Category Archives: job action

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:


Recess cancelled in SD57

The school district has announced that recess will be cancelled as a result of the first stage of the BCTF job action:

Recess was also cancelled by the administration, as a result of the 2011 job action:

Recess is not cancelled in all of BC:


Recess will be cancelled in several school districts across B.C. as the province’s 41,000 public-school teachers begin job action on Wednesday.

The districts that have cancelled recess include:


  • Prince George
  • Quesnel.
  • Terrace.
  • Prince Rupert.
  • North Okanagan/Shuswap.
  • Bulkley Valley.

Northern Vancouver Island School District had considered cancelling recess, but reconsidered and decided not to cancel it.

BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker said six school districts have plans to cancel recess tomorrow when the phase-one action begins.

“We don’t think that’s fair to the students, that they’ll be cancelling recess,” he said. “Some of the cancellations are without even first talking with the [union] local about whether administration can even do the coverage, and we find that very disappointing.”

In some cases, cancelling recess could mean the school day is shortened by 15 minutes.

Iker explained that voluntary activities in which teachers are involved will continue during the first phase of the planned job action, but some teachers’ duties will be left to principals, vice-principals, and other management.

“What we won’t be doing is supervision, before and after school, during recess, and at lunchtime, which we don’t do right now,” Iker said.

“Our expectation is that, according to the essential services legislation, excluded staff … will be picking up supervision,” he said.


Strike Update

The BCTF has announced that stage 1 job action will start on Wednesday, April 23, after the Easter weekend. There will be no immediate school closures or disruptions to students. This first stage is administrative in nature only. Teachers will continue to teach, write report cards, communicate with parents, and participate in their volunteer extracurricular activities.

During Stage 1 job action teachers will not:

  • Undertake any mandated supervision of students outside of regularly scheduled classes, except as set out by an essential services order.
  • Attend any meetings with management other than meetings of the worksite Joint Health and Safety Committee.
  • Provide principals or administrators with any routine printed, written, or electronic communication.
  • Receive any printed, written, or electronic communication from an administrator.
  • Be at a worksite prior to one hour before commencement of instructional time and one hour after the end of instructional time, other than for pre-arranged voluntary activities.

What does this mean for parents?

At this point, there will still be communications with parents, such as report cards. Teachers will continue to carry out voluntary activities that have been previously arranged. Field trips ought not be affected, at this point.

One question mark that remains is what this will mean in SD57 for recess. During the last job action, this district cancelled recess, as providing supervision at recess took administrative staff time. Only a few districts in BC did so.

From the Vancouver Sun, September 2011:

Qualicum is one of several school districts that cancelled recess after teachers said they would not supervise students on the playground as part of their job action. The other districts are Central Okanagan, Vernon, North Okanagan-Shuswap and Prince George. Southeast Kootenay district also cancelled recess but trustees recently voted to reinstate it next month.

For more information, see the BCTF news releases:

SD57 has also previously posted a communications strategy in the event of a strike:

Teachers pass strike vote

From a news release sent to DPAC 20 minutes after the announcement of the strike vote:

BC teachers vote overwhelmingly in favour of job action

March 6, 2014

A total of 26,051 teachers voted yes in a province-wide vote conducted March 4–6, 2014. In all, 29,301 teachers cast ballots, of whom 89% voted yes.

“With this vote, BC teachers have sent a very clear message to the BC government; it’s time to negotiate in good faith, take back the unreasonable proposals, and offer teachers a fair deal that also provides better support for students,” BCTF President Jim Iker said.

In releasing the results, Iker stressed that there is no immediate action planned. “There will be no job action tomorrow, there will be no job action next week,” Iker said. “Teachers now have 90 days to activate the strike vote with some sort of action. There is no set timing for when we will begin. It will depend entirely on what is happening at the negotiating table and whether or not the government and employers’ association are prepared to be fair and reasonable.

“BC teachers are committed to negotiating a deal at the table. That is our goal. The vote is about putting pressure on both sides to get an agreement. We will work very hard to get that negotiated settlement without any job action. A strike vote is a normal process in labour relations and helps apply pressure to both parties during negotiations.”

If job action becomes necessary, Iker outlined that it will occur in stages, but any initial action will not:

  • include immediate school closures or disruption for students
  • ask teachers to stop participating in extracurricular activities
  • affect report cards or communication with parents.

Any initial job action will be administrative in nature and have no impact on student learning. If, at some point talks stall or government does not move on key areas, that initial job action could escalate into rotating strikes. Once again, it depends on events at the negotiating table. There will be no full-scale walk out as a result of this vote. Such action would require another province-wide vote of the BCTF membership.

“Teachers voted so overwhelmingly in favour because the government has tabled unfair and unreasonable proposals that would undo the class size, class composition, and specialist teacher staffing levels we just won back in a BC Supreme Court Ruling,” said Iker. “The employer’s salary offer is also less than what was given to other public sector workers and ignores how far BC teachers have fallen behind their colleagues across Canada.”

No strike?! Tentative deal reached for CUPE’s public school education workers

RICHMOND, BC—The Canadian Union of Public Employees has reached a tentative Provincial Framework Agreement with the BC Public Schools Employers’ Association (BCPSEA). The Framework Agreement was unanimously endorsed by the CUPE BC K-12 Provincial Bargaining Sub-Committee and will be recommended to the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council for endorsement.

Each CUPE union local will then take this provincial agreement to their respective tables with school districts to conclude collective bargaining.

“Over two years this agreement provides our members a total 3.5 percent wage adjustment, with no concessions,” said CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council Chair Colin Pawson. “We were also able to work with the employer on a pay direct drug card.”

“As well, the agreement recognizes the professional role of Education Assistants through formal changes to the School Act and collective agreements,” added Pawson.

- See more at:

BC Ministry of Education news release:

The framework provides for modest wage increases of 3.5 per cent over two years, funded from savings found within existing school district budgets, as required under the 2012 Cooperative Gains Mandate.