BC Teachers contract negotiation and job action

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
BC Teachers contract negotiation and job action

Has anybody been following the BC Teachers labour negotiations?

 

B.C. legislation to remove teachers' right to strike

Quote:
B.C.'s 40,000 teachers have been granted the right to strike by the Labour Relations Board, but the government has introduced legislation that could take away that right and impose a six-month cooling-off period and a mediator to settle the contract dispute.

The rapidly developing situation has left many parents wondering whether they will have to scramble to arrange child care or time off work, as both sides jockey for position in a highly polarized dispute.
The legislation is expected to take to take up to a week to pass in the legislature, meaning the teachers could legally exercise their right to strike in the meantime.
The province's Labour Relations Board ruled Tuesday afternoon that the teachers can strike for three days in one week as part of their expanded job action, and then one day each subsequent week, though they must give two days notice before striking.
The strike ruling from the board came down just hours before the provincial government introduced its own legislation aimed at ending the dispute.
The legislation introduced by the government would not impose a new contract, but does include a cooling-off period that would end the current job action until Aug. 31, making the teachers' current job action and any future strikes illegal, once it has passed into law.
The B.C. Teachers Federation is expected to hold a strike vote on Wednesday and Thursday, meaning the earliest possible date for a strike may be next week.
The BCTF will not be allowed to set up picket lines, the board ruled. The board also said it will review its ruling on a weekly basis. The teachers required the board's ruling to strike legally because they have been designated as an essential service by the government.


Can babblers in the know explain the precedent of this, if any? How can we support the teachers here?

 

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Teachers' strike hinges on clock

Quote:
B.C. teachers could be off the job as early as Monday.

That's the bottom line after a day of high drama on the education front.

First the Labour Relations Board ruled Tuesday morning that teachers can walk off the job for three consecutive days, then one day a week.

Hours later, Education Minister George Abbott introduced legislation designed to keep them in the classroom.

B.C. Teachers Federation president Susan Lambert angrily accused the government of trying to use the dispute to help get re-elected.

"This is not a game we're playing - this is the lives of students and teachers," charged Lambert.

"This legislation is the height of political hypocrisy. It will erode the quality of education. This is all about politics, and not about education."

Teachers are in the midst of voting on whether to expand their strike, and BCTF officials believe Abbott's move will galvanize teachers to strike.

"This is an attempt to intimidate, bully and bludgeon," said Lambert.

"This legislates us into a mediation process with a pre-determined outcome."

Within an hour of public notification of the teachers' right to strike, Abbott was rising in the legislature to put an end to any talk of strike action - proposing a strike ban during a cooling-off period to last until August.

"We hope the teachers' union will take a constructive approach and respect the cooling-off period," Abbott said threateningly. "If they choose a different path, the legislation includes stiff financial consequences for illegal strike action."

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

Can babblers in the know explain the precedent of this, if any? How can we support the teachers here?

 

CF, I don't know the details of the legislation nor the evolution of the dispute. But ignorance has rarely stayed my posting hand. Let me go back in time.

I'm old enough to recall vividly Dave Barrett ordering a 3-month "cooling off period" in 1975 (or 1976?) when about 80,000 workers were on strike - ferries, beer-truck drivers, can't recall who else. Before the 3 months were over, the deadline passed to sign a collective agreement and without being swept under Trudeau's wage control guidelines. I don't recall what the penalties would have been for violating the back-to-work order, but that action was arguably more serious, in that it disrupted not potential job actions, but real strikes which were already under way.

I don't know if that's the kind of "precedent" you were looking for - but if you refer me to (or I can find on my own) more background info, I'd like to at least follow what happens whether I have anything useful to contribute or not.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Anti-Strike Legislation 'More Political Games': Dix

quote:

Clark playing political games with education: Dix

There's time to pass the government's bill before Tuesday, said Premier Christy Clark.

"I'd certainly like to see it in place sooner rather than later," she said. "I want to make sure kids don't lose a day of school. Ultimately, that's what we're trying to do here."

To pass it in a hurry would require the NDP to co-operate, she said. "We need the NDP and the teachers' union to step back from the cliff a little bit and decide they want to be responsible about this," she said. "We can't do it alone."

Both the BCTF and the employer agreed last week to mediation, so it's not clear why the government felt compelled to introduce its legislation, said NDP Leader Dix.

The legislation "takes us down a different path, and I suspect not a better path," he said. "Now we're into a negative debate that I think will be negative for children in classrooms."

The NDP is still reviewing the bill, but will likely vote against it, he said. The party will advocate for what he called "real" mediation, he said. "I think what we need from all sides is a return to the respect that's been missing."

After a year of failed negotiations it's ridiculous for Clark to suggest the outcome depends on the NDP, Dix said. "The government decides the legislative agenda," he said. "For them to suggest this is my job is just more political games."

Teachers, parents and students all have much riding on the contract being settled in a fair and respectful way, he said. "I remind the premier there are real lives at stakes."

Dix did point out that the only negotiation with teachers that he was involved in as a government staff person in the 1990s ended with two years of zero wage increases followed by a two per cent increase in the final year of the contract, which also made improvements to classroom conditions.

Premier Clark, on the other hand, was education minister in 2002 when the government stripped provisions out of teachers' contracts, a move defeated in the B.C. Supreme Court....

