UPDATED: Premier wants BCTF to suspend strike, return to bargaining table

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UPDATED: Premier wants BCTF to suspend strike, return to bargaining table

Premier Christy Clark is telling public school teachers to suspend their strike and get back to the bargaining table.

For the first time in a long time in the dispute, Clark has spoken out, and says she is unhappy with the way things are going.

“I want to today strongly urge the union leadership to bargain, to bargain seriously, to bargain with the hope that we can get to a negotiated solution to this that will be fair to their members, fair to taxpayers, and will be fair to the other 150,000 public sector workers who have already settled.”

She says teachers deserve a raise, but union needs to be fair, and not ask for a contract worth twice as much as what other public sector unions have received.

When asked if the province would suspend its demand to set aside the court rulings on class size and composition, Clark had this to say: “But what parents want to know is that their kids can get back into the classroom as soon as possible and that we can start spending something like $375 million on improving classroom composition. That is where I want to be.”

When pressed Clark said she is not at the negotiating table and would not engage in bargaining with reporters.

Union says teachers are standing firm

BCTF President Jim Iker says the government is actually trying to prolong the strike, adding teachers refuse to back down.

“Despite losing in BC Supreme court, twice, the government is trying to undo the implications of those rulings. The BC Liberal government is fighting to keep money out of the education system.”

He says the system has been underfunded for 12 years, and the government needs to re-think its priorities.

NDP leader John Horgan says Clark is fanning the flames instead of calming the waters.

“I called the Premier out in an open letter just yesterday hoping she would bring a more consensual and respectful approach to the debate.  I’m regretting now that I asked her to step forward because she brought the same immaturity that we’ve been seeing from the BC Liberals for the past 12 months.”

Horgan says the government should settle the issue of class size and composition before dealing with wages and benefits.

Teachers call it ‘a lot of fluff’

Picketing teachers at Vancouver Technical School characterized the Premier’s comments about signing bonuses and “unlimited massages” as a red herring.

“A lot of what Christy said I think is a lot of fluff.”

“Distraction in the sense it’s not addressing the real issues.”

“It was done in such a way to sound like she was informed, for her to say that her biggest concern is class size and composition is misleading.”

Apparently, the Premier did not seem to have all the facts at her fingertips.

Here’s the line that ignited a firestorm on Twitter and prompted the leader of the NDP to call Christy Clark “immature:” “We’re still talking about an extra day off for high school teachers, we’re talking about unlimited massage, $150,000 in signing bonus.”

But in fact, the union never demanded unlimited massage, and their proposal for up to $3,000 in massage therapy for injured workers, has been dropped.

Puzzled government officials say they have yet to see that in writing.

Also, the union says it never asked for another day off, just more prep time for high school teachers.

And one more correction for the Premier: The union’s demand for a $5,000 signing bonus would add up to $150 million, not $150,000.


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  1. I have been watching live reporting from the premier’s announcement …. so far, nothing new … just more blah, blah, blah … nothing changed … she REALLY NEEDS TO FIND THE DOOR AND LEAVE and let someone else take over with a fresh outlook. She made a comment about there being emotion involved … YES … her issues … she does have baggage, perhaps she should check that at the door! Enough already … get real Christy Clark … we are all sick of listening to you spout the same thing! And NO I am not a teacher or a BCTF’er, just had parent who had two children in the system (this past June and two years ago) who were trying to graduate and their grad year was impacted by this BS!

      • She should give in and bargain fairly, she needs to get ready for Recall Ron. Do you really think the people of BC that the majority of eligible voters that could have voted in the last election are now listening? What will be the next hurdle with this Government that does not have a mandate to disrupt the school year! The Government is not negotiating in good faith it really is trying to further her private school agenda and as always bust the unions, so let’s put this to referenda or face recalls across the board once and for all, enough already, The election has begun!

          • I couldn’t agree more. Why should teachers get twice the amount of others? I’m just sick and tired of the whole thing. I’ve seen better behavior on a playground

          • Great, more people who do not understand the rule of law. THEY WERE FOUND GUILTY – TWICE! That is what we are after. Not the moon, just for the government to do what the courts have told them to do on two occasions. If asking for what the courts have ruled is too much, we have nothing further to talk about.

          • They are not asking for twice as much as the other public sector unions. That is another misrepresentation from the premier. The two sides are 1% apart on wages – that would hardly amount to twice as much.

          • Where do you get twice the amount of other unions?

            The BCTF wages demands are in line with all other unions. Teachers have suffered a 10% wage deduction, they were locked out the last week of school, have been on strike an lost wages. What other union has gone through the same?

          • I agree that the government’s offer is more than adequate. It is so unfair to keep the kids out of school and the BCTF should cut their massage therapy and other benefits they are asking for, get rid of the $5000 signing bonus and lets think of the kids and get back to school! I’m an EA and I like my job. I have a great job and want to get back to it!

          • Do you see that, I do not think so with LNG pipedreams selling of the work to Chinese workers and a whole lot of other things that will make it very ripe for recall come Nov 17th.you think that BC workers are up to more campaign broken promises, where are the JOBS and who’s going to pay off this Hugh debt we have gotten since she was in power, you and your buddies that elected her?

