Category Archives: job action

BCCPAC Calls for End to Strike and Lockout

Parent organization seeks immediate end to teacher strike and lockout

The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) is calling for an immediate end to the rotating strike and lockout action that is disrupting schools and hurting students.

The appeal follows a BCCPAC meeting over the weekend that brought parents from around the province together to discuss issues affecting K-12 education. Their foremost concern was the protracted labour dispute between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the provincial government.

This feud is having a detrimental effect on the most vulnerable students by denying them the help they need from teachers at this critical time of year, said BCCPAC president Terry Berting.  It’s also causing financial hardship for struggling families.

“Successful outcomes for all students – not just those graduating from Grade 12 – are being affected by this labour dispute,” he said. “This has got to stop.”

A second round of rotating strikes, now underway, means every school will be behind picket lines for one day this week. In addition, some schools have been cancelling extra-curricular activities, end-of-year celebrations and sporting events as a result of feud, but this is uneven.

BCCPAC wants government and the union to stop using pressure tactics that affect students and concentrate their energy on achieving a new collective agreement. It is time for both sides to take risks and negotiate in the true spirit of give and take.

“We’re encouraging parents to write to Education Minister Peter Fassbender and BCTF president Jim Iker, explaining how the rotating strikes and lockout are hurting families,” added Nicole Makohoniuk, who was elected as the new BCCPAC president during the weekend meeting and will begin her two-year term July 1.

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Visit BCCPAC online at

Updates from BCCPAC Conference and AGM

Parents may have different views about the labour feud that’s hurting B.C. public schools, but those attending the BCCPAC conference appeared united Friday in their anger and frustration.

They’re fed up, BCCPAC president Terry Berting told the media, adding that his group is considering what action it might take to pressure the parties to reach a negotiated settlement.

Parents want to take the high road but they’re troubled by the ongoing bitterness between government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), The Canadian Press quoted him as saying.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender spoke to conference delegates Friday morning and was later peppered with questions, starting with this one: “How does class size not matter?”

Parents also wanted to know what his government is doing to help with complex classes, how it will protect schools threatened with permanent closure, whether the labour dispute will upset graduation activities and final exams and whether negotiations will continue throughout the summer.

There were no surprises in his answers: Class size is important up to a point, but not as important as class composition and teacher quality, given limited tax dollars, he said. Government has provided additional dollars to help with class composition challenges but it’s an issue that needs more attention, after a contract is signed, he added.

Prince George District Struck Again on Tuesday, June 3rd

The BC Teacher’s Federation has announced rotating strikes will continue next week.

They will be held on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, throughout the province. In SD57, Prince George, the strike will take place Tuesday, June 3rd.

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More updates on job action / strike / lockout

Prince George Teacher Rally, Thursday May 29 at 4PM : FAIR DEAL RALLY May 2014 2

It has been said that the first casualty of war is truth, but in the playground spat between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Liberal government, the first casualties seem to be the common sense, dignity and decorum of public education.

Letter from Ministry of Education, sent to school districts to distribute to parents:

The employers’ association and the union are scheduled to argue the legality of the lockout before the Labour Relations Board on Thursday.

Interesting blog post from a MLA:

BCTF Cheat Sheet:

Editorial from Times Colonist – Find better way to negotiate

“If the government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation are putting the welfare of students first, we don’t see the evidence. Despite all the rhetoric about finding a new approach, bargaining has degenerated into the familiar tooth-and-nail nastiness that has characterized contract talks for most of the past 30 years.

It’s tiresome. It’s not good for education. It needs to change.

“Schools are not factories,” former deputy education minister Don Wright wrote in 2003 after being called back into service to examine teacher bargaining. “There are all kinds of intangible factors that make for a successful school. This is all put at risk when labour conflict is brought into the school.”

Wright, a Harvard PhD and an expert highly regarded by educators for his common sense, said what everybody knew: The teacher bargaining model simply did not work, never had and was serving nobody well.


Which brings us to the shameful situation where the victims of all the game-playing and charades are children and their parents, not a company’s bottom line.

Shameful, because the number of families headed by single parents or where both parents work has increased significantly. If teachers strike, parents will have to stay home and lose income, or live with the anxiety that their children might not be adequately looked after.”



© Copyright Times Colonist

Read entire editorial here:

More clarification about what Lockout actually means

1. Does the current BCPSEA partial lockout prevent teachers from continuing their involvement with student extracurricular programs or other volunteer activities?

NO. Teachers are welcome to continue their involvement with any extracurricular or volunteer activities of their choice. Nothing in the lockout order prevents any continued or new involvement with such activities.