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/02/29/Teachers-Anti-Strike-Legislation/

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Statement from B.C. Federation of Labour Executive Officers on Bill 22
February 28, 2012

Today the BC Liberal Government has introduced Bill 22, imposing 2 years of no wage increases and seeking significant concession from teachers regarding learning conditions and professional development. At the same time, the BC Liberals eliminate teachers' right to job action. After three terms this tired government has not learned anything when it comes to respecting workers' democratic rights.

The BC Liberal government still has the ability to prevent a crisis in our public education system; withdraw Bill 22 and return to the bargaining table without condition and with the help of a professional mediator. The BC Teachers Federation has already called for the appointment of Stephen Kelleher as a mediator in this dispute. The B.C. Federation of Labour supports this call, and encourages the provincial government to accept this request. School trustees have called for mediation, the employer BC PSEA has agreed to mediation, and the public overwhelmingly supports real mediation.

Today's legislation has nothing to do with improving public education, it's about a provincial government, beyond its expiry date, with no new ideas and no commitment to public education. In fact, Bill 22 will create larger class sizes and offers no support for students with special needs. Far from restoring teachers' rights to bargain their working conditions, class size and composition, Bill 22 plans to make those rights obsolete. Teachers deserve better; and most importantly, so do our kids.

The government's actions today extend beyond teachers and impact all provincial public sector negotiations. Imposing a mandate when other public sector workers have only begun bargaining is a serious breach of the principle of free collective bargaining. This legislative hammer comes from a government that has lost a number of Supreme Court challenges resulting from their trampling of labour rights.

If the BC Liberal government was truly interested in mediation, they would use the tools at their disposal via the Labour Relations Board and the Labour Code, no other legislation is necessary. Mediation involves an impartial third party able to hear the concerns of both parties. Mediation cannot be limited to only the issues the BC Liberals choose. Bill 22 is not mediation it's the beginning of an imposed collective agreement.

BC's public and private sector unions and our more than 450,000 members stand in solidarity with BC's teachers and their desire for a fair negotiated deal. Labour leaders will be meeting to discuss how they continue to support BC teachers.
?

BC Government & Service Employees' Union
BC Teachers' Federation
BC and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council
Canadian Auto Workers
Canadian Office and Professional Employee's Union
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Communication, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada
Federation of Post-Secondary Educators
Health Sciences Association of BC
Hospital Employees' Union
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Operators
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
International Longshore & Warehouse Union
International Union of Operating Engineers
Public Service Alliance of Canada
UNITE HERE!
United Food & Commercial Workers' International Union
United Steelworkers

http://bcfed.ca/node/2194

Ripple

Well, here's the obvious post ...

Teachers shocked by Bill 22, a radical assault on our profession: http://bctf.ca/NewsReleases.aspx?id=25663

“Why should these bargaining rights be postponed until after the next election? This means students will have suffered worsening conditions for a full 12 years,” Lambert said. “Teachers sacrificed raises in the past to win protections for class size and composition because we care about our students and want to be able to teach to individual needs. I can only imagine how concerned parents will be when they realize that learning conditions are only going to get worse as a result of this bill.”

 
Bill 22 also includes severe penalties in the event of an illegal strike:  $475 per day for individual teachers,  $2,500 per day for union officers, and a minimum of $1.3 million per day for the BCTF.  “The fines in this bullying legislation are punitive in the extreme,” Lambert said.  “They are a clear attempt to intimidate teachers.”

Unionist

Catchfire, here's the only reference material on "precedent" that I could find quickly. Please note that all these attacks against workers' rights either preceded the Charter (in the case of Dave Barrett's government) or preceded the Supreme Court decision finding that collective bargaining had some protection under freedom of association:

[url=http://mostlywater.org/node/542]A history of NDP strikebreaking [in B.C.][/url]

Quote:

Every single New Democratic Party (NDP) government in the history of British Columbia has brought in strikebreaking legislation during its term of office.

There is nothing new under the sun.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..ripple i just posted the exact same article, 1 min apart.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

B.C. legislation to remove teachers' right to strike

B.C.'s 40,000 teachers have been granted the right to strike by the Labour Relations Board, but the government has introduced legislation that could take away that right and impose a six-month cooling-off period and a mediator to settle the ...

video BCTF President Susan Lambert

http://en.video.sympatico.ca/news-info/top-stories/watch/b.c.-legislatio...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Rising Call to Change Way We Bargain with Teachers

Critics say 17 years of negotiation failures means government has to change tactics to work with teachers.

When Education Minister George Abbott announced last week he would be legislating a collective agreement for the province's teachers, he said it was because of concern over harm to students and their parents caused by the teachers' job action.

But a poll of 400 British Columbians from across the province commissioned by the BC Federation of Labour questions Abbott's sources. Released this weekend, the poll revealed 52 per cent of those polled were against government imposing a contract on teachers, increasing to 62 per cent if that contract were to include a wage freeze, weakened seniority provisions, and other concessions.

The BC School Trustees Association is uncomfortable with the idea of legislation, too. A vote held on Saturday shows trustees from across the province are in favour of introducing a mediator to negotiations rather than legislating yet another contract and further fracturing government's relationship with teachers.....

