UPDATED: Vince Ready to meet with BCTF, employer for ‘exploratory’ talks

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

UPDATED: Vince Ready has told CKNW he will meet with both sides in the dispute on Thursday afternoon in Richmond, offering no further comment than to say it would be for exploratory talks.

 

BCTF president Jim Iker, Education Minister Peter Fassbender and government negotiator Peter Cameron have spent about 90 minutes meeting at the BC legislature in Victoria this afternoon, but they’ve emerged without a new contract.

Fassbender has proposed a two-week cooling off period to allow for mediated talks, as long as picket lines come down.

“That is why I called this meeting. That is the proposal I put on the table and that is what I hope we could do in order to get on with it.”

Iker won’t say if teachers will drop their picket signs, but he’s ready for mediation to start immediately.

“It’s still going to be up to Vince Ready whether he thinks that the parties are willing to move closer together and we leave that decision to Vince Ready.”

Fassbender has also asked the union to “set aside the matter of potential grievances stemming from Justice Griffin’s decision,” which are nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, as the appeals process takes place.

Both sides say it is possible for classes to start Sept. 2, but many issues remain unresolved.

Mother of two Rebecca Anderson says she’s anything but surprised at the lack of a deal after such publicity around the meeting.

“It seems the divide is just too great. I have a feeling we are kind of in it for the duration of until such time as I guess they decide to legislate the teachers back to work.”

Anderson says she still doesn’t know how she will afford child care next week, despite the $40 daily subsidy offered by the government.

Comments

  1. Keep the schools closed until the legislature sits in October. Then legislate them back at the governments last offer and no signing bonus. You can’t deal with these people. They need to realise they are not better than everyone else. The taxpayer does not have unlimited bags of money for the outlandish demands.

    • What outlandish demands do you speak of? The demand that the government restore illegally stripped language? The demand that the government stop trying to include an “opt out” clause? The union and the government are very close when it comes to wages and benefits; it is the class size and composition component that is still being fought over.

      • That is peanuts compared to what the BCTF is asking for. How many teachers are there? Do the math. Besides that they are already well paid.
        They are a disgrace and should all be fired. There are lots waiting to take there place. If teaching is soooo bad and their boss is so bad they should get another job. Maybe try the private sector and see where all their whining gets them.

    • @Spencer – Have not heard the government ADMIT that legislating teachers back would be ‘dysfunctional’ ( hasn’t worked for them so far ). Also – there are TWO court rulings against the government. Gov’t has been directed to RESTORE contract language; they were fined two million dollars for their ‘bad behaviour’ AND are using TAXpayers $$ for an appeal that Legal Experts say is bound to fail… Teachers are NOT making ‘outlandish’ demands. We are standing up for the RIGHTS of ALL students who deserve classrooms that are able to meet their needs ( as they did PRIOR to C. Clark illegally stripping teachers contract ). Please take some time to READ up on ALL the information is available before you post comments that indicate you are not at all clear on what the problematic issues are.

    • You have for to be kidding me in this, government does sit until mid October. The last time they were sitting was some time in May. All of those MLAs make 100,000 a year plus an expense account, talk about ” greedy and lazy.” Cooling off period? What do you call the lack of action in July and Aug.?
      Government needs to right the wrongs they did when they Broke the law and get our students of this province back in their classrooms.

    • Let’s be reasonable here…. the “outlandish” demands are things like a $5000.00 signing bonus, $3000.00 of massage therapy and wage hikes over what everyone else has gotten. You Teachers are so blind with your “entitlement” attitude that you just don’t see these “demands” as outlandish. My wife doesn’t get a single benefit and hasn’t had a raise in ten years. These are the people who have to take less to pay for your “outlandish” demands. I do agree there must be some adjustment made on class size and composition. But, Teachers are all digging their own graves on this one. I hope the Government sticks to its guns on wages and benefits.

        • Let’s not play games. An offer of a $1200 signing bonus expired at the end of June. The $5000 bonus was added to the demands by the BCTF after that. The prescription deal is well known – but it’s not much of a problem to get one is it?

      • William: outlandish? My hourly salary is maybe $35.00/hr for a 40 hr week, but I usually work a 50-60 hour week, so much less. I only get paid for 10 months a year. Teachers go to post secondary for a min of 5 years, some more depending on where/what their teaching program is. We are teachers, mentors, counselors, coaches, etc. and responsible for educating children and youth 6 + hrs/dAy 5 days a week over a 10 month period. We spend more time with children/youth than the families do. We are amongst the lowest paid teachers in canada, yet we are the most qualified and live in the province with the highest cost of living in the nation. I have not had a raise in 4 years yet all other unions have including recently the CUPE and EA. Outlandish? Our students are funded $1000.00 each, less than the national average. I have to spend &500.00/year on supplies and food for my students. Hmmm……and I’m outlandish?

        • Bren, I don’t know where you teach, but where I live, the teachers do not teach 5 days out of the week. Most of the month, the kids are in school 4 days out of the week. The teachers DO NOT coach kids in sports, it is kids in grade 11 or 12 that coach the sports teams because the teachers don’t feel that that is part of their job and half the time, the teachers are out the door before the kids are even out the door. Engineers go to post secondary school as well for 4 or 5 years as well as doctors, what is your point there. I think I would be a little more sympathetic to your cause if you actually worked 5 days out of the week and not 4 days for most of the month. When there is a holiday on a Tuesday (example Remembrance Day), the teachers have a NI Day on Monday so they have an extra long weekend. How is that fair to the students? Look at the school calendars for some schools in Ontario, they don’t have half the days of as BC teachers do!

          • not counting the Stat holidays, that would mean that your District has what, some 30+ Pro-D Days? (mos t Districts have about 5 Pro-D Days) Exaggerating just a little bit aren’t you?

            And BTW, teachers are in school working or attending workshops so it is NOT a “long weekend” as you claim.

        • No, Bren, in your world you’re not “outlandish”. What you are is feeling “entitled”. There are many people that work harder jobs in way worse conditions for far less pay and benefits than you. It is these people that see your “demands” as “outlandish”. These are the people you have to convince.

          • Teachers work extremely hard. Are there other people who work hard in different sectors? Of course! I’m sure there are engineers, welders, doctors, plumbers, custodians, nurses, accountants and many others who work extremely hard. Do some of them work in worse conditions with less pay than others? Yes! I believe all working people should have decent benefits and should have the right to good working conditions and I support all working people to fight for this right! If an employer ripped up a contract and the employees decided to take it to court and won twice, would I support them if they were nurses or custodians or welders? Yes I would! I wish the finger would cease being pointed at a group of workers saying “I don’t get certain benefits so neither should you!” Let’s support each other so more working people can get paid a fair wage they can support their family off of. British Columbia is a wealthy province and yet has the highest child poverty rate. A lot of sectors get paid less compared to other provinces and yet BC has the highest cost of living. Something needs to change.

        • Bren here is the flaw in your argument:

          I only get paid for 10 months a year-You get your 12 months condensed into 10 months.

          Teachers go to post secondary for a min of 5 years, some more depending on where/what their teaching program is.-Don’t all professionals go to school for 5 plus years.

          We are teachers, mentors, counselors, coaches, etc. and responsible for educating children and youth 6 + hrs/dAy 5 days a week over a 10 month period.-This is very important but no more important than nurses, doctors, fire fighters, police officers, etc. We are all cogs in the machine of society.

          We are amongst the lowest paid teachers in canada, yet we are the most qualified and live in the province with the highest cost of living in the nation-There is also an oversupply of teachers here in BC. Simple economics shows when supply is high, the price comes down. Why should we pay for a premium when there are teachers who will work as a lower wage in a heartbeat?

          I have not had a raise in 4 years yet all other unions have including recently the CUPE and EA. Outlandish? Well ya, we in the private sector don’t see yearly wages in fact I received my first wage increase due to merit pay this year.

          Our students are funded $1000.00 each, less than the national average. -Aren’t BC student’s achievements among the highest in Canada?

          I have to spend &500.00/year on supplies and food for my students.-If indeed you are doing this, it is very sad and you shouldn’t have to.

    • Education is not a luxury, it is the right of every person – at least according to the United Nations! And Spencer, not sure you really understand what is at stake if you think teachers believe they are better than others. I think this would describe the folks on the government side more accurately. Like the other writer asks, what outlandish demands?

    • Here is a good read it may give you some understanding to why the BCTF must continue with this strike. Oh and NO I am not a Teacher .

      Christian Obeck‎Parents: Actively Protest on September 2nd

      You want to know why the BCTF and the Liberals are in a current stalemate in their negotiations. It’s pretty simple, but I can’t believe it took me until now to figure it out. If I’m wrong, please let me know.

      Everything goes back to Justice Griffin’s ruling by the BC Supreme Court. As many of you know, Justice Griffin ruled against the BC Liberals and found them guilty of illegally tearing up a legally-binding, negotiated contract (a contract which had class size and composition language in it). The Liberals were also found to have negotiated in bad faith, having goaded the BCTF into a strike position.

      Because the ruling is currently under appeal, the Liberals have been able to avoid re-instating the classroom size and composition language into the present contract. But this is the BIG CRUX, and this is why we are in a current stalemate: if the Liberals legislate teachers back to work, they will confirm to the courts that they are once again unable to negotiate a contract with teachers. The Griffin ruling will therefore remain as the most ‘current’ language in the contract. But, and this is a big but, if the BCTF ‘accepts’ the current offer on the table (an offer that does not have any class size or composition guarantees), then the Griffin ruling (moving forward) will be seen as null and void. In other words, a ‘negotiated’ agreement will be viewed as the most present and legal contract moving forward.

      And that is why we are at a current stalemate in bargaining. If the BCTF accepts anything ‘less’ than what the courts have already awarded them (but actually don’t yet have because of the appeal), then they will have to accept these terms moving forward. It will invariably trump the Griffin ruling and any hopes of re-establishing classroom size and composition to past levels. Why would the BCTF accept anything less than what the courts have told them is legally theirs?