2. Does it matter whether or not the extracurricular activities take place during the school day (e.g., at lunch), within 45 minutes of the start or end of the school day, or later in the day (e.g., in the late afternoon or evening)?
NO. Teachers are welcome to continue their involvement with all extracurricular and other
volunteer activities regardless of the time of the day.

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More information on Strikes

From BCTF – “ Information for parents, guardians, and everyone who cares about Public Education in BC”


From BCSPEA – guidelines and questions and answers around lockout:

Background information: the proposals being discussed with teacher bargaining

There are two major elements of the bargaining. One is wages, and another is class size and composition.

The class size and composition proposals are of most interest from a parent perspective, as this is what will directly be affecting our children.


As further background, here is the full text of the Griffin decision, made January 2014, which restored previous class size and composition rules:

This judgement is being appealed, and apparently a decision may be heard October 2014.  More information on appeal:

While the wage issue is the issue that receive the most media attention, DPAC has not historically taken a specific position on wages, other than advocating for a fair and negotiated settlement.

Article: Same rhetoric but different rules in this B.C. teachers’ strike

From this article:
“Stop me if you think you’ve seen this play before.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. government sit down to negotiate a contract. The two sides are miles apart on demands.

Negotiations go nowhere and after a contentious period of sniping at each other in the media, job action ensues.

Then after a short period of school disruptions, teachers agree to a deal or, more often, have a contract imposed on them through legislation.

It’s a textbook example of a dysfunctional bargaining relationship that neither side seems willing or able to fix.

Sadly, it has also been the script for teacher–government relations in B.C. ever since teachers got the right to strike and full collective bargaining in 1987.

So it’s not surprising that the current Liberal government thought it was following the same script when this round of contract talks began last year.

Except the dynamics have changed.

Sure, the rhetoric sounds the same, and the players have all played their roles as expected.

The government accuses the teachers of being out of touch and the BCTF accuses the government of shortchanging students and not bargaining in good faith.

But the motivation behind the job action that is being taken by teachers this time is different.

Yes, they want wage and benefit increases, roughly 20 per cent over four years according to government.

And, as is often the case, the amount is out of line with what many taxpayers would consider reasonable, given today’s economy and compared to agreements with other public sector workers that have already been made.

But a decade of court battles over government stripping away their right to bargain on issues of class size and composition — which teachers have won every time — has galvanized teachers’ resolve.

It was just this past January that the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that not only had government violated teachers’ constitutional rights in removing this aspect of bargaining, but had repeated that violation when it imposed new legislation meant to fix the original law.

So with all that top of mind, at this point, wages and salary demands are taking a backseat to the desire for changes in the classroom.

The teachers want smaller classes and firm rules around how many special needs students can be in a single class before the school has to provide extra teachers and supports.

They also want government and the public to recognize that per-student funding has fallen behind most of the other provinces.

According to Statistics Canada, B.C. spends just under $12,000 per student per year, the second lowest in Canada.

And there is the sticking point.

In past disputes, the BCTF has talked about these issues, but in the end the lure of more money for individual teachers— and in 2006, a $3700 signing bonus — forced the union to accept a deal without resolving those classroom concerns.

That’s what the government obviously thought would happen again this time when it revealed its $1,200 signing bonus offer last week.

But it was not to be. At this point, teachers are taking a stand on principle — or at least that is what they say. Holding out not only for more money, but for those classroom changes as well.

All of this spells bad news for anyone hoping for a speedy resolution to this dispute.

Not only are the teachers’ demands around classroom conditions expensive for taxpayers, but they also hit at the heart of an ideological dispute that’s kept these two sides apart for decades.

That is, the question of who should control B.C.’s education system — the 41,000 or so teachers running it, or the government elected by those paying for it?

It’s a question that both sides have shown can’t be negotiated and that the courts have ruled can’t be legislated either.

So as long as this fundamental argument remains the sticking point, students and parents should brace themselves to remain in the middle of a lengthy fight.”

Lockout announced,%202014.pdf

In summary:

  • teachers will not be allowed to do the work that they’re not supposed to be doing as part of the stage 1 job action – not work during recess or lunch, or be at school 45 minutes early or 45 minutes late, in addition to some other areas. As a result, teacher salaries would be reduced by 5%
  • Once/if the stage 2 rotating strikes start, salaries would be reduced by 10%
  • Secondary schools would be locked out to teachers June 25-26 (only secondary schools, grades 8 and up)
  • All teachers would be locked out June 27th

Note: June 26th is the last day of school

Updated – press conference from Jim Iker: