UPDATES: BCTF blaming “escape clause” for teachers’ dispute impasse

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UPDATES: BCTF blaming "escape clause" for teachers' dispute impasse

The BC Teachers Federation is putting the blame on a clause from the employer it says gives it an out on the class size and composition court case for the breakdown in talks this weekend.

“We also need to see their escape clause removed from the table. That is the impasse.”

The BCTF’s Glen Hansman says the E80 clause would put language in the contract giving the province an escape clause for any future class size and composition court decision.

“The only thing that the government is offering is just to take what is currently in legislation, the learning improvement fund, and move it into the collective agreement with the same process and the same pot of money that was already budgeted for, $75 million. That is just taking the status quo and moving it from one location to the other.”

Hansman says theunion took 125-million-dollars in benefits off the table over the weekend but is still asking for a five-thousand dollar signing bonus.

But the BC Government’s lead negotiator says the teacher’s union is trying to live in the past as it blasts the contentious E80 clause.

Peter Cameron says even the latest BC Supreme Court decision says class size and composition language needs to be bargained.

But Cameron says the union refuses to do so.

“If that language were to be restored into the old agreement here is what the court had to say this language is not clad in stone it can and likely will need to be the subject of ongoing collective bargaining. We have proposed in E80 class size and composition provisions that we say are demonstrably better than what the union is seeking.”

Cameron says the teacher’s union is seeking to return to class size and composition contract language from the Eighties


BCPSEA Package of Proposals June 15, 2014


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    • You do – private school! If you are not willing to pay a little extra for better classroom conditions in publically funded schools, enroll your kids in private school for 20 times that amount. Otherwise Chris – quit crying about how teachers, who are putting their money where their mouths are, are wearing thin on you.

      • That might be a solution for his child, but it’s no solution for the health of BC public education is it? This has polarized BC and will be causing the economy to suffer. This is bigger than some BCTF invented principle.

        • Then you ought to have less to say about the BCTF. In fact, you ought to be praising them for encouraging you to make the best decision for your kids.

          Your private school receives taxpayer money and you get a tax deduction.

          • That’s the kind of backward logic that only an NDP stalwart could use. I still pay my share of school taxes, and I still have to deal with the substandard product that comes out of the BC school system… So I think I’m as entitled to an opinion as the next person is !

          • ChrisM-Other defenders of the BC public school system, including the government, say that outcomes in the BC public education system are second to none in the world.

            So there are other reasons why you are dissatisfied with the piblic school product. Your own shortcomings-especially your elitist attitude?

            I suspect you pay minimum wages w/o benefits and you expect the moon. You only get what you pay for. You know you have a choice. If you don’t like dealing with the substandard product, don’t. Just move on….

            Really hit a nerve-didn’t I? You are so touchy.

          • He’s a taxpayer. He has every right to speak since his taxes doesn’t fully fund his child(ren). However, his taxes fund the public system.

            Adopt an Alberta system and then you shut it.

    • They certainly are wearing thin!- After reading the proposal from the employer I am even more supportive of the government and BSPSEA!
      I simply have no idea what they are griping about, except they WANT to cause disruption and fight the last election all over again because their NDP lost.

      • You hit the nail on the head. They are still whining over the election. And they can amass the troops but they will lose the next one as well. Those days of the socialists giving everything away are over. I think it is starting now. Lol.

  1. Ah so now the teachers are talking out of class, rather than at the bargaining table.

    Very improper and a poor reflection on how they want to do business.

    The teachers had their chance with Vince Ready.

    • I imagine the 1902 is the year you were born RonE. Your thinking is old man! Did the government not, as well, have their chance with Mr. Ready? Or, just the teachers?

    • Nah… The government “had their chance with Vince Ready.” Teachers are right on! All parents should be supporting the teachers in this, and should be calling on Fassbender to resign, and on Christy to resign as well for non-confidence. “Bargaining” takes two sides, and for the BCTF to be the only one making allowances is just wrong, wrong, wrong! Support your teachers people! THEY are the ones who have the care of your kids for most of the day, 5 days a week. NOT the government. Government obviously does not give two hoots for the next generation and are only interested in protecting and lining their own pocket book. How about they take cutbacks in their salary, and double up on the work they have to do for it? It is not the government shaping our childrens minds, it is the teachers. So start supporting your teachers and call for government to either do the right thing or to step down!

      • Linda – I agree with this part:

        “Nah… The government “had their chance with Vince Ready.” Teachers are right on! All parents should be supporting the teachers in this, and should be calling on Fassbender to resign, and on Christy to resign as well for non-confidence. “Bargaining” takes two sides, and for the BCTF to be the only one making allowances is just wrong, wrong, wrong!”