        • Ken: Can I assist you by helping you with your comments; I really want to help you.
          Clark/the government should bargain in good faith. Translation – the government should give in to union demands.
          Clark/the government should bargain fairly. Translation – the government should forgo their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer and give in to union demands.
          Clark/the government don’t have a mandate to disrupt the school. Translation – it’s OK for the union to go on strike and disrupt the school year and the government should give in to union demands.
          Clark/government has a private school agenda and is trying to bust the union. Translation – the task of educating the little kiddies should really only be performed by highly skilled, public-sector, unionized teachers and the government should give in to union demands.
          The election has begun. Translation – we weren’t accepted by the voters last election so we want a do-over with the same old message wrapped in a new and improved (gag me with a spoon) wrapper.
          How about that LNG project? Translation – look over there a distraction!
          Ken you should try getting work as a spin doctor; the way you manipulate the message is pretty good and as with most spin doctors facts or truth can be left behind at the door (notice how I got a “left” reference in there just for you?)

          • So Mr. Skulker. Maybe you can explain why BC is second lowest in education funding (only PEI is lower) per child in the Province? Where is all the rest of the money going to? I love how people like you love to say the government should not forego the responsibility to the taxpayer.

            What exactly is the responsibility of this government? To decimate the education and healthcare of this province to pay for more high profile capital works projects to get them re-elected or do you not think long term goals like improving funding for class sizes and composition issues (which benefit the students, not the teachers directly!) that will improve the state of education in the long term for our society? Is having a better educated population not a priority for you?

            It’s a proven fact that more and more kids are graduating in a worse state with regards to education than a decade ago. Do we want to worsen that by continuing to cut more and more from education budgets? Talk to some special education assistants in the public system. See what they say. I did and it really opened my eyes. I’m not a teacher but I am a concerned parent and I am really worried about what is happening to our education system and the implications for our kids.

            I am also worried about people that don’t do any research of their own and just blindly accept the propaganda of this government. Do your own unbiased research people!!

            Remember, this strike is not still dragging on because of the wages and benefits issue. It is the class size and composition that the teachers are fighting for. I support them in that fight and you should too, if having a well educated society matters to you at all for the future.

            There is money available. The government just chooses to spend it on other things than education or healthcare.

          • you are the BC Liberals spinner, if you are doing this on your own you should be ashamed at the dismal mess we are in. BC will never dig out of the hole you are your BC Liberals have dug for us. The secrecy and the assaults on our democracy is an outrage. Transparency was a promise from this Government and that is a joke! you can not respect anyone with a different slant that you right wingers have in this province, I have news for you the NDP is not going away they hold 34 seats only 10 more will tip the balance would you not say, I side with the teachers since their contract was ripped up and the BCSC ruled in their favor and the games that the government is paly now for you is ok, but when the BCTF try to negotiate asking for something the art is to come back with a counter offer .BCTF and government are only 1% apart on the wage issue – the problem is E.80 and the government’s unwillingness to admit that they lost the court battle regarding class size and composition – twice. You and your right wingers want this in because when the time comes to pay you will want the NDP supporters to help you!

          • Attilla the teacher… “government chooses to spend money on other things than healthcare and education”. Perhaps you need to do a little research. Of the $34b budget, $16.4b (48%) goes to Health and $5.4 (16%) goes to Education. That is 62% – about $2 out of every $3.

            Curb your rhetoric!

          • Ken280… glad you brought up the NDP because they have been absolutely invisible on this issue. Where are they? Where is Horigan – a man who never backs away from a microphone to show us how smart he is? What is their solution?

            Same old same old from the No Definitive Plans party, forever to languish in opposition as they cannot convince anyone other than the converted that they have any worthwhile ideas.

  2. I listened to her entire “speech”. I am sure her lips were moving. I heard words coming from her mouth but in a typical Christy Clark style she said absolutely nothing.

    She did say “well here’s the thing” about ten times but other than that it was pathetic insincere drivel.

    This is what Christy Clark does best – absolutely nothing!

      • Ron_26 you really need to get your head out of Christy’s back side. Oh.. that may be difficult for you to do as you and Christy are one in the same!

        No wonder she (you) are NOT leading this province, you are wasting your time on this forum!

        Answer questions? Really Ron, did you listen to that interview? She tripped over everyone in the room, and her own tongue at the same time.

      • She’s clueless , one example is the massage therapy demand was removed a week and a half ago and she didn’t know this ?
        She proved once again she way over her head in this job.

  3. She’s now saying CS&C is priority Number 1 for her government, yet her government has in been court now for how many years and at what taxpayer expense, God only knows, attempting unsuccessfully so far, to remove language around class size and composition from school funding? “The Americans are no where near Baghdad”, disinformation. Also I think the word she was looking for was solvable, as in problem, not soluble as in solution. Which is an interesting Freudian slip as she might actually believe she’s living under water.

    • Sorry, Mike but she only mentioned “class composition”, not class size. This has been a consistent position from this government from the beginning. They are willing to discuss and fix class composition (hence the extra dollars for that), but not class size. The BCTF treats it as if the two are indivisible; which of course is nonsense.

      • These are not extra dollars. They are dollars that already exist in the funding in the Learning Improvement Fund. The spin may have changed…it is being reported as $375 million – but that is EXACTLY what the system has now…$75 million a year (x 6 years = $375 million).
        Class composition and size are connected – class size limit used to decrease for a particular class if there were exceptional needs. Now teachers are expected to teach unlimited number of students with unlimited special needs as long as the composition is seen as “educationally sound” – and that is determined by school boards.