      In my opinion, the BCTF have no choice but to NOT accept the current Liberal offer, an offer that is not even close to what Justice Griffin has already awarded them. As a result, it is absolutely crucial that the BCTF out-wait the Liberals and stay on strike. And yet, on the flip-side this is extremely difficult for teaching professionals who both want to start school on time AND earn their first pay cheque in 10 weeks.

      The only hope, then, is that the people of this province do not allow the Liberals to keep schools closed through September. Because, in all honesty, they are NOT acting on behalf of our children, they are merely taking a political stance that (yes, I agree) would allow them to continue their fiscal austerity when it comes to funding education. And, to a certain degree, this was their campaign promise. And the people of BC did vote them in.

      The BCTF simply can’t fold on this one. The courts have spoken. They won fair and square in the courts. Only an appeal keeps them away from this. The BCTF (teachers) are simply standing up for what the courts have legally awarded them.

      It is a historical moment in BC regarding how education is funded. While we all want our children in school, hopefully the above has helped to explain why we are at a current stalemate. Accepting a deal that is anything less at this moment in time just doesn’t make sense. The Liberals hold the cards in terms of starving teachers out; the teachers hold the biggest card, however: the Griffin ruling. Kids and parents hold no cards–except for your willingness to protest starting September 2nd.

      As a parent, and now knowing what we know, I think its time that we all take a side. We need to get off the fence and be active. Whatever side you choose, please be active on September 2nd.

      • @Kat. Right on! A very good read. I’m glad there are others including non-teachers as myself who share a lot of my thoughts.

        Yes, to keep the issue of constitutional bargaining rights alive in court, the BCTF cannot accept anything less than the restorative measures ordered by Justice Griffin- at least for the 12-years already under the bridge.

        AS I posted elsewhere, if Iker instructs his members to step down with a an agreement in his hand, it will be like sending teachers to the gallows. The government, according to the story, has offered nothing other than pre-conditions especially no promise to compromise.

        Once the teachers are back in school for a minimum of 2 weeks, the government will once again pull the football away-like Lucy always does to Charlie Brown.

        Then to put further pressure on the teachers, the government will impose a lock-out after forcing the teachers to walk out again. And it will be spun so that it is the teachers’ fault.

  2. What a pile of garbage! They’ve had all summer to figure this out and have done absolutely NOTHING!!!! The students seem to have more sense than these fools!! Both should be turfed out on their behinds!! This is all for the kids my foot!! These kids have been held up as pawns in this idiotic immature feud. PATHETIC!!!!!

    • Get informed about the illegal actions of the government if you wish to understand why teachers are standing up for their own rights AND the rights of ALL students in our democratic society. It is the government that has LOST two court cases and have been fined TWO million dollars for their actions. That is YOUR Tax$$ at work!

      • Dawn, you guys just keep beating the “two court losses” drum. They lost a court case adjudicated by one Judge and then the same Judge had the same findings in the second case. Now the appeal. If the BCTF had of lost the first court case they would have appealed as well. And I guess if the Government wins the appeal the BCTF will just quiet down and accept the loss without appealing ? You are so hypocritical.

        • William, not sure I understand your logic – are you suggesting that no case decided by just one judge should be deemed valid? Better rethink the guilt of all those folks in prison whose cases were decided by one judge. It’s not the best of five here man. Flawed thinking!

          • No, Rick, I’m suggesting that in our system we have the right to appeal. Just as the BCTF will appeal if they lose the next round. All I would really ask is that the BCTF be honest and stop being so hypocritical. Just a little honesty about what you guys want and why.

  3. I feel it would make the whole effort, sacrifices of teachers and parents, futile if the go back before the last i is dotted and t crossed on an agreement without a sneaky Liberal withdrawal clause, and without cutting the ability of this corrupt caucus to rip up laws some more. PLEASE, HOLD THE LINE!

  4. What is WRONG with this government??? Teachers, tax paying members are paying for all of this! They are trying to support children and students on nothing and all the government does is continue spending not just teachers’ taxing paying dollars, but ALL of our tax paying dollars on Factbender and Peter Cameron- OVER half a million of OUR dollars has gone to these goons, court costs over stripping contracts ! FACTBENDER: class size DOES matter and I’m mad as hell that my children are going into huge class sizes. By the way, that measly $40 you offered for childcare?? Doesn’t come close to paying for childcare costs and I hope after this is all said and done, the public goes after your government for lack of affordable daycare. FAMILIES FIRST IS A TOTAL lie!!!! Can’t wait to see this government OUT

  5. Iker and Fassbender need to both resign… and take Clark with you! Get some new blood in there on both sides, drop the all of the concessions and GET BACK TO WORK!

  6. I think that BCTF approach with their demands is narrow and selfish . Looking at the Provincial budgets from 1999 through to 2014, I can find no reference to any allocation of $250-$300 million many commenter have refer to. What I do find is that the Education budget has increased by a factor of 38% over that period, despite the global financial crisis.
    We also know that the Federal Government both in the Liberal and Conservative regimes during the same period reduced both education and health funding. Recently, funding for ESL/ELL programs has been reduced by the Federal government.

