BCTF says contingency funds and tax hikes could pay for strike settlement

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk
BCTF says contingency funds and tax hikes could pay for strike settlement

The BC Teachers union says the government has lots of money on hand to pay for a new deal to end the education dispute.

BCTF president Jim Iker says provincial rainy day funds are more than enough to pay teachers wages, benefits, and deal with class size and composition.

“If I’m not mistaken there’s approximately 1 to 2 billion dollars in surpluses and contingencies that they’ve put away for. So this government does have money and they have other options in terms of corporate tax rates.”

Iker says it’s hypocritical for the government to draw an affordability line with teachers.

He says the province found lots of money for cost overruns for the BC Place and the Convention Centre, and they can find money for education.


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  1. Of course. Not only are Iker and his goons experts on education policy, but now they know all about the government finances. He gets more arrogant every day! Just how have the BCTF handled their own finances? No money for months to help teachers out eh? And he want us to think he has a clue of what he’s talking about?

    • The legal issues in this dispute are complex in the extreme. When you add that to, what appears to be, gold plated demands, if difficult, if not impossible, to get your mind around this entire fiasco. I would like to know why the BCTF made this action so complex. The bite was too big. They should have dealt with some of these issues in digestible portions. The BCTF strategy has back fired and maybe it’s time for the teachers to rethink their approach or rethink their leadership.

    • I don’t know about the rest of you but i’m not willing to have any more taxes put on me and my family just because I don’t belong to a union.I don’t get paid union wages or benefits. If I can’t do my job accordingly I will get FIRED . If I get more work on my plate I have to make the best of it in order to keep my job and a pay cheque coming in every week to pay my mortgage, gas, car and house insurance etc.
      Quit whining BCTF I have ZERO sympathy for you. Have sympathy for me and my 16 year old who is waiting to get back to learning in this so called FREE COUNTRY.

  2. Get with it Iker, the issue is what YOU want and what we, the taxpayer is willing to offer in conjunction with what other government employees settled for, which also includes the benefit package. Please realize this, I know it’s probably a difficult concept for the BCTP leadership to grasp.

  3. And with all that money that’s coming our way from supplying chilled natural gas to Asians more easily than they can supply natural gas to themselves using a pipeline from Asia, we’re rich.

  4. Love iker. Get someone else to pay for it. When he says corporate taxes he means small business. Sure stick it to the other hard working people in this province who work for themselves. God forbid should one of his union friends, those precious teachers have to pay any more tax.

  5. Here is exactly the reason why Vince booked out. These guys have not grasped the reality that we the people do not want to pay any more taxes while the Government seems to have heard loud and clear Do Not raise our taxes and Do Not open the cupboard and shovel out cash into BCTF wheelbarrows. Hope the Government holds firm to their position.

    • I want the government to hold firm too. I am so tired of the likes of the BCTF trying to bully the government to give them what is clearly out of line. After reading through the offer on the table by the employer and what the BCTF are demanding I am firmly behind the government and the employer. I also do not believe the BCTF should be in control of class size and composition. CUPE with Teacher’s Assistants are doing fine and they do not need the BCTF calling the shots on every aspect of decision making . That is up to the employer and the districts in consultation with teachers and parents. Even at that, the employer has in their offer the input of the BCTF, but that is not enough for them, they want total control.
      It looks like they want total control over everything in the province

  6. I know I’m not an economist but we have a contingency fund of $1-2 Billion? OK assuming the money is there (and not merely a book entry on a budget) does he not know what the parameters of a contingency fund include? I would take a wild guess and say it’s probably for emergencies and not to fund on-going expenses such as salaries. Assuming we even used this money for the teachers, where do we get the next shortfall from? Oh yes, they (the CTF) have proposed just a little increase in our taxation levels. Ain’t it wonderful to be so ‘Progressive and socially’ inclined.
    We have a provincial debt that most agree is well north of $40 Billion (probably a bit to a lot conservative) and have been running deficits. Has Jimbo read the figure incorrectly? Should that little dash between the “1″ and the “2″ be read as “minus” instead of “to”?
    I can only guess that when Jim Iker was getting his degrees in sociology and political science (at McMaster) he probably got a lot of indoctrination in political activism and not a lot of exposure to economics. Ain’t our education system just wonderful!