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/02/28/Bargaining-With-Teachers/

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thanks to everyone for the info. Much appreciated.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

British Columbia teachers enter sixth month of unique 'strike'

Larry Kuehn, BCTF Director of Research and Technology - February 21, 2012

Members of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation began a strike on the day that school opened in September of 2011. But classes have gone on as normal, and that has continued into February 2012.

Teachers continue to teach, assess students and even voluntarily sponsor extra-curricular activities as they would if they were not on strike. And they continue to get their full pay because they are carrying out their teaching.

What they are not doing is any administrative work other than keeping attendance (for safety reasons). They do no supervision before or after school or during breaks during the day. The administrators have to do this work — everyone from the superintendent to the vice-principal. Teachers don't go to staff meetings or hold any meetings with school administrators, unless safety of the students is involved.

This form of strike exists because the BC government tried to eliminate teacher strikes by passing "essential service" legislation. This type of legislation is generally aimed at hospital or police or fire unions. It requires that essential services be maintained during a strike and has a process where the union and the employer negotiate with the Labour Relations Board what is essential and what levels of staffing are required to meet those. Other activities are not essential and the workers on strike don't have to do them. Those employees carrying out the essential service are paid as they have been under the collective agreement that has expired....

http://substancenews.net/articles.php?page=3088&section=Article

eta: quote:

Report cards were determined not to be essential, so teachers did not produce report cards when the reporting period came up. The BCTF encouraged all teachers to be in contact and available to talk to parents about how their child is doing — just not based on letter grades. Some parents have said that it has produced more meaningful information about how their child is doing than report cards and letter grades.

In an effort to put teachers in a bad light, the Ministry of Education directed school principals to send home report cards, even though they had no grades on them, only attendance information. The tens of thousands of dollars it cost to do this made the Macleans' magazine list of stupid government expenditures and the Ministry said blank report cards won't be mailed home at the next reporting period if the strike is still on.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
NorthReport

Strike is set to start on Monday!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Ripple

[url=Here[/url]">http://cherylangst.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/teaching-in-bc-3/][=red... is a letter from a BC teacher to her MLA:

Quote:
I am a constituent and one of the more than 40,000 teachers whose voices will be silenced by the passing of Bill 22. While disappointed-devastated would be more accurate-I am not surprised.

In 2001, I lost my constitutional right to engage in political protest as a means of achieving a fair contract. In 2002, I lost the right to have a say in how many students would be placed in my classroom. In 2002, I also lost the right to argue for support for students with special needs. In 2005, I was told the actual number of students in my class was irrelevant so long as the district average for class size at my grade level was 30 or fewer.

I stood and fought to protect the needs of children in my care every time.

And every time, I lost.

The Supreme Court has ruled that those cuts were illegal. My fight to protect the learning conditions of the students I teach has been validated by the highest (and most impartial) body in the province. Yet, what is happening as a result of that ruling?

Nothing prior to July 1, 2013.

Why?

Because the current government needs to say they eliminated the budget deficit. It doesn't matter how many students suffer in the meantime. It doesn't matter how many classrooms are too crowded and have too few resources. It doesn't matter how many students with special needs receive little or no extra help. What really matters is getting re-elected, and the government has determined that rectifying the injustice perpetrated in 2002 will cost too much money.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

And another letter from a teacher's perspective (FB Note):

Quote:

Why I'm rattled at the Liberals:

1) The abolishment of seniority rights. Even the Roman army had seniority rights. Why this government wants to do away with seniority rights befuddles and scares me. Doing away with seniority exposes teachers to being hired and fired due to a "who you know" scenario and/or a popularity contest. Elimination of senority rights could also set more experienced/ educated teachers (who are at a higher pay scale) at a disadvantage, in favour of younger/less educated teachers (who are at a lower pay scale). Districts want to cut costs, correct?

 

2) Contract stripping. When two sides come to an agreement about an issue and sign a contract that contract should be upheld for the duration of that contract. This Liberal government ripped up our contract that we had with them in 2002. The part they ripped up eliminated provisions protecting class size, class composition, and services to students with special needs. The BCTF website states, "the 2002 legislation enabled the BC Liberals to cut $336 million annually from public education and so severely curtailed free collective bargaining rights that it could not sustain a challenge under the Charter of Rights. In April 2011, the BC Supreme Court found the bills to be unconstitutional and invalid". Yet, despite the Supreme Court ruling it's business as usual for George Abbott and the Liberals. It blows my mind how this can happen in a democratic society.

 

3) The One Strike and You're Out Policy. In this case a teacher could be dismissed from their job due to a poor performance review or for other incidents. Of course creepy teachers should be shown the door...no one is going to argue that, but a few bad lessons or what is deemed to be an inappropriate comment shouldn't be grounds for dismissal unless there is a fair process. All workers deserve the opportunity to learn from their experiences/ mistakes, with support and constructive feedback from their employers. A three strikes you’re out policy, implemented with partnership of administration, school board, and union seems more than fair, as it provides opportunity for employees to grow on a professional level in addition to maintaining accountability.

 

4) Bargaining in bad faith. How can the government come to a bargaining table with a net zero mandate from the get-go? How can the government only want to take away from our contract, yet add nothing?

 

5) Changing laws. Last week my union applied to the Labour Relations Board to conduct a strike. The LRB gave us the go-ahead to conduct a strike. Hours later, the Liberals drafted up a law to say that we are not allowed to go on strike. As a worker I feel my rights have been taken away from me. How is it that the students I teach have more rights than I do when they go to their jobs after school?