        All I could make out from the rest was, “I don’t have kids in the school system so I don’t care. Just don’t dare raise my taxes one cent, even though I have expendable income and it is not my deal to fund public education. Although I can support public education financially, don’t want to and, although it would be the right thing to do, I just don’t want to give up any money because I live in the real world, not the fantasy world teachers live in.” Thanks for your post Linda!

      • The government had their chance? I think they just were just going along with the BCTF’s desire to have a mediator to be diplomatic. It was Iker who thought Ready would somehow change the game thinking his team could sit there and Vince would wave a magic wand. If the BCTF thinks they are winning public support they have a far more serious problem than just being arrogant. And you want that mentality “shaping our children’s minds”? Not me.

  2. With two lower court decisions that the government illegally stripped teachers of their right to bargain working conditions (CS and CC) in its pocket, the BCTF cannot be blamed for refusing to accept the opt-out clause proposed by the government. The BCTF must be very careful to ensure that it does not enter into any contract that will render Justice Griffin’ decision and rulings moot.

    Look, the government would not agree to an opt-out clause proposed by the BCTF if the government had two favourable lower courtdecisions in its pocket.

    Isn’t it amazing that the government now suggests that the BCTF demands are 2 times higher than what was accepted by 150,000 other public sector workers.

    Why didn’t the government trot out such information before the BCTF took over $150 million off the table? The government could have claimed then that the BCTF was demanding 3 times more than other public sector workers. Oh well… I guess that wasn’t important at the time.

    On the other hand, the BCTF can claim that it reduced its monetary demands by 33 percent-not small potatoes while the government refused to budge from its original position. Not only that, it took the signing bonus off the table. And threw in an unacceptable opt-out clause.

    All this is justified by a new negotiation standard which allows the government to sit on its hands while demanding the union to capitulate 100 percent to its demands.

    • Very well said, but the BCTF should be telling their members that they plan on compensating them for their losses with some (even if it is a small amount) of the settlement money that will be awarded. The BCTF desperately needs their members to take another kick in the teeth for at least a month.

      • If the BCTF members take a further kicking and then win in the judical system, the compensation costs should include additional costs-not lost pay.

        Justice Griffin’s decision that contract language and terms were ordered to be restored retroactively but was stayed pending the government appeal.

        So it is possible the the meter continues to run….

  3. The BCTF had their chance with Ready to end the strike but choose to hold on for a gravy train status quo deal. Seriously take off the signing bonus, more extended bnefits on top of the existing royal benefits, and extra prep time on top of the existing 3+ month / year off. End the gong show and get in line with other public sector unions. Why does this union think they’re better then everybody else?

    • Sammy, you got to work with us here man! Are you simply cutting and pasting here from every other comment you have made? Give the teachers what the police just got – 7% over three years and, ready for this, a retro check! Having said that – I think they are worth every penny, but just don’t keep telling me that teachers are asking for twice as much as everyone else. Sam, we go back a long way (remember when you wouldn’t support food banks?), but, listen man – class size and class composition do not fall under “benefits” in the true sense. They are working and learning conditions. The premier, through her education fund manager, wants you to believe it is part of a benefit package. Having said all that – teachers should fold the tent on class composition as they, and only a handful of parents (mainly who have kids in the system and truly understand the deal in classrooms) and walk! Go ahead Sam – fifty kids in a classroom – but don’t wonder why the kids are not learning. Sam, you seem like a nice guy – but we must take care of our own!

      • Rick I can say a lot of obvious things to put holes in your argument but believe me the government won’t just give in to the BCTF. To the BCTF this is their world but to the government this is just one labour dispute among thousands. The Nurses are next up to ask for a new contract and you can put they’re watching this labour dispute like a hawk. If the government had just given them what they wanted and called it a day it would only make things worse later with other labour disputes. The Alberta government collects a lot of tax dollars from oil / gas and can afford to be more wasteful with their tax dollars then us. The reality of our Province is what we can afford. Not about emotion, deserving, or desires. They should have taken what ever Ready could have got them last week.

    • Yes, I think, Sammy, that the BCTF do think of themselves as better inasmuch as they seem to think they are the arbiters of social mores, justice and the welfare of the entire province.
      The above proposal is a good one. They should sit down and sign it and shut up.

  4. I guess they missed the the employer removed that clause, siting the BCTF inability to actually understand it.

    And the signing bonus was in place to get a deal by June 30. It’s long gone.

  5. I hope the public now realize that the Liberals are being unscrupulous regarding this out clause being forced upon in the contract. No way the teachers should accept this. The government can’t legislate teachers back as it would be deemed poorly by the court as not bargaining in good faith. Their in a real mess. It’s time parents put some real pressure on the liberals to show actual leadership and deal with getting the kids back in school now!