  4. Lied about massages…they were pulled when Ready involved. $375 million is only 75 million LIF funding per year for term of contract. No new money. Pull E80…have class size and composition language it doesn’t prejudice court cases. Today was all about angering teachers so they stay out longer.

  5. Start telling the truth Christie! We teachers are ready to bargain but you need to take E80 off the table. Also, we are not asking for a $5000.00 bonus. It is compensation for the amount we would have received if our contract had been negotiated last year. You need to stop breaking the law and spending your money onPR firms to come up with catchy and untrue sound bites. We’re still waiting at the table

    • If it is not all about the money and its about the children, why don’t you go back to school and teach? The fact that teachers are not back in school shows how greedy teachers they are.

      And how about teachers propaganda, using kids as pawns.

      • We can’t go back to school. The Liberals (for whom education is an essential service) have locked us out 100%. Not welcome. Don’t come to school. If you want us to return to work tell the government to lift the lockout and deal with class size and composition just like they were told to by the courts. That is something people seem to forget. We did not come up with these ideas out of the recesses of our minds. The courts said that it should be so. It is the rule of law, again, for which the Liberals seem so attached to.

      • If you really followed this dispute and payed attention you would know they haven’t even negotiated wages and signing bonus.
        The BCTV knows they would never get $5000 .
        When you negotiate to buy a car do you start with your highest offer ?
        Maybe you do.

        • So you’re suggesting that these negotiations are like buying a car? Wow, in that case I’d just hold firm on my offer and say hey here is my offer – you don’t want it I’ll walk. Of course public sector unions can’t do that right? Teachers don’t just “walk” to work in private schools because the wages and benefits aren’t even close to comparable. The idea of the “market” seems to be lost on the BCTF – you think you can do better elsewhere, go ahead.

          Of course, using your car analogy you would Demand an inflated price and also refuse the purchaser the right to leave and buy another car.

        • Cheap? Really? Putting the “demands” on the table almost a year after the contract expired was by far the most incompetent thing the BCTF had done to that point. Had they taken your livelihood seriously and participated in real negotiating long before that, you could have been much better off now. No lost wages, no pointless strike, no lost respect. Not so cheap eh?

    • This is why kids are not in school.

      YOu say ” We teachers are ready to bargain but you need to take E80 off the table” Correct me if I’m wrong here, but you are putting conditions on returning to the bargaining table……that is not being “ready to bargain”.

      …and ” we are not asking for a $5000.00 bonus. It is compensation for the amount we would have received if our contract had been negotiated last year”

      Clearly the offer by the BCTF offer tabled June 17, 2014. Section 2.0 Salary, states- $5000.00 signing bonus. No mention of compensation for previous years. The way I read it…when it says “signing bonus” in interpret that to mean…signing bonus.

      bcpsea.bc.ca/documents/teacher%20bargaining/Proposals/U79%20BCTF%20Comprehensive%20Position.pdf …

      You teachers need to wake up and smell the propane and stop standing up for our children. If BC students perform among the best in North America with current funding, class size and composition…..why more funding? why reduce class size? why adjust class composition? why massage funding? why more days off?why salary increase above all other public sectors? why more funding for professional development? In other words nothing is broken…so why $$$$$$$$?

      BCTF represents the TEACHERS, The “C” in the acronym is for Columbia…..not CHILDREN. Let me make it more clear for you. The BCTF represents the TEACHERS….better?

  6. The premier said that the most important issue in this dispute for her personally is class size and class composition. A far cry from 2002…as Education Minister. Anyone who possesses middle-school competence in English will interpret her words to mean that salaries and benefit issues are secondary to CS and CC.

    Since it is clear that government will let hell freeze over before caving into meeting current teacher salary and benefit demands, why not immediately focus on CS and CC if that, indeed, is the premier’s most important issue. The government has clearly stated that it will not move on salaries and benefits. So those issues are no longer on the table (Full Stop).

    Having said that, the BCTF is very unlikely to agree to any CS and CC language and terms which would jeopardize its position in the pending appeal. The BCTF cannot be blamed for not accepting anything less than what was awarded by Justice Griffin. To do otherwise, could well render her decision and ruling moot. And there is no assurance that government will move at all on CS and CC . It may simply sit back as it has on salaries and benefits.

    So the premier has offered nothing of substance to reslolve the dispute. But she has a fantastic smile.

    I rate her press conference performance at 3/10 for style.

    • I will correct you as well insite (as I did for Mike). The premier only mentioned “class composition”. She did not mention class size. The TF are the ones who keep putting the two together as if they are indivisible.

      • If Clark only mentioned CS, that only speaks to her dishonesty. Everyone else, including Vince Ready, mentions that CS and CC are major unresolved issues. And for her to come in and not mention a peep about CC is consistent with her inclination to deal in half-truths and half-facts to always leave herself an escape route. I was negligent in not recognizing that. Now she has 2 up her sleeve, including E-80 which is designed to render inconsequential the inevitable appeal losses facing her government.

        Thanks for reinforcing the perception that Clark is not to be trusted. That said, your correction hardly diminshes my opinions.