    • Doesn’t kids not getting an education constitute an emergency? Don’t give a penny of the contingency to wages, put it into composition. They’ll likely have to in a couple of years anyways. Besides we’re going to be swimming in LNG profits in a few years anyways aren’t we?

  7. This news storey truly highlights the fact that the BCTF do not understand or acknowledge the impact of the Teachers wage & benefits demands. The BCG has been very clear and has communicated on numerous occasions that any additional wage concession has a domino impact on other collective union agreements. It is not an exclusive negotiation with the BCTF. The impact will create additional debt & deficit that the electorate is not prepared to accept. The Liberals were voted in on a platform of prudent fiscal management and to keep the BC economy from faltering. I would suggest the BCTF as well as the NDP look to socialist economies in France & Greece to fully understand the impact of caving into the demands of these massive public sector unions. We need to avoid these types of scenarios and it is a slippery slope proposition. The BC economy can’t afford additional tax burden and for certain, the BCG is not in a position to take on additional debt or utilize “rainy day” funds. The offer on the table is fair. Teachers make a good salary and the benefits are generous. Pension is beyond the imagination and expectation of any private sector employee. There is an over supply of Teachers in the system, it obviously is an appealing career for a large percentage of graduates. These individuals understand and know what the economic climate is as well as the financial rewards / offerings. I would suggest to any Teacher not satisfied with the offer on the table to quit. If you think you are worthy of more income and benefits, go test the market. Go find a more rewarding job if you are so disenfranchised or feel that “you are not respected”. You have a great job, a great place to work, a great benefits package, a great retirement support program and a above average income. If you feel otherwise, go to the region / job that will pay you what you feel you are worth.

    • What would public education look like if all the experienced teachers resigned and were replaced by inexperienced new teachers? A two tier education system – private and public?

      Not to worry Andrew, the Liberals will prevail, education will be thrown backward, and future generations will be unable to compete with highly trained Asian graduates.

      Next in line is the health care system – the taxpayer cannot afford that either.

  8. I want to know what the”real” numbers are. I have been unsure of were to put my voice during the strike. I “think” I agree with some the teachers points and I also “think” I agree with some of the Governments. What I really don’t like is how it is all playing out. The woman (Tera Pemberton) starting this petition is not on one side. She says:
    “No one knows what to believe anymore, and it is our children who are paying the price. Its gone on long enough that we as the taxpayers of BC deserve to have FULL disclosure”.
    I just signed the petition “BC Liberals and BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF): Televise all BCTF and BC Government mediation talks”


    • I certainly agree with televising the negotiations. I think we would be shocked to see how the BCTF behave at the table. IF their comments on social media are any example, I think we would be more than shocked.

      • totally agree. I think we would all be shocked by their arrogance and entitlement. Well not everyone. Some people seem to think you can borrow money to pay someone else and call it even.

    • Dan, I disagree with stepping aside. I agree with Fassbender as Education Minister and I agree with the government support of the employer proposal. CKNW put up the proposal by the employer the other day. After reading through all of it, I have to agree with the employer and the government’s position. As far as Iker is concerned, well, the BCTF voted him in, let them live with it.

  9. In reality the savings from the strike and lock-out will pay for the small increase in wages, benefits and any change to the class sizes and composition for the teachers. The strikes and/or lock-outs in the past (and these are all well documented) have paid for these benefits and will this time around.

    So I say to all the people of BC don’t worry your taxes will not increase due to the BCTF, they never have and never will.

    On the other hand, who pays for the nice wages, pensions and bonuses our politicians, the management team of transLink, or ICBC, or BC hydro all get?


  10. Question?
    Do other public sector unions have to go on strike to pay for their improved working conditions and meager wage increases like the BCTF?

    The police & firemen & border patrol sure don’t, what about healthcare workers and other government employees?

    Nope, the teachers have to go on strike to pay for any meager wage, benefits or working condition improvements.

        • Lets get this clear. The NDP signed a contract that no one could have upheld because they knew they were done. They gave a hot turd for the liberals to inherit.