  6. Here is Gary’s Recommendation.

    I firmly believe a 5 day work week is getting outdated. If true, the 4 day work week is the next best option.
    Hence an enormous cost saving is obvious to the school boards and the provincial government.
    Most importantly, parents can be relieved that their children will be in public schools from Monday to Thursday.
    In addition to this relief benefit, the children and the parents can have a three day weekend instead of the monthly statutory day once a month.
    Please comment on my views with your honest opinion. Thanks.

    • Furthermore, teachers deserve professional pay for professional work; they are certified and committed educators. It appears that the Education Minister treats teachers as non professionals, non-certified, etc. I believe he not respecting their services with sincerity after the Liberal Government has spent billions of dollars on the 2010 Olympics and Port Mann Bridge project.

  7. Funny how Vince Ready, the most credible person in the whole damn bunch, said ‘they are to far apart on composition, Wages, and Benefits. Not one word about the E80 clause? If that was indeed ‘the big issue’ to this whole mess, don’t you think Ready would have known that?
    Ready has been doing this for a long time, he knows what he is saying, when he says it.
    They had to grab something, so after some thinking, this is their out. Pathetic, actually.

    • @DIM LIGHT (DWIGHT for short)…..And now you think you can make up truth by speaking to what Vince Ready did not say when I know otherwise.

      Don’t you think Vince Ready’s reference to the issue of “composition” was all encompassing? The opt-out clause was such a cheap trick, Vince Ready couldn’t be bothered to mention the obvious. I know-you needed him to draw a picture for you when everyone else was able to figure it out by themselves.

      And you even go further and know exactly what Vince Ready was thinking.

      And make statements as if they are true based on a figment of imagination? Give me a break…..

      Fully agree-Pathetic…. in fact.

      • You know Insite, you would probably get to cement any points you make with the readers here a lot better if you started to act in a more mature manner and stop the cheap shot name calling you seem so adept at.

      • I find these snide remarks to people offering their opinion quite unattractive and it is not helping your argument one bit. IF one reads the employer proposal presented to the BCTF , in it’s entirety , it is clear as day that the BCTF have been offered a very good contract. If Iker and the union had any gumption at all they would get to that table and ask for a pen to sign on the dotted line.
        Perhaps some are reading comprehension challenged or just have not read the proposal, taking the union’s word for everything.
        That’s the kind of thing that has put some teachers on the food bank line up and working two and three jobs. The teachers should be calling up Iker and demanding he get his 70′s hairdo over to the negotiating room and sit down , sign the contract and SHUT UP!

      • Why are you such a hypocrite? You throw insults and cry like a baby when someone insults you or calls you on it? Act like a grown up and not like the babies here. If this is too much to ask for perhaps you will get along well in a Facebook debate.

      • Insite???, Again, Reading and Comprehending problems.
        Your trying to read ‘body language into a still picture again “Insite???
        What Ready said was as I quoted. ….composition, wages and benefits! Yet all you hear is composition. Watch the clip. Typical BCTF/NDP, dont need any info just mouth off.
        I made no attempt to say I know what Ready was thinking. Again, read and comprehend!
        Do you know anything at all about Labour Relations. My guess is a solid Hell No!

    • We had Vince Ready mediate a dispute for us years ago and he booked out because the company wouldn’t move.
      we know this because after two months on strike the company cane to the union and gave everything we asked for.
      The Escape Clause is the only thing holding this dispute up.
      The government wants an end run around the courts.

  8. On one hand the Liberals say they want to “let the Courts decide” but on the other hand (E80 /E81) they want the teachers to sign away the ability of the Courts to decide and allow the Liberals to “Opt Out” of any decision.

    BTW, just what have they done with the $300 M per year they have taken out of public education for the past 12 years?

    • Good comment Bob.

      But I would add that you will not see the $300 million or whatever was saved every year as a line item in the budget as some would like to see. Government is not that dumb -but my friend, wants to see the money. Yada Yada- “not going to happen.”

      Government would never admit to cutting funding. The most effective way of cutting the budget, especially education-local school boards were put on the hook to absorb salary increases, hydro rate increases and carbon taxes.

      This allowas a government to take credit for education funding when many costs are downloaded.

      Next is seimic upgrading where local school boards are being expected to pony up by selling school property-meaning selling our future.

    • IF the BCTF believes the court is in their favour and will have that as leverage, why debate it? They may just “settle” for junk now, but if they push for little and the courts decide in their favour, they cannot regain that. Hmm…what’s a better option?

