Teachers balk at ending strike before a deal

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk
Teachers balk at ending strike before a deal

Teachers rallying near Vancouver’s Cambie bridge say they’re hopeful a deal can be made now that Vince Ready is involved, but they’re not ready to take down their picket lines on Tuesday.

Julie Luciani says she has no faith in promises being made by the other side.

“Because I don’t believe the government is bargaining fairly, so if we went back, it would be very disruptive. We would probably be back for two weeks and then, we’d be out again because the government doesn’t play fair. We’ve been ready all this time. We wanted to do it at the end of the year when it would be less disruptive, but the government wasn’t playing ball.”

Other teachers say they want to be back in their classrooms on Tuesday, but not unless a tentative deal is in place.

The President of the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association —Dan Graves– says they have more faith in Ready than Education Minister Peter Fassbender and there’s still hope teachers can be back in their classrooms Tuesday.

“There’s no reason we can’t be. It’s really about government for the first time in 18 months, moving off their opening position. Stop spinning their wheels, stop with the empty slogans and stop with 12 years of letting public schools fall through the cracks. It’s their work now to come to the table and help us fix this.”

But Graves says picket lines won’t come done if no tentative deal is in place by the end of the long weekend.


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  1. From a negotiations strategy, the teachers appear to be in a lose-lose situation. The government is winning the PR battle for the hearts of all. The government has imposed pre-conditions to its request that teachers stand down and have offered nothing-at least publcally.

    Having said that, the teachers cannot stand down before a deal is reached. Their only hope is a win in the courts. If the teachers agree to any CS and CC outcomes falling short of pre-2002 contract language and terms, the current rulings of the BC Supreme court will be essentially rendered mute. Teachers cannot be seen to be agreeable to anything less.

    Why not an agreement to leave the CS and CC issue entirely in the hands of the court(S)?

    And an interim agreement on CS and CC could be negotiated “Without Predjudice” in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and not jeopardize either party’s position in the courts?

    • I was under the impression that the government was losing the PR battle based on the poll results released earlier this week. Every time the minister speaks I feel that he isn’t being honest and is simply providing spin and sound bite snippets. He isn’t trustworthy, even when compared to other politicians.

      • What you “feel” is of little consequence. That’s part of the problem – this is, to many, an emotional fight based on political slants and not enough on reality and the bigger picture of the economic stability we are working towards.

        • Isn’t economic stability a ‘feeling’, as well? When speaking of PR, the ‘feel’ that Mr. Fassbender exudes is of great consequence. He says one thing but then does another – for example, he says that the negotiator called the BCTF over the summer but that simply wasn’t true. Must have lost his speaking points when he uttered those words.

          • I hope I do. Trying to look at the bigger picture is why I’m so against the BCTF demanding so much control over the delivery and policy of education in BC. Those of us that aren’t teachers voted for a government to fill that role. Sometimes it’s difficult to remain cool-headed but feel free to challenge me any time.

    • @Insite, the fundamental issue is the matter of Class composition and it is clear the current policy of ‘inclusion’ is not working well under the current prescription and needs a serious review, rethink and solution building.

      I do not believe such should be left up to the Courts, nor do I believe such should be included in the BCTF agreement except perhaps a letter of agreement to undertake a review that is urgently required.

      The policy of inclusion will need a much larger audience than just the BCTF /Government. Such would likely include a host of specialists; doctors/nurses/ language folks, psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, educationalists, affected parents, financial folks, and likely others.

      This is the crux of the dispute that needs to be addressed. There is no sense in throwing a bunch of money at the problem hoping such will go away, it will not.
      Better solutions need to be found, the 13 student categories now used need to be reviewed and validated.

      • Ron and Stephen are definitely bagmen for the “Princes of Commerce” they are only interested in complicating a very simple problem. The BC schools are seriously under funded, by Canadian standards. People the big picture as Ron 26 alludes to, is visible to you. If only you think for your selves. If your looking for consensus in word you are lost, and so are BC children. Education is societies biggest benefit. Certainly better than medicare. Don’t listen to Ron and Stephan’s PALAVA.
        PS RON and Stephen I await your personal attacks.

  2. Can I ask teachers where they were all summer? I did not see them on the picket lines at all in July or August. If you looking to win a PR game, don’t go back to the lines a week before school. Plus why were both sides not talking for almost a month and a half?
    Both sides of this dispute need to pull their heads out and find a solution. I do not know the entire history of this labour battle as it seems to have gone on since I can remember. But why can other public sector unions settle with the Government with relative ease compared to the BCTF. I’d enjoy seeing a concise readable history of the BCTF and the goverment over the years to understand the outright distaste both side have to each other.

  3. You didn’t see the teachers as they felt there were no students so why bother, thus why they chose the last two weeks of school to do their full out strikes, they had no intentions of giving up their vacation time which proves they are in it for themselves and not the students. Who cares if there was students or not in the schools, if you really wanted to be heard you would have been there, but you were not, and you still are not. You can’t have your cake and icing too. Personally school should be all year round, then the teachers have no excuse on saying they are burnt out by June. Wow you would never survive being a nurse, ever.

    • Picketing empty buildings is a strategy I would not have thought of Jan! It makes sense, I guess. Maybe the teachers should picket through the night as well. Jan – if this thing implodes, you should replace Vince Ready! Before we move you up though, let’s work on your figures of speech – Can’t have your cake and, this is where it gets tough, eat it too! There Jan, eat it!

  4. I just heard an interview on CKNW where they interviewed a teacher and he said it was not about the money but he just want to make society better. What a crock of lies! It is not the job of teachers to create a better society. It is up to the parents.
    Teachers should teach the basics like, reading, writing, and mathematics. Not to indoctrinate kids with socialist propaganda. Kids that come out of school today can barely string a sentence together or add anything up without a calculator.

    • Richard, I agree with you regarding students who can barely string together a sentence. That is a recent development that happened right around the time class composition and size limits were removed. As for the teachers not having the job of creating a better society, I got to give that more thought. It just sounds kind of stupid, just off the top of my head. Yes Stupid!

  5. These buildings are not empty during the summer months as maintenance people are in there constantly . Now if the union maintenance people refused to cross the picket lines, then the pressure would have increased on the government to at least talk. I don’t have a problem with teachers having holidays, we all deserve them, but I believe they should have had people picketing during the summer.

  6. Here is something that the BCTF might consider for immediate implementation to counter the government strategy. The way it is going, it is not too late.

    Appoint or hire a Public Relations person or equivalent who is responsible for speaking to the media, issuing press releases and for maintaining the BCTF web-site. While this person will not be at the bargaining table, he or she will be kept up to speed on everything that is said at the bargaining table. This person will be free to float all kinds of proposals and explain the BCTF’s postion to the public.

    Or hire a chief negotiator-the one that can speak more frankly behind closed doors. If Iker is deemed the chief negotiator, relieve him of the responsibility of speaking to the media. The “media blackout” has been most effective in muzzling Jim Iker. All he can do is smile.

    It is a foregone conclusion that the government is winning the PR battle because the union is operating with one hand tied behind its back.

    A PR function or equivalent, separate from a negotiator at least will have a chance of continually speaking to the media and maintain that he/she is not violating the media blackout but is, in fact, speaking out for children, parents, teachers and taxpayers. It works-Fassbender is getting a free ride,