    The salient issue is the matter of class composition, which in my opinion, is simply not working well. The so called 13 categories of special needs kids is highly suspect and I strongly believe this part of the issue needs serious review and solution building. Just throwing more money at the problem is not the answer without identifying the issues.

    Teachers indicate that, especially in the Vancouver Lower mainland, they are confronted with large numbers of students that do not speak English/French. Seems to me that BEFORE such students are accepted in a normal class, that they must first attend a full blown class/school dedicated to learning the English language. It makes zero sense to expect students to properly integrate into a normal class without the ability to understand what is being communicated. I also seriously question the current inclusion policy where students who have little chance of achieving academic standards in a normal class should be there. Those with serious learning issues should be placed in an environment suited to their learning ability. I also question why students who have serious behavioral issues are allowed in the classroom at all; they should not.

    The class composition issue is the pinnacle of this entire dispute, and, I believe such should never be included in any Labour agreement. However, the current system is just not working well and needs to be redesigned.

    The key point is that there is only so much money to fund all the variety of demands for government services, yet both former BCNDP and current BC Liberal governments tried their best to protect funding for both Health and education, and to do so, governments had to go into debt by borrowing.

    Canada, like other nations are still feeling the effects of the past financial crisis; it is a slow climb upward. To this end, some patience is required in order to stabilize government budgets.

      • Funding for private schools was initiated by the former BCNDP government and carried forward by the BCLiberals. The aggregate amount has not increased significantly, as most of the increase has gone to teacher salaries and changes to their wage matrix, along with monies to support capital projects for new schools. Further more money has been allocated to address the earthquake proofing program for schools.

    • While per pupil grants have increased over time, what you may not be aware of is the vast amount of costs that have been downloaded into those budgets.

      Where schools once received a building operating allowance (utilities, etc.) the Liberals axed that and downloaded those costs to come out of the per pupil grant. Sort of like raising your child’s allowance then charging him for his room, food, laundry, transportation, cable, phone, etc. “Son, you’re getting record levels of allowance so stop complaining.”

      This has serious impacts on schools and helps explain why Districts consistently fail to meet their budgets.

      Ex. — A school of 1000 students has declined to only 750 students. Its “income” has decreased by 25% while its costs have gone up (same Hydro, Fortis, etc increases as everyone else). Don’t forget that old Carbon Tax scheme that penalizes public entities and funnels it to major industry.

      The Liberals have done a masterful job of portraying the shortfalls as being solely the fault of those “greedy” teachers. Let’s not forget they are classifying the supports to Special Needs students as a “benefit” to teachers.

  7. This would at least provide for an opportunity towards mediation on some items while the courts decide on the other. However if teachers return for a 2 week period and carry out low level job action such as not completing forms, attending meetings etc., then there is no point as that would indicate that the attitudes are still dominating the workplace. That environment is not helpful for students either.

    Once this is settled, the model really needs to be looked at as 40 years of acrimony is enough of a disruption.

    • Exactly Roger. Something has to change. There have been at least 2 commissions on why the BCTF cannot negotiate a CA. The most recent by Vince Ready, which the BCTF rejected!
      Does anyone really think that it would be good for kids to go back in that kind of a toxic atmosphere?

      • While the system may appear to be broken, teachers didn’t create it.

        You can thank the Liberals’ direct ancestors — the SoCreds, for creating the Labour Union model of teaching.

        The NDP insituted Block Funding, to try to equalize resources for students no matter where they lived.

        The Liberals (in addition to tearing up the previous contract) created the “essential service” for teaching. They also instituted BCPSEA as the negotiating agent but controls its pursestrings so it really is arm’s length only in appearance.

        If the system in broken, the SoCreds / Liberals made it that way.

        BTW — starting in June 2012, BCPSEA and BCTF had been making significant progress on many issues. In May 2013, immediately after her election, Clark dismissed the BCPSEA Board and replaced them with Peter Cameron as the sole bargaining agent.

  8. Please go to the BCPSEA website to find out what the BCTF demands are and the Governments (Taxpayer) Proposals.
    It is well and good to toe the party line, but at least have an idea of why you are out on Strike!
    And after reading that, come back and explain that it is all for the kids.
    Why has the Union not moved at all? They want Mediation,(to bail them out) then say it is up to the Mediator? Well what has changes since last time, when Ready said they were to far apart. The answer, of course, is there has been no change. So one really has to wonder about how sincere the BCTF really is!
    Does this guy really think the Taxpayer is that stupid?

    • I assume your are implying that the government has budged on any of the issues. I agree that they did reduced their preposterous 10 year contract term down to 6 years, with insentives to coax teachers to sign a 7 year contract. How did we ever get from a 3 year contract to a 7 year contract??? I’m interested to hear what other significant movement the government has made.

      • Frankly the contract should be for a period of 100 years, including no right to strike, but including periodic wage increases determined by the inflation rate. Current benefits need not change.

    • The teachers are in a dream world .What about real people who go to work every day .for little benefits . they pay taxes . That is who the government is responsible too .They insult with this I am so special??? My self I exposed myself to carcinogenic daily . If I made a mistake I could go to jail be sued .That was how I raised my family .Tired of the Teachers pathetic whining!Some teachers
      say the money is there (budget surplus ) give it to us . this is the
      main issue from the start the BCTF seeming to think they should
      control the budget . they get what they want and leave whatever is left for other social programs .
      The tail wagging the dog .OHH raise taxes by three percent to pay us off.
      The government will and has to sit and draw the line .Inflammatory
      comments that they will show other unions how to bargain . Raise the public ire.
      Some teachers are talking bankruptcy.Fools !! When I was young there
      were teachers down in the holds of the fish packers piking fish beside
      me in the summer .Fools to think that they would go back after a
      summer siesta and all would be well . strikes if they affected me
      were a time to go back and work construction, consult etc. I never,
      never lost money!!!Labor day will come and go . Hopefully a nice
      Indian summer for picketing .The union wants an arbitrator now .Vince
      Ready has stated there is no point as they are as yet to far apart

    • and you think the Gov’t / BCPSEA website is neutral and factual?

      BCPSEA isn’t telling you that they’re costing the supports to Special Needs students as a “benefit” to teachers.

      The BCTF has moved considerably. The wage demands have dropped considerably and are already less than COLA.

      The main sticking point is the “Opt Out” clause. They want to be able to “opt out” (i.e. IGNORE) the SCBC ruling should it go against them a THIRD time.

      Get BCPSEA to drop that condition and this deal could be done in a day.

  9. So we are ok paying for a new roof for BC Place, a new highway for Whistler and only a small poucentage of us can take advantage of these very expensive venues. Education is for ALL. FREE education! Think about it! If we can educate ALL the children, the society will be flourishing not only a small percentage will. For a quality education we need great educated teachers . In order to attract educated , inspiring teachers we need to pay them right, to give the tools they deserve to create positive learning environments. We need to respect them. This province is very rich! The money is not well invested and lets remind everyone that its being run by 2 very uneducated politicians. This is what happened when you don’t educate people. Ill pay anything for my children to have a high quality education, not privately because I believe in teachers and in the public system…I met the most amazing inspiring teachers in the past. Keep it up teachers, you are strong, hard worker people! Much respect to YOU not this ignorant government who is destroying our BC environment.

    • Nathalie, let me correct you on a couple of points. First, respect is not just given it must be earned and Teachers (BCTF) earn very few points for respect. Secondly, our education system budget is 92%+ wages. How is giving you guys more money ever going to change anything for the better ? This Province is not “rich” …. we are approx. $150 Billion in debt. Quite simply, we can’t afford to constantly give Public Service Unions whatever they demand. It must end somewhere.

  10. Be grateful there are people still in Canada that stand up for the Constitution. If your not willing to help teachers have a say in how children should recieve proper education then your not truly a Canadian. I am a mother of three . All teanagers now . I know how noble our teachers are first hand. This is my generation of school system and it’s been continuously striped and cut back from rights and resources. The fact that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled on this matter already and the government keeps appealing the verdict is apparent to me that they don’t care and they are waiting tax payers money. Teachers care . Listen to them . They look after our children all day long and now they have become the only voice for their future . Shut them up and shoot yourself in the foot .

  11. And why is our province still spending $1000 per student less than the other provinces? Why are teachers paid the second lowest compared to all the other provinces? What IS the government doing with tax paying dollars???

    • Your point is non-effective and a red herring. I really do not care what other Provinces pay. Ontario is already reeling from the nonsense from the Ontario Teachers union. Fact, there is no more money.

  12. I am a parent. I am a teacher. I am a school counsellor. I want all my kids back in school but I want them back in a school that is funded to support them adequately. Teachers cannot go back to work and hope that mediation will bring the support kids need. No way! This government cannot be trusted. The province needs to see a commitment to funding education, in writing, before anyone steps foot in a classroom. Parents, write, call, Facebook your mla and Fassbender and Clark and insist they mediate now! Without preconditions.

    • Well I already let them both know I’m pleased they’re sticking to their commitment to the BC economy and not being railroaded by one militant self-serving union. I guess we write each other off because I don’t want my kid anywhere close to this reckless BCTF mentality.

  13. After reading all these Teacher’s comments on here, unfortunately, I think the only “cure” for our education system is to finally break the “entitlement” and “we’re such special people” attitude that all these Teachers on here seem to have. Teacher’s remember, those who can do, do ……. those who can’t do, teach. You are really not all that special.

    • William, Speaking as parent, not a teacher, our school system is failing children. The hoops I have had to jump through to get my children extra support in school, still costs tax payers money. I have spent many unpaid hours volunteering in the schools to help out and have seen first hand what teachers do to earn our tax dollars. My family has survived off one non union income so my children could have the best support possible. The teachers are fighting for these children who are falling through the cracks, The children of our future. Invest in children today and the reward is immense. Often children that fall through the cracks end up costing us tax dollars in the long run anyways.. prevention is 99% of the cure. If you are not educated in what goes on in a typical classroom, maybe you need to spend some time volunteering yourself before you throw judgement.

  14. To those bashing the two Supreme Court of BC victories, answer me this: If you get pulled over for speeding twice by the same police officer, it’s the police officer there’s something wrong with your violation invalid. Get a grip….
    The government illegally tore up the teacher’s contract in 2002. All the teachers are asking for back is what was ILLEGALLY taken from them + what will not even amount to a cost of living allowance. This thing called ‘inflation’ eats away at your money you see.
    My son is supposed to start kindergarten on Tuesday. I want a public school system that has enough specialist teachers to support him should he need academic support, and, God help us all, he turns out to be ‘gifted’, in which case he’ll likely become a behavior case since most gifted students receive little or no extra stimulation nowadays.
    To those bashing teachers in general, please, do yourself a favour and learn some history. Investing in our children is the best investment we can make. Remember pastor Martin Niemöller?
    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”.

    • As for your metaphor, you are right on. Unless allegedly aggrieved associations. and individuals (provided they have deep pockets) resort to the justice system to hold government accountable, we will go down the slippery slope.

      The outcome of the two Justice Griffin decisions rulings that the BC government stripped teachers of their constitutional rights to bargain working conditions and the Saskatchewan Supreme court ruling that public sector unions have a constitutional right to strike unless public safety and/or the environment are endangered , are being watched by every province and public sector union. In the later case, I believe the SCC has reserved its decision.

      Once these two cases have been decided at the SCC, there will be clarity. I have the sense that the SCC is very reluctant to issue decisions that conflict with the Charter and water down its provisions. It would prefer to force governments to invoke the notwithstanding clause-at their political peril.

      Otherwise it would reduce its role of ensuring that government obey the rule of law but become government’s instrument to further steepen the slippery slope that you refer to.

  15. Yeah blame BCTF……they were the ones found to be in the wrong twice by a court….found guilty of bad faith bargaining. Do you think Liberals have changed. Remember it was another public sector that also went to court and this government had to pay money for the same thing they did to BCTF.

  16. As I read the comments above I choose to believe many but not all are from teachers , mostly because of comments that appear to be following the BCTF talking points..
    I find it appalling that the teachers, who profess that they are taking a stand for our kids, can only see the message put forth by the BCTF without seeing the other side. There are two sides and a sensible person can see them ..unfortunately many of the people we trust to educate our kids can’t see that..
    The last three unelected BCTF leaders speak from the same play book so it Shouldn’t be a surprise that there gas been a decade plus of crisis..
    Brock….your comments illustrate a total lack of understanding of the issue…

  17. Oh what a surprise, no progress! That`s just the start of it! Gotta feel for the teachers, going to the bank hanging their heads…..there will be so much destruction because of all this.

  18. CC got her behind whacked years ago, and she is pulling strings, all the while hiding in the wings. Both sides are not right. I truly think the government wants to privatize the school system, so they can shove rates down taxpayer’s throats, like they do everything else. (ICBC, HYDRO, BC Ferries etc.) And what is wrong with a generation of morons, as long as they pay taxes? Taxes and not spending $ for the good of the public, is what this bunch is all about.
    I truly wish the teachers well being, but cut out the foolish demands, if you already haven’t. And government, realize you can’t teach 30 kids if 5 are special needs, and 5 more out of the total of 30, speak 3 different languages. 20 of the kids are being cheated out of a decent education. Sure glad my last of 4 daughters graduated this past summer. U Vic, BCIT, SFU, and UBC have more brains than our silly system, called the Ministry Education.

  19. Hold the line or return to class for a 2 week “cooling off” period so that mediation can (might) happen. Although it was pretty hot outside this summer it was very cool as far as negotiated talks go, don’t know how much cooler things could possibly get in two weeks. But, back to my dilemma…decisions, decisions. So, if I return to class without the security of a signed, fair deal and the stress and worry that I may be turning around and walking out on my students again shortly, this is what I have to look forward to:

    - tension between admin and teachers
    - uncertainty about what I am and am not supposed to do over and above teaching
    - inability to put parents and students at ease, or even answer their questions properly
    - A class room equipped with nothing but desks, chairs, a table, text books ( not necessarily enough for each student), one shelf of “classroom” reading materials (the kids should burn through those in about 2 months), a roll down screen, and…..an overhead projector (remember those), hopefully there will be a few 1/4 full bottles of paint and some brushes that last year’s teacher managed to stash away.

    I wasn’t allowed to enter the school this summer to bring my truck loads of personal and non-tax deductible resources in to get prepared to meet my kids needs the best way I can. I don’t mind not being ready because it is for a good reason, a reason that will hopefully involve less truck loads of personally bought supplies and resources because funding for these basic educational needs will improve. If you are not sure what personal resources I am talking about, please ask, or look at any basic elementary classroom on the internet or tv. Anything you see that I haven’t listed above has either been bought by the teacher or with donated money raised by parents, not from the government funding. Last year we ran out of copy paper and it is now an optional purchase added to students school supply lists!!! Don’t even get me started on art or science materials (psssst, I buy a lot of them).