          Two court cases won by the BCTF? It’s one they won, and the appeal was by the same judge for the second. Last time I check the government has the right to appeal.

          • Sure the government can appeal all they want since they have an unlimited cash flow (who is paying for all these legal bills anyhow?) But in the end they will lose this decision in the Supreme Court a third time.

            Everyone has the right to negotiate working conditions including teachers!

          • Actually the two cases that Justice Griffin ruled on were separate. There was no appeal of the first ruling. The second ruling is being appealed. The government’s ‘solution’ to the first court ruling did not meet the parameters set out by the judge and were done after her deadline – thus the second supreme court defeat. Not a smart move by the gov’t. The appeal, by the way, is to determine if the judge made an ‘error in law’. That will be difficult to prove.

          • Are you publicly suggesting the Court was biased, and that agreement negotiated by a previous government can be set aside because it does not meet with priorities of the incoming government?

            Yes, a party has the right to appeal, but where an appeal is short of frivolous it is unlikely to succeed.

  11. Let me guess Christy Clark and Fassbender at 12:30 today are going to tell the people of BC:

    1. We are not raising taxes to pay for education. (but we will increase gas tax, ICBC premiums, toll all the bridges and tunnels and nickel & dime you to death)

    2. Education in BC is fine, in fact it is ranked among the best in Canada. (So teachers don’t really deserve any substantial improvements on working conditions, or wages)

    3. We want to reach a fair and negotiated agreement with the teachers. We will not legislate the teachers back to work because we want to “BREAK THE CYCLE” (is really code for “WE WANT OUR ILLEGAL ACTIONS FROM 12 YEARS AGO TO ALL GO AWAY IF THE BCTF SIGNS THIS NEW NEGOTIATED CONTRACT.)

    4. All other public sector workers have settled for half of what the BCTF wants (because class size and composition are included as benefits to teachers, and did those other public sector workers have their contracts illegally stripped).

    and the final knife in the back will be…

    5. “BC children and families come first”

  12. Iker has shown complete irresponsibility. So now the other contracts that have been negotiated have a me too clause . Like Duhh .So the cost would be several billions . Very angry negotiators that have bargained in good faith in other provincial union contracts. Just a rogue union . Cannot understands economics .
    Then wage bargaining range is clear. Get back to the bargaining table or as some teachers want to go back to work . No to the crazy demands of the BCTF. Iker should resign forthwith

  13. Bob – Just to give you a very real example of how corporate tax rates impact the economy. Tim Horton’s was just acquired by the holding company that owns Burger King. As part of the acquisition of TH, the BK is relocating the International HQ to Canada because of the lower corporate rate in Ontario. This mean’s that tax revenue that would have been lost if BK had retained the HQ in the USA is now being paid into Ontario / Canada. industry has no loyalty when it comes to money and dividend performance to shareholders. Companies such as BK & TH are always looking for favorable economic climate. It is difficult to estimate the impact BC of lowering the current rate, but, it is a safe assumption to say that this low rate has maintained business to call BC home & HQ. This means tax revenue to pay teachers and other public sector unions. The NDP and most union leadership fail to understand the link. This is 2014 & not 1972 as the NDP tax policy seems to originate.

    • Don’t bother Andrew. BCTF and NDP Supporters don’t get economics. As soon as you say Corporate, they scowl and think EVIL. Just look at the BCTF’s track record on protesting every industrial initiative. I’m not even sure why a teacher’s union cares about a pipeline project.

  14. There is a line from an old programme that I think can be used here. These people are teaching our children, Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.
    The BCTF should be gone immediately.

  15. ….and a wage roll back can pay for BCTF demands. Chew on this….. BC has the best educational system in North America, and I say we cant afford it and would be happy to be in the top 10.

    Fire every teacher today and hold a job fair tomorrow.

  16. And reductions could help a settlement. So can settling for next to nothing. Selling your house to free up cash also helps. The options are endless, and this isn’t a smart comment to make. Simply put, Mr. Iker ought to state that he is just tired of seeing teachers getting screwed and it’s time to fix this and be able to work together in unison.

  17. Where are they getting screwed? Certainly not in their wages and benefits. If that is getting screwed just think how bad the hookers are feeling now that in comparison they are giving it away