    • Well stated. Clark has been a major disappointment in addressing the CS and CC. This is the crux of the problem. Clark and co. show a disregard for addressing the needs of kids in a classroom setting. Yes it’s going to cost money, but this is only because of the lack of resource funding for teachers and kids over the past several years. What a poor display of honourable leadership. Now the kids are dealing with days of classroom learning. Way to be a role model Clark!

    • Did you know that they include my prep time as a benefit? That they include my current class size a benefit? They are not talking about medical and dental or anything else related to what the rest of the world refers to as “benefits” in a contract. They include an EA that comes into my room to help a child who has problems with behaviour a benefit. The reason we look so “greedy” is because the Liberals are lying through their teeth. Oh, no surprise there.

    • You are hearing only what you want to hear….Christy never said, “the most important issue in this dispute for her personally is class size and class composition”.
      She said, “”the most important issue in this dispute for her personally is class composition.” ….she never mentioned “size”. However this issue remains before the courts….IT DOES NOT MATTER IS THERE IS A PRIOR RULING. The government feels they are correct and have the right to appeal…..just like you.

      So….you have the BCTF will a completely ridiculous and out of line salary and benefits proposal…..which they claimed they have scaled back. Yeah right they were asking for the stars and now they only want the moon, AND want the government to come to the table with more money.

      ….and you say “So the premier has offered nothing of substance to resolve the dispute. But she has a fantastic smile”. Now you are only seeing what you want to see……!!! Shall I continue?

  7. Why now ms clark all the negativity . You could have no i mean you should have along time ago. this should have never got to the point it has . obviously it just proofs that you really dont care about public education the parents our the taxpayer of this province. but i guess as long as your child i going to private school why would you!!

  8. It’s a no win situation…there is only so much she can say. So there will be critics if she doesn’t appear publicly, and when she does, they won’t like the message. The BCTF is holding their breath until they turn blue and expecting the gov’t to cave in. The most important thing that Christy is doing right now is protecting the taxpayers. I believe that most teachers care a great deal about the children, the BCTF not so much. They have to justify their existence and their salaries (which are surely higher than teachers salaries) with results, and that will become increasingly difficult as the teachers missed paydays add up. I am glad she is standing firm, as that is why many taxpayers voted for her. The best way for teachers to help students is to get back in the classroom and teach them.

      • …..and the LAW says you have the RIGHT to appeal. So what are you trying to say? The government is disrespectful because they choose they disagree with the lower court ruling and are now exercising their right to appeal??? Is there another way you can put it?

        • They did not appeal the first time – they simply ignored. The appeal is to the second court case. Who, in a democracy, has the right to ignore the courts without consequences?

        • That wasn’t a lower court, by the way. It was the Supreme Court of BC. If the gov’t loses the appeal then can then go to the Supreme Court of Canada. But the SCC could possibly refuse to hear it since they already ruled in 2007 on BC’s contract stripping of the health care workers contract – awarding the union members $11 K each in settlement costs. Is this a wise expense of taxes?

    • The amount of people saying “right on” and agreeing with this is really disheartening. If people actually took the time to educate themselves about the real issues they would feel differently.

      Class size and composition issues are what is really holding up the negotiations. So the govt should continue to stand firm on that issue eh? Why don’t you look into what that has done for our education system in the last ten years and the education level of the average student coming out of it. The media has been talking for years about the diminishing writing and mathematics skills of kids graduating now as compared to a decade or more ago. But then it is always easier to blame the teachers for that isn’t it?

      I’ve had enough of this govt focusing on high profile capital projects to get themselves re-elected instead of long term things that benefit our society like healthcare and education. Frankly I’m sick of it.

      As a concerned parent (and not a teacher) I took the time to really look into these issue for myself. What I found out is that the teachers have been fighting an uphill battle for too long with a government that has placed education as a reduced priority.

      This govt has integrated classrooms with special needs kids into the regular classroom with reduced support for those kids as time has dragged on. Learning resource teachers have to make decisions daily as to which children they can help and which are being left to the regular teachers to deal with. Guess what happens with little Johnny or Mary when these special needs kids are needing more time in class? It’s no wonder the average student is graduating with less skills than ever before.

      Pay now or pay later after much more expensive societal issues with the lack of support in schools. We can’t afford to be cheap with education, we really can’t.

  9. The BCTF not so much when will you right winged people get it right! The BCTF are the Teachers with 86% approval for the strike, wait until the smoke settles and the BCTF take the Government to court for bargaining in Bad Faith. Then using Taxpayer’s dollar for a website telling untruth about the BCTF position. Recall coming soon! Nov 17th 2014.

      • Exactly right John. I have heard that recall thing bandied about trying to drum up support for that. I am sick and tired of the BCTF doing everything they can to wiggle around , paint the government as a bunch of bad guys because they won’t cave to their demands, and spend a lot of time and money with propaganda in the media , demonstrations. If they stuck to their knitting and did their jobs their coffers would not be empty and the teachers would not be suffering without pay. I wonder just how many of the teachers actually voted for a strike. 86% of ‘those who voted’ could mean anything at all. With all the call ins from teachers indicating they are suffering , I wonder why they are not insisting Iker break away from the microphone long enough to sit down and sign a contract.

        • Over 80% of BCTF members voted in the strike vote.
          Iker was voted in to represent the members. There are avenues for members to indicate their wishes for how the union proceeds through job action and strikes. The union is a democracy.