 

6) Bill 22---The Liberals will pass Bill 22 next week that imposes a new contract on teachers. Under this legislated contract there will be no class size or composition limits for grades 4-7. Whereby a teacher used to be consulted (that wasn't even perfect), now a superintendent can have the final say and put however many students they would like in a class.

 

7) "Mediation"---This Fiberal government says that a contract will be mediated. Bogus. It is a mediator they appoint and that mediator has been told that any additional money towards education is unavailable. Class size and composition and wages will not be discussed by the mediator. How can we call this mediation when one side lays out what can and can't be discussed beforehand? Instead of calling this a "cooling off period" how about calling it what it really is...a period of time in which the Liberals have taken away our right to strike, have imposed a contract, and have refused to engage in meaningful discussions about the core issues. Essentially the Liberals are saying, "Shut up, this is the contract WE have decided on and we'll talk to you in two years. And oh, by the way, if you teachers want to strike you will be fined $475 per day and your union will be fined over a million dollars per day". This is mediation? Really?

 

8) Money, money, money is all the media is covering. Yes, a fair and equitable wage is important to me. If your contract was up with your boss you would probably ask for a raise too. Considering other teachers earn more in other provinces and do the same or less amount of work it gets you thinking. Given these economic times, no one is expecting a bonanza but at the very least could we get a cost of living increase? Please?... No?...Ok, thought I'd ask.

 

 To many of us, our wage could remain the same and life would go on happily for us. Quite frankly, as much as a wage increase would be nice, it is at the very bottom of my beef with the Liberals.

 

Teachers don't want to have to walk off the job, but given that every other avenue has been exhausted, what other option do we have? What would it say about us and our level of concern for our rights and the rights of students if we simply turned the other cheek and accepted this vicious assault on the education system?

 

As a teacher who works with students every day I KNOW that at this moment the Liberal government is not serious about improving conditions for students or for teachers. Don't believe their bogus interviews on tv about how they are worried that our job action will be detrimental to students. Abbott and the rest of the Liberals almost sound convincing in interviews. Their actions clearly demonstrate a complete disregard for students and teachers. So, if you see us on the streets next week please don't think it is about the money. Know that our job action is about protecting the rights of teachers and students so that we can both come to school each day equipped with what we need to be successful.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

12,000 Vancouver students planning to walk out of school to back teachers

VANCOUVER - An idea that took shape during a chat between friends in a high school theatre class has swelled to a movement of more than 12,500 B.C. students who plan to walk out of school on Friday in support of their teachers.

Students plan to leave their classes at 2 p.m., an hour early for the Vancouver district, and gather at the Vancouver Art Gallery, said organizer Nicole Yu, a Grade 11 student at Windermere secondary in east Vancouver. There they will demonstrate in support of teachers who Yu said are being unfairly treated by the B.C. government.

"We want the government to negotiate in good faith and respect the process of collective bargaining for all working people instead of legislating agreements/contracts," said a pamphlet posted on the event's Facebook page....

http://www.vancouversun.com/touch/business/story.html?id=6228354

Do you support further job action by teachers?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Mass Rally at the Legislature to Support BC's Teachers
Posted by BC Federation of Labour 1pc on March 02, 2012

Solutions to end this dispute can only be found at the bargaining table, not through imposed contracts that freeze wages and increase class sizes.

WHEN
March 06, 2012 at 12:00 PM

WHERE

BC Legislature
501 Belleville St
Victoria, BC V8V 2L8
Canada

http://www.standupforbc.com/mass_rally_in_victoria_to_support_bc_s_teachers

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

BC Teacher's Federation job action update: What CUPE K-12 members need to know

On Thursday March 1, 2012, the BCTF served notice that it will commence a three day strike starting Monday March 5, 2012. CUPE fully supports the BCTF's struggle against Bill 22 and their fight for free collective bargaining. CUPE BC President Barry O'Neill has written a letter to all CUPE members to explain the situation further (see below).

The BCTF has reached an agreement with the employer through the Labour Relations Board that will see no picket lines go up during the strike.

The agreement, which the BCTF has asked CUPE to honour, means CUPE members in the K-12 sector are expected to show up to work as scheduled, but should not perform any student supervision which is teacher and administrator work.

 

Dear CUPE members working in K-12: 

Re: BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) Job Action Update

Following a province-wide vote of its membership, the BCTF has announced that teachers will launch a full strike for three days beginning Monday, March 5, 2012. BCTF President Susan Lambert announced the strike action Thursday, March 1, 2012. CUPE stands in solidarity with the BCTF against the government’s legislation and fully supports the BCTF’s efforts to maintain free collective bargaining in British Columbia.

CUPE members always respect picket lines wherever and whenever we encounter them. However, in this dispute, the BCTF has asked that CUPE members continue to work during this BCTF strike action, as BCTF and the employers have agreed there will be no pickets. A brief summary of the legislation is on the following page. This agreement was made to ensure that the BCTF would be in a full-scale strike position without lengthy Labour Relations Board hearings. While this is unusual, CUPE respects the right of all unions to run their strike action as they see fit.

BCPSEA, the employer, has assured us that schools will be closed to students but will remain open for support staff to report to work as they normally would. CUPE members should report to work and perform their regular duties. School District employers will not close schools or layoff members during the dispute. Regular duties should be continued. This may include dealing with backlogged work, special cleaning, meetings or Pro-D. This should not include student supervision, which is teacher and administrator work.

We remain in constant communication with the BCTF.  Expect more information as it becomes available. Please direct any questions to your Local President.

I know this will be a difficult and challenging time for CUPE members as well as for our sisters and brothers in the BCTF. I will update you as soon as any new developments occur.
 

In Solidarity,

Barry O’Neill

President

CUPE BC Division

http://cupe.ca/education/bctf-job-action-update-k-12

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..thought this was worth a repost. this little gem of a rebellion has been going on under our noses without notice until now. i take from the sophistacation and solidarity  of this struggle that we are ready to take on capital. were looking for the spark. i concider teachers the gatekeepers of education and they are showing us what we must do to safeguard the future.

British Columbia teachers enter sixth month of unique 'strike'

Larry Kuehn, BCTF Director of Research and Technology - February 21, 2012

Members of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation began a strike on the day that school opened in September of 2011. But classes have gone on as normal, and that has continued into February 2012.

Teachers continue to teach, assess students and even voluntarily sponsor extra-curricular activities as they would if they were not on strike. And they continue to get their full pay because they are carrying out their teaching.

What they are not doing is any administrative work other than keeping attendance (for safety reasons). They do no supervision before or after school or during breaks during the day. The administrators have to do this work — everyone from the superintendent to the vice-principal. Teachers don't go to staff meetings or hold any meetings with school administrators, unless safety of the students is involved.

This form of strike exists because the BC government tried to eliminate teacher strikes by passing "essential service" legislation. This type of legislation is generally aimed at hospital or police or fire unions. It requires that essential services be maintained during a strike and has a process where the union and the employer negotiate with the Labour Relations Board what is essential and what levels of staffing are required to meet those. Other activities are not essential and the workers on strike don't have to do them. Those employees carrying out the essential service are paid as they have been under the collective agreement that has expired....

http://substancenews.net/articles.php?page=3088&section=Article

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

BC’s Education Service Plan: Free the kids and control the teachers 

Each time the provincial government issues a budget, along with it comes a “Service Plan” for each of the ministries. The plan structure for the Ministry of Education has varied over the years. The current one is structured around the five elements of “BC’s Education Plan.”

The Service Plan talks of how we will “modernize how education is delivered” and how the ministry will support “the education transformation in all stages of the system.” The need for transformation is restated: rapid change, new occupations, other education systems overtaking ours, designed for an earlier century.

What will this new system look like? Student-centered learning; flexibility and choice for students with respect to how, when, and where learning takes place; more open and accountable to students, families, communities, and the public; obstacles removed so our students will become responsible, well-educated citizens; learners allowed more freedom to pursue their individual interests and passions; kids freed from the restrictions of the old system that is stopping them from becoming responsible, well-educated citizens prepared for the future.

So what is the source of the restrictions that have to be removed? It seems that it is teachers....

http://www.bctf.ca/announcements.aspx?id=25451

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Cuts Hurt Kids
12,000 overcrowded classes
Special needs neglected
194 schools closed

The provincial government continues to ignore the funding crisis in public education. Since 2001, school districts across the province have seen a decade of cuts initiated by then education minister Christy Clark that now represent more than $300 million a year. 

Districts are facing ongoing shortfalls that may force them to close more schools, cut programs for students and layoff teachers. Cuts will lead to larger classes and less support for children with special needs. BC has already lost 194 schools since 2001, 3 more are closing, and 2 are threatened with closure.

On March 2, 2010, the government brought forward a new budget that actually froze funding for 33 of BC's 60 school districts. As fixed costs like salaries, pensions, electricity and transportation rise, that decision puts even more strain on our public education system.

Parents, trustees and teachers need to work together to stop these cuts.

Make sure your voice is heard by contacting your local MLA and the minister of education.

Share your stories about how these cuts will impact your children and their school with the media. Visit our Advocacy and Action page to find out how.

http://www.bctf.ca/WhenWillTheyLearn.aspx

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Losing the Courage to Teach in BC
View this video by teachers in Uclulet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh8PLOdM9c0&feature=youtu.be

eta:

A Dark Day for Public Education: A decade of resistance by BC Teachers

video produced for the BC Teachers' Federation, January 28, 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFf4ImxmrDE&list=PLDAAC89704D8712AE&featu...

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Vancouver Rally in Support of BC's Teachers

WHEN
March 07, 2012 at 2:00 PM

WHERE

Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby St
Vancouver, BC V6C 3G1
Canada

Speakers:
Susan Lambert , BCTF
Jane Bouey, former COPE school trustee
Irene Lanzinger, BCFED
Gwen Giesbrecht, parent
Debbie Pawluk, VSTA
Navi Rai, student
Chris Harris, VESTA
Barry O’Neill, CUPE
Songs by the Solidarity Notes

Sponsored by Lower Mainland Public School Teachers

http://www.standupforbc.com/wednesday_rally_at_art_gallery_in_support_of...

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

 

B.C. isn't broke: Putting teacher bargaining in perspective

Quote:
The first is a pattern in labour relations that the previous speakers already touched on. We're increasingly seeing governments, both federally and in B.C., who believe that wages need to be kept low for the benefit of economic growth (regardless of whether we're in a period of economic growth, recession or a recovery).

The second pattern I want to talk about is the consistent underfunding of public services in this province, which includes education. We have seen a distinct withdrawal of government support from public services while more and more of the costs have been downloaded to families who need the services.

The net-zero mandate public sector unions are facing now is a reflection of both of these patterns. So is last week's provincial budget.

Let's start with the budget. This year's budget falsely claims that the proverbial cupboard is bare and that nothing can be done to meet any of B.C.'s most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges. What this really means is that the provincial government is asking us, asking the poor and middle-class families to tighten our belts, to make sacrifices and wait for the economy to get stronger before our issues can be addressed.

But in reality, the cupboard isn't bare. The constraints the government appears to be facing are neither economic nor fiscal. They are political.

The fact is that the B.C. economy is in recovery. Growth is not as strong as it was in the mid-2000s, but it is present. The economy is projected to grow by about four per cent per year. Government revenues are growing along with the economy, also by about four per cent. Government spending, however, is only growing by two per cent. This means that effectively, the size of government is shrinking relative to the size of our economy. And this is not new -- the size of government spending as a share of the economy has fallen quite dramatically over the last decade. In 2000, government spending was roughly at 22 per cent of our economy, last year it was down to 20 per cent and with this new budget, it is projected to fall further over the next couple of years. This may sound like small changes, but with the B.C. economy at over $200 billion per year, a two percentage point decrease (from 22 per cent to 20 per cent) amounts to more than $4 billion dollars per year.

So does the government have no money because the recovery is slow or is the crunch caused by government shrinking its size deliberately over the last decade? You tell me.

 

Ripple

Bump.

epaulo13 wrote:

Vancouver Rally in Support of BC's Teachers

WHEN
March 07, 2012 at 2:00 PM

WHERE

Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby St
Vancouver, BC V6C 3G1
Canada

Speakers:
Susan Lambert , BCTF
Jane Bouey, former COPE school trustee
Irene Lanzinger, BCFED
Gwen Giesbrecht, parent
Debbie Pawluk, VSTA
Navi Rai, student
Chris Harris, VESTA
Barry O’Neill, CUPE
Songs by the Solidarity Notes

Sponsored by Lower Mainland Public School Teachers

http://www.standupforbc.com/wednesday_rally_at_art_gallery_in_support_of...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Constitutional and international law at risk under Bill 22

The B.C. Liberal government is poised, once again, to violate the legal rights of workers, this time with Bill 22, which, if it becomes law, will prohibit teachers from striking and limit their collective bargaining rights.

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the government had violated the Canadian Charter by imposing legislative restrictions on the rights of health workers to bargain collectively. In April 2011, the British Columbia Supreme Court followed that decision to rule that legislation concerning teachers was unconstitutional, and thereby invalid, because it prohibited bargaining on class size, class composition and the ratios of teachers to students.

It is those very same restrictions that the government now seeks to reinstate with Bill 22, a disturbing disregard for such a recent judicial declaration that they are constitutionally invalid.....

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Constitutional+international+risk+under+Bill/6256343/story.html#ixzz1oTgy6Fso

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..news report last night. the geu, heu and bcnu contracts up at the end of march.

video:

http://www.cheknews.ca/

..............

Bill's harsh terms more than 'cooling off'

quote:

But there's much more to it than that. The matters discussed by Clark - the so-called "cooling-off period," the mediation and some severe penalties in the event that the teachers defy the strike ban - are covered in Part 1 of the bill.

Then comes Part 2, which, in the words of the bill, "amends various education statutes on a number of matters, including class size, additional compensation for teachers of classes that exceed 30 students and a learning improvement fund."

The contents are rather less benign than that official description. For instance, there's this all-embracing restriction on the contents of teachers' collective agreements:

"There must not be included any provision regulating the selection and appointment of teachers under this act; the courses of study, the program of studies or the professional methods and techniques employed by a teacher; restricting or regulating the assignment by a board of teaching duties to principals, vice principals or directors of instruction; limiting a board's power to employ persons other than teachers to assist teachers in the carrying out of their responsibilities under this act; restricting or regulating a board's power to establish class size and class composition ..." Take a deep breath....

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Bill+harsh+terms+more+than+cooling/6263389/story.html#ixzz1oTrCvEPJ

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

BC Teachers - We Don't Need Your Legislation.3GP

video:

Laura John sings with fellow Lillooet BC Teachers about the many problems associated with Bill 22.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czIm3PA4hiM&feature=share

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Teachers reject piece-work scheme for oversized classes 

BC teachers reacted with incredulity to a report that the Ministry of Education intends to pay some teachers more than others, depending on their class sizes.

“This pay-per-student scheme is like educational piece-work, it treats students like widgets. It’s like a 19th century factory model,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert.

“For decades, teachers have been advocating for smaller classes so we can provide the individual attention that helps children thrive in school. In all that time, we have never asked for increased pay for larger classes because that wouldn’t do anything to improve learning conditions for our students,” she said.

“Any amount of money to the teacher won’t make those overcrowded classrooms okay for kids,” Lambert said. “You simply can’t teach to individual needs in overcrowded classrooms.”

A media report today states that the Ministry of Education is proposing to pay teachers:

  • An extra $2,500 per year per student over 30 in Grades 4­–7 classrooms; and
  • An extra $312 per student over 30 in some secondary school courses.

