Wednesday updates

Globe and Mail has launched a special section for BC Education:

“…Hours later, Peter Fassbender declined for a second time in three days to hand over decision-making to an independent arbitrator and accused the federation of calculating that the government wouldn’t budge.

“I believe that the BCTF executive knew when they called for (arbitration) that this government would not agree,” he told reporters in Victoria, adding he felt as though he was in the film Groundhog Day, where the same day repeats over and over.

…Fassbender said the government is not considering any option other than a negotiated settlement and panned the arbitration plan by explaining a past attempt at that route ended up compelling the government to raise taxes. He repeated that the government will not legislate a settlement.

– See more at:

BCTF’s arbitration framework, ArbitrationFrameworkforSettlement, submitted September 7th

BCPSEA’s September 6th response to the verbal offer:

“It’s been clear for months that the sides in the school strike are incapable of getting a deal done.

A third party of some sort is desperately needed to step in. A facilitator was on hand for months and couldn’t prompt any headway. Mediator Vince Ready spent a weekend on the impasse and walked away, electing to wait for the winds to change.

The next option is an arbitrator, but that requires mutual agreement from both sides, and only the B.C. Teachers’ Federation favours it at this point.

So the union executive’s decision to put the arbitration idea to the membership isn’t as dramatic as it sounds.

Teachers will vote Wednesday and soon after, the union will likely release results showing a huge majority of their membership support the idea of accepting arbitration.

But so what? It’s the other side that has to support the idea for it to work. And Education Minister Peter Fassbender said Monday: “It’s not in the cards, period.”

Wednesday’s vote is designed to be a retroactive ratification of a move that has already failed. The theoretical idea will likely be approved, but it’s simply not going to happen. If teachers reject it, the situation will get even worse. That would show the membership doesn’t want to concede any say on the sky-high wage package and could easily be taken as a non-confidence vote in the executive, which would lead to fresh chaos.

What they’re voting on is a carefully designed offer to hand off the wage and benefits argument to a third party. But the government side said there are time bombs buried in the concept that make it unworkable.

(As a measure of the hopelessness of this situation, there’s an entire side-argument about basic negotiating courtesies — such as writing down proposals — that are dropping off the table as fast as the lost days are piling up.)


Interesting data from BC Government on public sector bargaining:

“The people working in B.C.’s public sector provide a wide-range of services, including administrative, environmental, scientific, technical, health and social services, to name only a few.”

Are special needs really ‘the problem’? Why class composition measures won’t work and where we need to look instead
Dawn Steele, Vancouver Parents for Successful Inclusion April 2011

“When Premier Christy Clark experienced a five-point drop in the public approval rating reported by the Angus Reid polling firm Monday, the laugh lines were not long in coming.

“The last time Clark was in this much trouble in the polls, she won the election,” was my favourite, because it hearkened back to the spring of 2013 when pollsters and pundits (me included) all had the premier and her B.C. Liberals ticketed for defeat.

Joking aside, the poll provided a reality check for anyone who might be hoping that a big shift in public opinion would persuade the Liberals to abandon their hard-line position in the current dispute with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. …”
A Framework for Long Term Stability in Education, from the provincial government, January 2013.

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