      • I and a majority who’s majority more the 50% did not show up! How is that a majority of the people in BC! Now with all the crap that is flying around with the LNG and hiring Chinese workers for this will be the straw that broke the camels back! Recall Nov 17th it can start! What about the RCMP investigations into the Ethnic Outreach and using taxpayers dollars will that be a white wash, pardon the pun!

      • A majority of British Columbians did NOT vote Liberal. 44.14% voted Liberal – which means 55.86% did NOT vote Liberal. Liberals won a majority of the seats, that is all.

      • No, they are serious this time. Also there is much talk about a general strike. A general strike will really show Christy and her LIE BERALS!

        Hey, remember the BCTF is doing this for the kids, especially those with special needs and developmental challenges. By being on strike and keeping these same kids in need out of school, the BCTF is really helping them out!

          • Yes actually. This strike IS currently going on to benefit the kids. What part of that do you not understand? Classroom size and composition is the sticking point right now. The wage and benefits issues are not what is holding back a settlement, which you would know if you did any serious research on the matter. Oh, and I wouldn’t laught about it. The future of our kids’ education is at stake here.

            I fully support the teachers and what they are striking for right now. It will mean a better future for those of us with kids.

          • Words are cheap Attila. It’s more than obvious from the actions of the BCTF how important education is. These same kids lost the last 2 weeks of class last year – the best 2 weeks of the year and for higher grades, the most important 2 weeks of they year. Fortunately the Ministry of Education committed to providing most of the needed exams and ensured they received reports from the information they had. And now, these same treasured kids are doing anything but receiving class time and reuniting with peers. 2 years of kids lives have been changed and that can’t be fixed. It’s clear these kids are nothing more than ransom for the BCTF.
            I’m so glad an incompetent gang like the BCTF isn’t attempting to benefit me.

    • @Ken280. Just like the way you so brilliantly draw in the usual suspects who cannot resist your recall threats. Not only are you generating responses that are mildly entertaining, but you are also protecting us from a lot of nonsense which otherwise might be posted.

      The above does not constitute a personal attack on anyone as you can agree. I’m looking at the bright side…

      Keep up the good work.

  10. Do not just talk. Do something. Christy Clark, you need to find a creative solution ASAP to this teachers’ labour dispute. Half a million children are unable to go to school and over half a million families are negatively impacted. That does not contribute to the stability of our society in BC. As a premier, you can not say that you would leave it to the bargaining teams. Obviously they can not do it and that is why we need you to get in there and solve the problem. That is why people in BC elect you to do. It is a crisis in BC now and there is no excuse for you to shift the problem to the others. Take a leadership role and lead the people in BC out of this mess.

    • Or…Mr Iker. Do something creative. You can’t expect to get twice as much as other unions and expect the government to raise everyone’s taxes to do so. Realize that by giving you twice as much, there is a me2 clause that means every other union can expect the same increase. Understand that the public watches your militant union try and shut down every major industrial project in BC and some even outside of BC even though your union is only supposed to be focussing on education.

      • They aren’t expecting to get twice as much as other unions!! The sticking point here is not the wages and benefits people, please get it straight!

        The money arguments are tied up in the classroom size and composition issues and specifically with dealing with the shortage of assistance for students with learning disabilities and special needs that is negatively impacting learning for all students!!

        This government would rather keep BC as the second lowest funded province in Canada (second only to PEI) for per student funding and spend more money on capital projects for short term gains that get them re-elected. Why can’t people see that??

        As a parent and not a teacher I completely agree with what the teachers are doing and say more power to them!! Since the government clearly doesn’t care about the state of our education system I would much rather support those that do and are willing to sacrifice to make a change.

        This Liberal government has never been shy about giving themselves double digit raises when they wanted to. Why is there no public outcry about that? Yet when the teachers ask for an increase that barely covers a cost of living increase after years of 0 increases they are being called greedy??

      • Yes, Respect the twice delivered BC Supreme Courts decision on classroom size and composition issues and quit wasting tax payers dollars on appeals!

        Get serious about fixing the classroom size and composition issues instead of trying to save money for high profile capital projects to get them re-elected.

        That would be a start.

        • Ming was suggesting a “creative solution”, not the same old tired BCTF rhetoric.
          The government is absolutely right to appeal and I don’t see it as a waste at all. What is being wasted is ONE militant union stealing almost 2 years of this process of contract negotiations to accomplish nothing. It’s obscene! Once again, class size and comp need to be fixed (and this government agrees) – by EVERYONE EXCEPT a completely self-serving trade union!

      • Future Class composition – solution – develop policy which direct administrators in collaboration with teachers to develop class composition based upon assessed needs of students. Provide adequate funding to school districts based upon class composition. Note: the devil is in the details, but remove this from the bargaining table on the basis that the parties – with input from parents, teachers, and administrators, who will make recommendations to the government. Publish the recommendations and the policy developed together with a funding formula.

        Wages and benefits – solutions – increase ages according to other unions, but make such increase retroactive. Remove the signing bonus.

        Court Case – solution – allow the Court of Appeal issue to proceed. Attempt to resolve that proceeding outside this negotiation, however, clearly indicate in the collective agreement, that the existing policy above governs only future class composition. If the issue cannot be settled, pass legislation using the Notwithstanding clause and impose a settlement (sorry teachers but BC cannot afford this case).