  9. Bob, what $300 million . Please point to where this money was Taken out of the school budget.
    Perhaps it was put in Health care, or something stupid like that. But first s”show me the money’ or is it just more BCTF BS?

    • Dwight, it must be BCTF BS because , as has been pointed out repeatedly, enrollment is down and funding is up by over a billion a year in every year, so I do not know where they get their arguments. They just throw stuff out , flying around in the air, and hope it sticks…. to SOMETHING.. just as long as they can take cheap shots at the government ( which I find quite tiring and offensive) getting the BC Fed involved, getting Sinclair threatening to call a province wide strike, etc. EVERYTHING but doing what they should be doing: Seriously negotiating. Iker has done nothing but campaign in the media and get the rest of the union movement to propagandize the whole situation. The twitter and facebook rhetoric I found completely eye opening as to union attitude toward the government. I believe the government has been fair and even handed and the BCTF is over the top.
      I am all for them firing them all and hiring all those teachers laid off . I am sure they would appreciate the work.

  10. I can’t believe up until this weekend I haven’t heard a single press release or word from the BCTF on E80 OR E81!! Granted I have only been actively following all of this since June but if it really IS the main issue, it needs to be hammered on as LOUD as possible and the absolute BEST timing is NOW!! Bar none!! After what the Government did this weekend when Teachers went in lower by $125,000,000 and they changed nothing… not a single parent and all of their friends and family are in the dark about the strike at this moment. What they ARE in the dark about is the ramifications of E80 and E81, even though E81 was withdrawn. They are in the dark about how if the Government legislates teachers back to work they will most likely have LOST their appeal before it even starts, so that is why they WON’T, not because they care and want to be fair. How if Teachers take the deal with EITHER of those two in it, they have most likely LOST the appeal by NEGOTIATING the language back in after winning TWICE on the grounds they were not consulted and their Charter Rights were violated because of the first two pieces of Legislation! That is the story that needs to be told!!!

  11. First The government knows what they were doing wrong since 2007 and has failed to insulate the taxpayers from the financial disaster that is looming. In 2002 the government passed 3 bills, Bills 27,28 and 29. The Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled Bill 29 unconstitutional and issued their decision in 2007.
    Second, any lawyer would not allow their client to sign away their rights away to any past, present or future court awards, without a significant settlement. If they did they should be being looked at being disbarred for trying to circumvent the judicial system.
    Do the people on this thread understand the real cost of Justice Griffin’s decision? Don’t think millions, think billion. Looking at the offer from the teachers, I would leap at the chance to settle what is owed for pennies on the dollar. If the Appeal Court sides with the teachers, those taxpayers that support the government need to be prepared for 13 years of grievances to come back and haunt you

  12. Face it folks, CC has BCTF causing her an itch in her drawers. She started it, and dag nab it, she wants to go down in flames, on the winning side. I wish her luck, she’s gonna need all she can get, out of this stink. 2 supreme court rulings and a 3rd. appeal in the very near future, I have to wonder if she will still say poo poo? Something like the .05 deal that she invented. This one could cost the province billions, in the end. Reminds me of a spoiled little girl!

  13. Back to the court decision. It is true that the provisions in the 2002 class size and composition contract will need to be negotiated because things are MUCH WORSE now than they were back then. The language needs to be stronger in favour of composition in particular. The whole “We can’t afford it” thing is a pile of crap. Every provincial budget is apolitical document that lays out government priorities. The provincial budget has increased by over a billion dollars since the Libs unlawfully stripped our contract. In that time they have bought a new roof for a half a billion dollars, spent upwards of $4B on the Olympics (the $1B doesn’t include Sea to Sky Highway or other road improvements), spent twice as much as budgeted for a trade and convention centre, and selling government assets. This from a group of folks who claim to be fiscally responsible. While they were spending $ on those things, (and sick increases to their own budgets) they were spending less and less on public education. That, my friends shows you the priorities of this government. They raid their own crown corporations for over a billion dollars every year. AND YOU THINK YOU CAN TRUST THEM ON MONEY ISSUES? Clearly they can not operate their government since they reduced taxes and, if we win something at this round of bargaining, it will be the excuse they need to increase taxes, maybe even back to the level they were at when they took over government. They are immoral, unlawful, and incompetent. Other than that I am sure that they are lovely people.

  14. So, if you won a court case against your neighbor, and were awarded a significant settlement, would you turn it down? Particularly if the law was on your side and you had invested a lot of time, energy, and money into that decision. If you would give up a hard victory in courts – first of all I don’t believe you, but if you did, then you can contribute to the debate on E.80. Otherwise, you’re a hypocrite and should keep your comments about everyone else (because they sure don’t apply to you) to yourself.