“BCTF President Jim Iker is threatening a full-scale teachers’ strike within the next two weeks if the government doesn’t put more money on the table.
Iker says teachers will take a strike vote on Monday, June 9 and Tuesday, June 10 to get a mandate for escalated job action.
Rotating strikes will also continue next week, and the schedule will be released tomorrow.”
Without more government money on the table, Iker said, field trips will be cancelled and report cards will not be issued because of increasing job action on the part of the province’s 41,000 teachers.
Iker said the decision to go to a vote on a full strike was made Tuesday, even before the Labour Relations Board ruled against the union.
The “Labour Relations Board sided with the province in its bid to dock teachers 10 per cent of their pay during the rotating strikes.
The union went to the board over the government’s decision to dock teachers’ wages in reaction to their job action.
Teachers argued the government’s move to reduce their wages needed prior approval from the Labour Relations Board.
But the board ruled Wednesday afternoon that it was siding the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, the bargaining arm for the government.”
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.
Visit BCCPAC online at www.bccpac.bc.ca
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.
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.
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: http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/District_Info/26May14MOEInfo.pdf
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: http://www.andrewweavermla.ca/2014/05/26/path-bc-public-education/
BCTF Cheat Sheet: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-teachers-dispute-cheat-sheet-1.1835717
“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: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-find-better-way-to-negotiate-1.1071958
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.
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: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/14/01/2014BCSC0121cor1.htm
This judgement is being appealed, and apparently a decision may be heard October 2014. More information on appeal: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/judge-grants-bcs-request-to-stay-decision-on-teachers-bargaining-pending-appeal/article17113956/
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.