        One of the problems is that teachers are entrenched in the past. Elected Governments have mandates – that has to be respected. I know that the Government intends to change the course of education into the future in line with technology and new knowledge. A frank discussion with the teaching profession will (not the union) with a view to providing direction for future education, I suspect will bear collaborative fruit.

        Antagonism is alien to most teachers – they are generally sincere about their motives; they work with the kids and parents and have personal relationships with them. They want to be treated with respect -characterizing them as “greedy”, serves no purpose. I respect Premier Clark for indicating as much in her speech!

        • Ah, a breath of honest thinking. I’m not sure about the retroactive bit yet but I think you’re on to something here. Nicely done. Anyone else still reading this string? Thoughts?

  11. I listened to Christy. She says the teachers want massages, bonuses and days off. Do they? Some people online say no. I don’t know what the truth is. As a parent and a taxpayer I am frustrated. Listen to an interview with another frustrated mom,
    Tera Pemberton (mom in Kelowna) Petition Organizer
    “We’ve surpassed 1,500 signatures!
    Have a listen to my interview this morning with AM 1150′s Phil Johnson.
    Be gentle…I’m ‘just a mom’. LOL No script here – just looking for answers :)

    • Hey Theressa

      The massage benefit was dropped over a week ago by the BCTF. Either Ms Clark has not been brought up to speed on the negotiations, which makes her appearance at a press conference on the strike/lockout pointless, or she is purposely trying to sway public opinion against teachers through misinformation, which is counterproductive. The bottom line is that our premier seems to have no interest in finding common ground at the bargaining table. Parents need to lobby their Liberal MLAs to bring this matter up at caucus.

      • In addition – it was NOT unlimited massages. It was $3000 over 5 years which is $600 a year with a doctor’s note. Current package has $500 a year – so for many RMTs, the $100 is less than 2 extra visits. If a member could get massage paid for that reduces pain so they can return to work sooner or avoid taking time off all together, there are significant savings in paying for a teacher-on-call.
        Also – this increase, or any increase to the medical/dental benefits, does not apply to ALL teachers. Some districts are part of a local benefit plan. Therefore, the total cost is less than if it was for the whole membership.
        But – it has been removed from BCTF proposals at any rate.

  12. It is the Premier (and her directives) who needs to bargain seriously. Her refusal to withdraw Clause E80 is the single cause of this stalled process. The Liberals have obstinately refused to move off that clause for 18 MONTHS. Or, as I call it, NO-gotiating.

    The Premier claims that she wants “the Courts” to decide but have refused to move off a clause that would cause the teachers to sign away their grievances and two BCSC wins.

    Her press conference was full of spins and mistruths and blame. Not exactly the type of atmosphere conducive to negotiation.

    • The two court wins were by the same judge, Susan Griffin. Do you think she would overrule herself? No way. So, don’t gloat yet, the 2nd court case may be over ruled by the panel of new judges.

      • 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.

  13. Simple solution:
    Government needs to honour the Supreme Court of BC’s decision and drop the appeal, and fix class size and class composition. And yah, that isn’t going to be cheap, but it will probably end up bringing the funding per student in this province up to the National Average.
    Teachers need to forget about trying to recoup the Cost Of Living Allowance that they were the only ones not granted a couple of years ago by Trixie (now trying to recoup via the $5,000 signing bonus)
    Both Government and BCTF need to split the difference on the term and percentage. As the government put a “Me Too Clause” into all other public sector contracts, the BCTF will have to settle for the same percent as everyone else. In return, Libs grant the BCTF a 5 year contract.
    All the other stuff is fluff. Firefighters, Police etc, etc, have better dental and health benefits than teachers, just ask any dentist or physiotherapist. The cost of fixing a couple of those benefits is minimal, despite how the Libs are spinning it.
    MESSAGE TO BCTF and LIBERALS : “Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right” – now fix it!

  14. I have got a Bridge for sale for any one who believes the BCTF is interested in reaching a Settlement!!! Careful observation and examination of the following actions of the BCTF, can only be construed to maybe serve the interests of its members in one way?

    The teachers’ union passed a motion against the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which would generate $1.2 billion for B.C. taxpayers over its first three decades in operation.

    The teachers’ union rejected the Prosperity Mine in the Chilcotin.

    The teachers’ union opposed the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal, months before any plan had been released

    The B.C. teachers’ union is fighting the Keystone XL pipeline, which would connect Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, never coming near B.C.

    The BCTF flag flew high at an anti-fracking rally in Vancouver last month – yes, the union opposed the fledgling liquefied natural gas industry too.

    The BCTF also joined Occupy Vancouver , protesting against the same wealth-generating corporations their teachers’ pensions are heavily invested in : TD Bank ($155.7m in pension investments), Scotia Bank ($124.3m), RBC ($166.7m), Bank of Montreal ($75.2m) and Bell Canada ($61.2m).

    The BCTF opposed the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. Yet, the BCTF fought it – with no thought given to the $140 million their pension has invested in Chinese state-controlled companies.

    The government is focusing on growing the B.C. economy, in order to generate more money from sources other than Joe and Jane Taxpayer. That could assist in enabling the Government to provide the teachers with their wages, class size, and composition. But obviously the BCTF doesn’t like that IDEA.