“This  is unethical. It treats student as a commodity to be traded off or bartered. This is an appalling idea from the Ministry of Education” Lambert said. 

Education Minister George Abbott is reported as saying that having to pay teachers extra if they have more than 30 students would provide financial disincentives to school boards to have large classes. 

“It appears that the minister is using students as pawns to put pressure on school boards to rob funds from somewhere else to keep class sizes down. The education budget is frozen. With a $100 million funding shortfall for next year, it’s clear boards are going to have to cut entire programs to fund this odious scheme,” Lambert said.

http://www.bctf.ca/NewsReleases.aspx?id=26215

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=g3cVu1xya2o

video:

Jane Bouey, public education advocate and former COPE Vancouver School Board trustee, speaks to the thousands of teacher and supporter in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on March 7.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

thread drift...

 

Health workers next in line for B.C. labour strife


The B.C. government is facing stiff demands from more than 100,000 health-care providers now bargaining for better contracts in a climate of wage freezes and cost containment.

Efforts to negotiate a settlement with nearly 11,000 doctors, who were quiet when the government released its budget last month, have failed. They have now agreed to participate in Phase 2, a conciliation panel chaired by a retired judge.

The union representing B.C. nurses has agreed to a zero wage increase but is demanding the province hire more than 2,000 nurses to remedy what it is calling a "dangerous" staff shortage.

Anesthesiologists have for months been in an ugly, public back-and-forth over money and staffing levels. They are threatening to withdraw services for elective surgery on April 1 if they are not allowed a seat at the conciliation table....

http://www.timescolonist.com/health/Health+workers+next+line+labour+strife/6299386/story.html#ixzz1p9appPa3

...end thread drift.

Skinny Dipper

Here's the government thinking behind paying teachers more per extra student in a class.  It is cheaper to do this than to hire another teacher to teach 20 -25 extra students.

Skinny Dipper

The removal of senority rights will be a huge blow for teachers.  Essentially, administrators would be able to fire teachers with more senoritiy and more pay with new teachers at less pay.  Also, administrators would be able to fire their best teachers because those teachers may voice their opinions too loudly.  Administrators may want teachers to do some extra work that is not part of the contract.  If teachers disagree, then those administrators could fire those teachers.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

BCTF News Release

March 15, 2012

Education Improvement Act will have the opposite effect in BC schools

With Bill 22 slated to be passed through the BC Legislature this afternoon, teachers across BC are preparing to come together to craft a plan of action to resist the negative impact of the legislation.

 “Teachers know that this government’s so-called Education Improvement Act is going to have the opposite effect in our classrooms throughout the province,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert. “Bill 22 hurts students and attacks teachers’ rights. It will only make working and learning conditions worse.” 

Lambert said Bill 22 will have negative impacts in classrooms because:....

http://www.bctf.ca/NewsReleases.aspx?id=26352

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Christy Clark, George Abbott – meet Jeffrey Moore

There’s a freight train heading for BC’s education system — and it’s not being driven by government or teachers.

This train hit the tracks long before the current collective bargaining dispute. Its operator is an eight-year-old boy from North Vancouver, named Jeffrey Moore. With the support of his family, Jeffrey is driving a human rights case, initiated over a decade ago, which could impact public education in this province in a deeply positive way.

The facts of the case date back to the early 90s, when Jeffrey, a child with Dyslexia, started public elementary school in North Vancouver District 44. Due to his severe learning disability, it was recommended that Jeffrey attend a special program of intensive remediation, provided by the District since 1976, and necessary for him to learn effectively.

Intensive remediation at this early stage of Jeffrey’s life was absolutely critical. But just before his entrance into the program, it was cut.

Budget pressures. Financial crisis. No other option, said the District. Sorry....

http://www.policynote.ca/christy-clark-george-abbott-meet-jeffrey-moore/

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

A sad week for human rights in Canada

“Labour rights are human rights and are a fundamental cornerstone to achieving social and economic justice. Such cavalier disrespect for these fundamental rights is a primary reason why we have unprecedented growing income inequality in Canada.”

Ottawa (16 March 2012) – “Based on the well-respected premise that labour rights are human rights, this has been a sad week for human rights in Canada,” according to James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

Clancy was commenting on the Harper government’s passage of Bill C-33, An Act to provide for the continuation and resumption of air service operations, on Tuesday as well as the BC government’s Bill 22, Education Improvement Act, which was passed in the provincial legislature yesterday.

Both pieces of legislation deny the constitutional rights of Canadian workers. In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the right of workers to bargain collectively was protected by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and any attempt by governments to substantially restrict that right would be viewed as unconstitutional....

http://www.nupge.ca/content/4862/sad-week-human-rights-canada

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..pretty tame stuff.
Jim Sinclair Op-Ed: Teachers Collective Bargaining

http://www.bcfederationist.com/jim-sinclair-op-ed-teachers-collective-ba...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Teachers resist Bill 22, as Education Minister sells public schooling for profit

Today almost 700 delegates to the BCTF’s 96th Annual General Meeting will gather for the first full day of debate on how best to respond to Bill 22 and its attacks on teachers’ rights and students’ learning. At the same time, Education Minister George Abbott is in China “to promote the BC education brand” at an international student recruitment fair.

quote:

