

      • Actually the comments showing a lack of support for the BCTF by their own members might well give some insight to both parties.

        There’s no need for a rally to support good fiscal management, we did that during the election.

        And I think you might misunderstand people’s point of view. The opposition is against higher increases than the other unions, the BCTF demand to have equal control over the hiring and placement of new teachers (as demanded in the union’s proposal on one of the 225 million year funding), the rejection, by the BCTF. of a proper review (with both parties) of the actual situation of class composition, the refusal to be upfront of increases to wages (removal of salary grid levels, 3 hour reducation of instrucational time by elementry school teachers) and some pretty outlandish requests with regard to benefit increases (as laid out in the BCTF proposal)

        All support teachers to teach but don’t understand what that support must extend to those items I’ve listed above.

        And please review the actual BCTF proposal (U70) before suggesting those items I’ve listed aren’t real. They come directly from the proposal last presented to the employer.

        • Clearly we have been had by the promise (and delivery) of good fiscal management by this government. Case in point, for this government, nearly $3.2 billion in new debt has been a result of overspending and not balancing the operating provincial budget. Any operating deficit is rolled into debt and the total debt has increased by over $15.5 billion in 4 years.

          No, I assume we, including you, were seduced by idealogy-not the promise of good fiscal management. Would we accept that kind of performance from anyone else?

          As for the unresolvable differences between the two parties, I prefer to let the judicial system determine the outcome- rather than rhetoric. CS and CC are the impediments to a negotiated contract.

          Sadly, it would appear that a future SCOC decision favouring the BCTF would not garner acceptance based on the rhetoric posted on this site.

          That said, I have repeatedly stated that I will accept whatever ruling results. Will you?

          • We’re discussing a fairly narrow area for the government. With regard to managing the public sector and getting agreement on salary/benefits to a level that doesn’t put even more pressure on the taxpayer, this government has had success so far with each union expect for the BCTF.

            With regard to rhetoric, I was merely listing off items that the BCTF is demanding based on their actual, submitted proposal and suggesting a disconnect with the taxpayer. Iker keeps talking about 1% difference, it’s disingenuous at best.

            On the point of the the final judgement it means that those items will be available to be negotiated. The court can not insert language into a existing contract, hence the governments suggestion to put a termination clause in. If the teachers do win, they would have to convince a court to void the contract to renegotiate the contract to insert the language. The government will demand concessions in areas such as benefits and pensions in help deal with any new costs. The BCTF seems to see this as a windfall for their current members. The taxpayers will expect the government to mitigate any significant increases to teachers with strict cost controls over time. The current position of the BCTF is to add 15,000 teachers over 5 years to help with composition, not explaining that it’s the SEAs that actually perform a large percentage of special needs support.

  5. Teacher picketing empty schools just to keep janitorial staff from work, shame on all of you and your unions.
    Question: where are all the teacher gone well I know four , two away in Europe as planned every year for two months, others on the island for the summer.
    If this is about the children why go after such rich benefits.

    • Not all facilities are picketed, the CUPE staff, in Victoria at least, have been redeployed, my wife for one. So you know teachers that go to Europe every summer – so what? Where they go is really none of your business – just because they are paid with tax money does not entitle you to question how they spend their wages. I don’t disagree with the benefits part of your statement, but let’s be fair here – the stumbling block is the class composition portion of the negotiations.

  6. Certainly, a court will never insert language into a contract. That is the responsibility of the parties involved.

    However, a court can order restoration of previously stripped language and terms, if it, in its wisdom, determines that it was done illegally.

    If anyone was paying attention, that is exactly what Justice Griffin ruled: Restore stripped-out language and terms with an obvious implication that such language and terms were not cast in stone but are negotiable. Anyone versed in negotiation matters already understands thisso she didn’t need to say this.And this is under appeal.

    For that reason, the government, if wise, should fold its tent and acknowledge that CS and CC are negotiable. The BCTF should be careful not to be drawn into any agreement that renders Justice Griffin’s rulings moot. Therein lies the reason why this negotiation is going nowhere.

    Too bad, a a way cannot be found to kick this dispute directly up to the SCOC.

    Having said all that, where do the anti-teacher supporters-read government supporters-stand? Will they respect and accept whatever SCOC rules?

    I think not- based on the reaction to lower court rulings.

    • Yes, the court can order restore the stripped language and the government can modify it’s position on other areas in the contract to minimize the financial impact.

      The problem with the BCTF position is they are demanding not just the ability to deal with numbers regarding CS and CC. They are know demanding equal say with the employee to who and where these new teachers will work. The language in the BCTF proposal states that if they can’t agree a third party will be able to decide staffing at the classroom level.

      If it does to the SCOC and the BCTF does win, people will of course go along with the ruling and then look at the best way to implement the rulings without a huge impact on taxpayers. If the BCTF lose the appeal, will they take it to the next level? Given their position the the government is being unreasonable by appealing it I suppose they will let the appeal stand.

      And you keep mentioning people’s position as anti-teacher, I see it as a more balanced position, It seems if someone disagrees with any part of the teachers demand or how a teacher functions within a classroom, the person is labeled anti-teachers. The BCTF must see their position as rather fragile if they feel it can’t stand any debate.

  7. While the demand of the BCTF to negotiate CS, CC and equal say in placement of teachers is a problem for you, it is a fact of life that a union (in this case, the BCTF) normally has the right to bargain working conditions under our constitution. It’s one thing for the employer to resist such demands but it is another matter if the employer unilaterally strips contract language to deprive the union of a constitutional right to bargain working conditions.

    My perspectives are based on the SCOC making the final ruling for or against either party. Of course, either party who loses the appeal at the
    BC Court of Appeal will appeal the ruling in front of the SCOC. Now, if the Government loses at the SCOC, it can still have its way and tear up contract wording wrt working conditions by invoking the ‘Notwithstanding Clause’ in our constitution.

    I’m sure that every government and public sector union in Canada are awaiting a final resolution of this issue-the right to bargain working conditions. Like you say, if the government loses, it will need to find ways of accommodating teachers while minimizing the impact on taxpayers. That’s its job. No argument there.

    And, if the government wins, the BCTF will no longer be able to bargain CS and CC.

    But the BCTF will most likely win in the end accordinga to respected UBC Law professor Bakan.

    That said, in the final analysis, i still do not believe that a SCOCdecision favouring teachers will be respected or accepted by those posters who do not support the BCTF.

    I will respect and accept any SCOC decision. I believe in the rule of law. What about you? Why are some beating around the bush and so reluctant to respond to my challenge?

    Because they do not respect our judiciary. But at least, they should accept a decision which they may not agree with.

    • I don’t believe the the Nurses’s union (as an example) as the abilty to demand that a particular person be hired at a particular hospital at a particular ward. And understand that based on the current demands this will happen for more the 3,000 new teachers for each of the five years of the contract.

      And I’ll say again the I believe people will respect the SCOC ruling. Why wouldn’t they? Are you suggesting that by appealing the government is somehow not following the law? Will the BCTF appeal the current appeal if they lose? If they do, would they be disrespecting the judiciary?

      • D-you are applying a very narrow view of what constitutes bargaining rights enshrined under the constitution. As it stands, in the teachers’ dispute, Justice Griffin’s rulings must prevail until the government wins its appeal.

        When it comes to bargaining working conditions under our constitution, any union has the right to demand anything it feels is in its best interests. Then, the employer is free to accept, modify or reject it under the framework of a ‘normal’ negotiation process. This seems to be aconcept that we are not able to wrap our heads around. It is a fact of life. Instead if a demand is deemed unreasonable, either party must have and does reject it, But, to pass legisaltion to prohibit an association from legally pursuing its interests is something else and, in my opinion, unacceptable.

        For once I have the pleasure of discussing an issue based on thoughtful feedback. I value your opinions even though we do not necessarily agree.

        As why wouldn’t people respect the SCOC regardless of outcome? WE don’t have a choice-do we?

        • Justice Griffin’s ruling has been stayed and currently has no standing. Good or bad, that’s it’s current status.

          With regard to a union’s ability to put forward any position is valid. The problem I have with the BCTF is they are currently presenting one position in public and another in their proposals. They are attacking those that oppose them not based on the actual conditions they are bargaining but the position they feel the hold as “protector of education”.

          Given that the NDP put those conditions into the teacher’s contract against the wishes of the vast majority of the school boards at a point in their mandate they knew they were unlikely to be relected and, one come argue, there was a hope for some future support from the BCTF in return, what remedy was available? When the government removed those items it was at the request of the school boards. The vast majority of the school boards felt it was unworkable to have to items as part of the contract.

          And no, there’s no choice. The SCOC will rule and that will be it. How that ruling impacts the contract talks, well, that will be interesting. There is a fair amount of concern about having teachers have even more direct control over how the schools operate is a concern. As a parent of the special needs child I’ve been lucky to have a few great teachers but other have been a huge problem and their ability, along with school administration to move and change funding and education plans without consultation is a huge issue and continues to be a concern.

          One other issue that hasn’t been explained by the BCTF is, based on their 225 million/year for new teachers, wanting to hire 15,000 new teachers over those 5 year. This is more for class composition as opposed to class size. Most support for special needs is done with SEAs, not teachers. What are these teachers going to be doing? I know that within the current proposal elementary school teachers will have 3 hours less instructional time per week. Are this new teachers part of the coverage for that plan?

          If the BCTF could present their actual goals and explain their proposal, it would help clear the air but there is such a disconnect between Iker’s press conferences and the proposal that has been presented to the employer. A cynical person might believe that given the state of the BCTF financials, Iker is looking at increasing the dues coming in.

    • Courts make decisions every day based on interpreting the laws made by our governments. Some decisions I applaud, some I just have to live with. No doubt, you’re the same. That doesn’t mean we do or don’t “respect the judiciary”. We have a great system that contains provisions for several levels of appeal. Rulings are often overturned based on interpreting the same law language that another judge had previously ruled on. When all is said and done, the decision of the highest court called upon is final – at least until the law makers recreate the law itself. It’s a good and likely the fairest process, but no process is perfect. As lovers of Canada, we freely live our lives based on the security and acceptance of the authority of our elected governments and court system. There will never be total agreement on all laws or decisions but that by no means we aren’t all proud law-abiding Canadians.

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