    The BCTF’s long-held desire to go back to year 2000 tax levels in order to fund raises for its teachers, would gut most families financially – B.C. budget documents show a two-income family of four, making $90,000 per year, would pay $6,234 a year in provincial income tax, nearly double what they pay today. And the BCTF are hoping to make sure that happens.

    Settlement my foot!!! The only sense that I can make out of this is that: This has to be a move to get rid of the present Government. The BCTF want them out of office! It’s about political power and ONLY about political power. And that is why the Government can not and should not give in to the BCTF’s demands. PERIOD.

    • I think you hit it on the nail, indeed the BCTF position is one that would force a government, to increase taxation; that is one of the principles of the Left wing loonie tunes. Sorry, I am taxed too much as it is.

    • Morris…news for you…you are paying more than 2000 tax level through. ..higher icbc, carbon tax, hyrdro, msp premiums and endless fees and charges. What Liberals giveth. ..they took back and more. Corporations that were supposed to create a thriving economy…just took tax cuts and gave nothing back

      • And what does that have to do with the BCTF’s involvement in all those things (using your hard earned dues) that are completely unrelated to protecting and supporting teachers? At least I have a choice in what services I pay for. Too bad teachers don’t.

  15. I hope the people bitching about the premier did not help vote her in. I for one certainly didn`t because I knew she was a Campbell clone. As for the signing bonus, I think that is totally fair, Iker needs to win that one because I am not sure how far they got into this that he announced they`ll run out of money and not deliver strike pay. Do the right thing and support your brothers and sisters and take out a second mortgage, park the car and cycle to picket duty. I so feel for the teachers………..the financial stress must be killing them.

    • So you think you need a bonus for signing a contract on time 4 months late? This is the way NDP supporters think. Money just grows in the bank. That’s my taxes from my ACTUAL work, some of which is non paid overtime, some of which is from things I had to buy for work that I can’t expense. Blah blah. You don’t want to hear my problems with work just as much as I don’t want to hear every whinny teach complain that there job is harder than mine. That there summer holidays is too short, that their pension isn’t good enough, that their retirement isn’t early enough. Wake up call. You all have it soooo good!

      And I for one don’t want one dime of my taxes being wasted on the BCTF for a stupid signing bonus no teacher deserves. Hold strong government.

  16. I can’t believe that our Premier stooped as low as to call out the Medical Massage multiple times. It is one thing if joe public does this because they don’t understand that these massages are only used by people with chronic pain and a doctors note, but when the Premier makes fun of these people fully knowing that the sole purpose of these Massages are for relieving chronic pain is just pathetic. I feel that our LEADER should retract her statement and say sorry for making a mockery of these poor people.

    • Hey, Trixie is a Flake, what else would you expect?
      Please, whatever you do, please do not ask her make another statement.
      I actually think things are better when she just Tweets from her yacht.
      Does anyone know if there is anyway that voters can get Mike de Jong to take over as Premier? Or do we have to wait another long 2.5 years? I am actually serious, does anyone know if BC Citizens can make some kind of a motion for that?
      Everyone in BC would be so much happier. Pro-Liberal fans would still have their party in place, but with an actual leader. And all other citizens may not be happy with all his policies, but at least they would have a respectable leader as the Premier of our province. Geez, I just got goosebumps, thinking of a new Premier.
      Yes the Liberals won the election, but she sure didn’t !

  17. BCTF President Jim Iker and his “Mullet” haircut really enhance the image of the leader of the teachers.

    Kind of gives this entire process the flavour that instead of being in B.C. it is in the state of Arkansas.

  18. Nothing but blah, blah, blah from both sides, which are entrenched in their positions. The don’t really care. We have three school-aged children affected by this. We’ve decided to start homeschooling them. Both sides can stay out for the whole year for all we care. As long as you send us our $120 / day that’s fine by us. LOL. Our children are being taught the BC curriculum at home and we’ve arranged for educational field trips with other like-minded parents. If the two sides can’t get together to work out a deal we’ll just keep teaching them at home. Luckily my spouse has a home-based business so we can manage just fine. Don’t forget to send me our cheque Christy!

  19. These poor people. Give your head a shake, or are you one of those poor stressed out teachers. Full dental, bereavement days for friends, more sick days than any other group in this province, better extended benefits, fertility treatment if the poor souls can’t have a baby the easy way, full dental including braces, I could go on and on but don’t want to hurt their feelings. They have a sense of entitlement and want more and more of your tax dollars but god forbid should they have to pay a tax. Maybe iker could ask for tax exemptions for all bctf members too. He seems to think they deserve it more than any one else in this province

    • Give your head a shake! The teachers all pay for these so called “benefits” they are not free and their pension, its called “premiums” you should Google it.

    • Full dental? No – its and 80%, 50%, 50% plan jointly paid by the teachers and employers. Bereavement days? I had a close friend die of cancer last Spring and took a half day paid leave. That shows compassion. How many people do you think would actually use fertility treatments out of 41,000 teachers? The braces coverage under the plan is 50% and covers to a ceiling which few dentists honour.

  20. First of all kudos to the reporters at the news conference for asking good questions. Now how did that feel? Keep asking questions. Now, only if she’d actually answer directly. She was repeating the same thing over and over regardless of what the question was. There were many untruths in what she said. Lying to tax paying British Columbians should be grounds for removing her, no? The facts in this case speak for themselves. Everyone needs to keep asking questions. Even you paid “digital influencers” can’t be against asking questions, can you?