    Schools can’t afford the basics, but I’m being asked to meet the many diverse needs of my learners. Thanks to removal of class size and composition language from our contract. These could be any combination and number of learning disabilities, chronic health issues, physical disabilities, brain injury, giftedness, autism, ADD/ADHD, ESL/ELL, not to mention an average learner who may need a bit of support or one on one time here and there. 30+ kids in my room, periodic visits from an education assistant depending on need and availability, what’s the big deal?

    I’m learning in university (I’m in my 7th year and teaching full time) that I can meet the many needs of my learner with a few simple teaching and classroom adaptations and accommodations, and remember, I only know about these because I personally paid to go back to school to learn them. The majority of classroom teachers are not provided additional training to deal with increasing classroom demands as support funding decreases annually.

    So back to my easy classroom fixes, which I do believe in by the way:
    - create several quiet spaces in your room equipped with visual cues to focus, calm, self regulate, etc. have cushions and hands on materials for the student and sound blocking earphones
    - provide all instructions and directions orally, visually with picture cues, with kinaesthetic options when possible, provide recordings of instructions when possible
    - provide reading materials at all levels, for all your units and projects
    - have computers, iPads, and a smart board for those who learn and focus best through technology
    - create differentiated options for lesson activities and projects (basically plan and prepare for 3-5 different ways for students to learn the same content)
    - work in small groups, have student conferences, assess progress and adjust lessons

    I could go on, but I won’t.

    Now think back to what my classroom is equipped with presently. Do you see any problems I may run into making these adaptations and accommodations? No only can I not personally afford it, I don’t think I would get any sleep and who is going to train me to run all the small groups each doing something different, and who is going to help me make sure my kids are learning despite any difficulties or challenges they are facing. This hands on, visual/audio, inquiry based, high tech classroom sounds fantastic and one I would dream to teach in, but I need funding, training, and physical help to make it work.

    Without the type of help and adjustments I have outlined, teachers are not meeting the needs of all their students and are not helping them achieve their personal best. It can be done, but not on a shoe string. Real class size and student composition limitations need to be in place or the majority of students can’t receive the support they need in order to achieve. Each student in BC receives an average of $1,000 less per year than any other student in Canada when it comes to education funding.

    With out a doubt, I would choose to HOLD THE LINE, and continue the fight for a better learning environment for all students. Please believe me when I say that the system we have now is failing and will continue to decline as funding reduces each year. If I’m not mistaken, the government is actually changing special education policy so that disability categories that used to bring funding to schools, now no longer qualify for funding. Another sneaky, covert way to strip funding with out setting off too many alarm bells.

    Oh yeah, and I wouldn’t mind a raise either.

  20. maybe all you teachers should do what the rest of us do, if we don’t like our job and feel we don’t get enough money. Quit and find a better job. I am with the taxpayers i.e. the government. No more money and no more tax increases. Stay strong Christy, the silent majority is with you.!!

  21. How does a person find out what is really going on in the schools of BC? Ask! I can tell you my story. I love my job. I love working with children and families. I love to learn. I love to support others’ learning. I also find it harder and harder to do my job. I am wondering why, as I’ve been doing this job for 14 years, and instead of it getting easier, it is harder to meet the needs of the students and families I serve. Some years are better than others in terms of class size, but only 2 years ago I had a class of 29 grade 8s, with 5 identified students with special needs, and another 7 who had never been tested but were still on the wait list for assessment. Try managing that! Not to mention, being innovative and trying to keep up to date on current teaching practices. In the counselling part of my work, my job is also around the clock. Here is a typical day: wake at 5am to do assessments, planning, or organizing of schedule. Drop off my own children to their respective schools, and start work at mine. Work to recess, need to pee, but students need my help with something. Help them, skip the bathroom and think it’s only 2 hours until lunch. Quickly get to gym, let students in locker rooms. Set up. attendance, connections, lesson, wrap up,clean up, lock up, back to counselling room. Child there at door, asking for appt. No room today, how about next week? Well, it could be anything from someone’s parents are fighting, or someone’s in a difficult social situation and needs guidance right away. I see my prep block and decide it can work then. 2 more appointments before lunch, one is a restitution circle to help them restore the peace in an altercation, the other is a session requested by an individual student from last week. Bell goes ,time to eat lunch. 10 minutes. Phew, I can pee now. I open door to depart with student, and another is waiting. “when’s our social justice club meeting?”. Oh, right, Mondays at lunch… I let them in and run to office to announce the meeting is in the counselling office, and about to begin. Head to bathroom before grabbing my lunch from staff room. Often barren in there, as teachers don’t have time to go there unless using the photocopier. Say hi to colleague at printer, read message white board that reminds teachers to sign up for the Halloween dance, or Valentines, or Spring Fling, Winter celebration or… I head back up to the room, where a group of keen students are there to make a difference. meeting ends with some plans for next week’s assembly, but we need to meet Thursday at lunch to rehearse. Bell goes, I rush to library to meet the exploratory students. Take attendance. student shows up and motions through window he needs me. I get class started, and meet. He needs to make an appointeent. I forgot my scheduler, so ask that I find him at the end of the day. Agreed. Get back, hand out pencils to those without, redirect students struggling with behaviour issues, etc. Time’s up, next class. Push in chairs, hand in work, collect computer, basket of goods, props and materials. Back to counselling room for last session of the day, which is a social empowerment type group for tweens. By end of day, the room looks like a hurricane hit it. Clean up, file notes, call anyone necessary to support students. Emails, collect work for home, oh! My kids…I want to see them. Get home at 5 or 5:30, unless I’m coaching, then it is often 6 or 6:30 depending on where the game is. Get home, love my children, make dinner or do dishes, try to summon enough energy to play with kids, then read and help them with their homework before their bedtime routine. They’re asleep by 8 on a successful night, so I can connect with my partner and get to bed by 9. I bring my prep with me, and surf the net for inspiration on a topic and check out something a student was talking about.
    This is a typical day, that does not include other things like emergencies, report card time (when I usually spend 2 entire weekends at the school writing reports, and my kids know that is when daddy takes over the family and they’ll see me in a few weeks. This occurs 3 times a year). The summers? Yes, we teachers and counsellors think about our jobs then, too. Planning, thinking, and taking courses. I am writing this to give you an example of the conditions we work in. If there was adequate support, there would not be a ratio of 1:300 (that is a really good ratio for a counsellor in BC, and at the expense of other services like having a librarian). In the classroom, I would love to know what it is like to not have to do more with less, and constantly be told we just have to be more efficient. Letting down families is not my goal, but it seems that without adequate support, that is what families will feel, despite it being totally the opposite.
    I know how exhausting it can be just throwing a birthday party for a small group of children, how hard it is to keep the costs low, but have a great time. This ratio is maybe 2:10 and 3 hours in duration. Imagine day after day, sorting out the needs and learning of all sorts of individuals-4 classes of 28?- and their families. Weekends off? Not so. Sometimes we just DO take the weekend to catch up on our own home life daily needs, and care for our family, but it can’t be more that one weekend or the repercussions are big. We need to be ready Monday.
    BTW, I spend on average $400.00 per year of my own money on my students and classroom and counselling room. I look for deals, find discounts, and reuse paper.
    Thanks for reading. I hope you can see that the life of a teacher is not lazy, and but putting education (and in my opinion health care and the environment) a priority, our society and economy will inevitable thrive. Good free public health care is an investment. Not doing so is going to cause burn out, as well as upset for our education system and a disservice to our society.

  22. Why don’t all you people get it
    97% of the education budget goes to teachers wages and benefits
    My wife does teachers payroll , she says to me ( don’t feel sorry for the teachers Ken )
    Compared to our CUPE contract we look like working poor,

  23. The meeting has generated a lot of emotion and is clearly controversal.

    As I see it, the government has asked Iker to drop the grievances until the appeals are heard-meaning set aside the grievances for at least two years. Because, that’s how long it will take for his issue to go right up to ther SCOC-unless some way can be found to expedite the process..

    Also the government has asked the BCTF to go back to work and allow at least 2 weeks to allow Vince Ready to step in and try and mediate an end to the strike.

    If he doesn’t, then what?

    Finally, I’m not aware of a single concession that is of benefit to teachers other than what the government has already put on the table. At least this story does not indicate what concessions the government is prepared to offer, if any.

    So I would be very surprised if Iker accepts the government proposal and sends his teachers back to work. To me it would be like sending his members to the gallows. If he agrees, the government will have the BCTF and, in particular teachers, exactly where it wants them. It will be easy pickings from there on.

    This makes me very afraid of what will happen to the BCTF in spite of all its failings because it isn’t all its fault. The teachers, indeed, are at their Alamo.

    But I really sincerely hope that I am wrong in that the government is also sincere and will back off on its apparent objective to run the union off the education landscape.

    Perhaps by tomorrow morning, we wll find out what will unfold. Interesting times ahead.

    • The real issue is that the Liberals refuse to mediate / negotiate unless the teachers accept the Opt Out clause for the Liberals.

      This states that should the Liberals be found guilty a THIRD time by the SCBC then the Liberals can “Opt Out” (i.e. IGNORE) the ruling. And you call this “Good Faith” bargaining?

  24. Just found out the other day from a teacher friend of mine that whole state of Louisiana is operating on a private school system throughout the whole state. Here we go………

  25. My cynical side tells me this more about losing out on international student money if the year doesn’t start on time than it is on actually getting an agreement. Hope I’m wrong.

  26. Through all of these posts and discussions, I hear that our education system is broken and needs to be fixed and that it is sub-par compared to other parts of the country. Where is this coming from? I don’t see any public outcry over the quality of our education system nor do I see any mass protests from angry parents demanding that the government spend more of our precious tax dollars on education. Is our education system perfect? No it is not. Can it be improved? Sure but at what cost?

    It seems to me that most of the criticism of our education system is coming from the BCTF itself. Of course they want smaller class sizes. Of course they want more money put into education. It would make teachers’ jobs much easier. IMHO class sizes should not and never be bargained into a contract. It should be up to Management and or an independent body to decide not the Teachers themselves.

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