  21. The BCTF believe that money grows on trees. They appear to have no understanding that government has to spend within it’s means. They are the custodians of our money and should end this greed!

  22. On a general note, the poverty plea does not wash. The BCUC has been authorized to approve the requested rate increase in basic ICBC insurance coverage. The increases will be siphoned off into general revenue and can fund the settlement of this dispute and still balance the budget.

  23. EAs are part of CUPE.

    Also, the government is attempting to have EAs salaries as part of the benefits package. That would mean nurses are part of a doctor’s benefits, dental assistants for dentists, political aids for politicians, etc.

    • Again the Liberals spin it any way they can to make the other party look bad. That’s what Christy Clark is best at isn’t she? I can still remember all the attack ads during the last election, she is a beauty!

  24. Guess what everyone? The teachers DID teach and negotiate — for TWO YEARS!

    Soon after the new contract was imposed / ratified in June 2012, the teachers and BCPSEA began the process of negotiating towards the expiry of that contract for June 2014. The BCTF and BCPSEA began bargaining in early 2013 and had made significant progress, signing off on many terms.

    However, in May, 2013 Christy Clark won reelection. She immediately dismissed the BCPSEA Board and all of the terms and progress that had been agreed upon. She replaced all this progress with Peter Cameron, installed clauses E80 / E81 and instruted him to NO-gotiate. From May 2013 through May 2014 he has obstinately refused to move off clause E80.

    Teachers taught that entire time. I repeat, teachers taught that entire time.

    But now, after she has provoked a strike, Clark and Fassbender want the teachers to suspend their strike and trust them? Would you?

    • What is the alternative? Assume that Clark IS dead set on her vendetta and has some evil plan to make life miserable for all teachers in this province. What can the 2 teacher family do in these circumstances? Strike until January? That will really show Clark. The longer this strike goes the more the teachers hurt and the government saves money that the teachers will not get back. I’m not saying it’s fair, I’m saying I don’t know what other alternative the teachers have. The best choice out of many possible choices is to return to work and wait for the appeal.

  25. I’m surprised Iker still is referring to that court settlement where Powerex, a BC Hydro subsidiary settled in court to pay 750M to California who was originally suing them for 3.0B as if that settlement has something to do with the BCTF. Would the BCTF stop trying to maintain their gravy train status quo, take the same raise and benefits as everybody else and be done with it? And please stop it with the massage therapy and 200M in signing bonuses.

  26. It was pure spin when Iker said that the $3,000 massage benefits were only for those with “chronic conditions”, and it was a pathetic attempt to score points.

    The BCTF’s Extended Health bargaining position back in June has 2 line items for Massage Therapy – $600-700/year (without a doctor’s note), and the $3,000 for RMT/Physio “if prescribed by a doctor”. Anyone who has used RMT benefits knows that waltzing into a walk-in clinic & getting a note within 2 minutes = “prescribed by a doctor”. You can then head over to the spa & get your RMT massage – would you like a glass of white or red wine with that??

    RMT claims are on the rise, simply because of the entitlement factor that is attributed to them. However, as taxpayers this is not a line item that we should worry about. The big ticket in the BCTF’s benefit proposal is the request for “no drug formulary”. No formulary = we as taxpayers will be paying for brand-name drugs for teachers, no matter their cost & whether or not there is a generic version that is just as effective. Generics are 50-80% less than brand-name prescriptions – and prescription drug costs account for 60-70% of all Extended Health claims. Doctors & specialists commonly prescribe based on a patient’s benefit plan — and not the lowest-cost alternative.

  27. RECALL , for trying to lie her way out of it . She is happy with the mess little CHUMLY HAS MADE OF IT . AND NOW THEY WILL PAT THEM SELVES ON THE BACK AND WONDER WHAT OTHER WONDERFULL THINGS THEY CAN SCREW UP .

  28. I’m looking forward to after the strike when teachers will start bragging again how much they make, how good their benefits and pensions are and how much time they don’t have to work. When they go on how jealous other workers are. The time between contract talks.

  29. Another item that seems to have so many knickers twisted is the $5000 “signing bonus.” Granted, it has been portrayed very poorly. Here is what it is: Teachers took two years of zeroes with the last contract and the current Gov’t proposal puts zeroes on the first two years. (That’s a total of 4 years of zeroes). The $5000 would be a one-time payment to offset all those years of zeroes and would be cheaper than retroactive + raise over the 6 years of the contract. [BTW -- the not-yet-ratified CUPE contract included retroactive]. Like everything else — except the removal of the E80 / (circumvent the Court) clause — this too, is negotiable.

    • No…..$5000 signing bonus, is a “signing” “bonus” for ratifying the contract….not for taking zeros. BTW-I understood the signing bonus offered by the government expired when the BCFT did not accept the governments offer by the end of June 2014…. Meaning that ship has sailed. That is why knickers are twisted…..BCTF deserves a signing bonus of “ZERO”.


  31. There you have it folks:
    The Premier is testing a hypothesis. She has said (Twice) that the BCTF dispute is “insoluable.” She is waiting for all the BCTF to have a bath. If they don’t dissolve in the bathwater they are indeed “insoluable.”