A new BCTF research report released today reveals that deeper cuts are to come next year. In this year’s budget the paltry $4 million increase (for full-day Kindergarten) to the 2012–13 operating grants is set against the $112 million needed for school districts just to keep pace with inflation. For details see: http://www.bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Publications/Research_reports/2012-EF-01.pdf 

Furthermore, in recent days an increasing number of school boards have written to Abbott expressing serious concerns about Bill 22 and the damage it will cause to the working relationships within school communities. The imposition of severe limitations on the mediation process is seen as a major obstacle. As one example, see this letter from the Sunshine Coast Board of Education: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=238604796235375

http://bctf.ca/NewsReleases.aspx?id=26369

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Illegal strike urged by some B.C. teachers despite hefty fines

VANCOUVER - A resolute faction of British Columbia's public school teachers is pressing its union to back an illegal strike, convinced that unity among the province's 41,000 educators will catch the government in a bluff.

Representatives of the Victoria local are urging 700 fellow delegates at its parent union's annual convention to vote in favour of walking off the job despite legislation enacted Saturday banning job action for the next six months.

"People feel extremely strongly that we need to actually have this bill repealed," said Tara Ehrcke, president of the 1500-member Greater Victoria Teachers' Association....

http://thetyee.ca/CanadianPress/2012/03/19/Teachers-Dispute-17403486/

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Union dues rise as BCTF prepares for battle against Bill 22

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation is padding its war chest for a sustained battle against the Liberal government and a law it passed last week that affects teacher bargaining and classroom organization.

“We are in a big fight and we need to be ready for it,” Surrey teacher Karen Kilbride said during a vigorous debate about whether the union should raise membership dues or impose a $100-per-person levy. There was broad agreement that something had to be done to replenish the union’s collective bargaining defence fund, which has been drawn down to about $5 million from $11 million since January as a result of efforts to oppose Bill 22....

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Union+dues+rise+BCTF+prepares+battle+against+Bill/6325504/story.html#ixzz1pgxDQtg7

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

On a related note, CUPE 116, The Trades and Ancillary Worker Union at UBC voted in favour of striking by 89% on Thursday. They are also resisting the net-zero mandate which apparently doesn't apply to UBC employees who make more than $75 000. Those managerial and administrative positions received a combined $9-million in raises last year in the form of bonuses or merit pay, or the equivalent of 4% increases on average.

CUPE 2278, the Teaching Assistant Union, of which I am a member, has called a strike vote on Thursday. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

BC teachers adopt a bold plan of action to resist Bill 22

quote:

“In April, all teachers will vote on the plan recommended by the AGM delegates. To be clear, the plan also includes a possibility of a future province-wide vote of members on whether it’s necessary to respond to government actions with a full-scale protest against Bill 22,” Lambert emphasized. “At every step of the way, government has chosen bullying tactics instead of respectfully working with teachers towards a solution.”

Under the plan, teachers will also decide whether to begin a province-wide withdrawal of all voluntary extra-curricular activities. “This government has repeatedly demonstrated such profound disrespect for the work we do that members felt they had to take a stand,” Lambert said. “It’s one of the only options left open under Bill 22.” Local teacher associations in about a dozen school districts have already voted independently to withdraw participation in extra-curricular voluntary activities....

http://www.bctf.ca/NewsReleases.aspx

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Neoliberalism and the Control of Teachers, Students, and Learning:
The Rise of Standards, Standardization, and Accountability

quote:

3. I will then shift to examining the consequences for education in terms of how schooling is regulated and controlled, how students, teachers and schools are evaluated, and what kinds of knowledge and thinking are valued. In particular, I will argue that while conservative politicians have professed that the State should intervene less in the lives of individuals, that, in fact, the opposite has occurred. The State now intervenes from a distance by employing expertise through "technical methods such as accounting and auditing" (Barry, et al, p. 11). Educational policy makers (principally composed of corporate and governmental leaders) reflect this in demands for standards, testing, and accountability.      4. State Education Departments in 49 states have developed standards in the subject areas and a majority of states have implemented high-stakes standardized tests that students are required to pass for promotion from a particular grade or from high school. The imposition of standards and tests has enabled State Education Departments and school district administrators to surveil and assess whether teachers and students have "met" the standards. Consequently, in an effort to raise tests scores teachers are coerced to "teach toward the test" resulting in simplified and degraded teaching and learning....

http://clogic.eserver.org/4-1/hursh.html

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Education dispute ignores Generation Squeeze

quote:

Schools are really the first universal programs to which young families have access, save for medical care. Teachers are among the first responders for Generation Squeeze. They do what they can to compensate for the fact the generation is squeezed for time at home because stagnant wages necessitate more parental time in the labour market; squeezed for income after rising housing costs; and squeezed for services like child care before and after their children start school.

Because the generation raising kids is squeezed, 30 per cent of their children reach kindergarten struggling to hold a pencil, or follow instructions, or get along with peers, or know many of their letters - all age-appropriate tasks. Most of these children live in middle-and upper-income homes and neighbourhoods.

So long as 30 per cent of children arrive at school struggling in these ways, there are seven kids with extra support needs in a class of 24. Ample research evidence reveals there is no reason for this number to reach even three children.....

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Education+dispute+ignores+Generation+Squeeze/6328576/story.html#ixzz1qMFDN3qw

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Dr. Seuss’s take on equal rights seen as too political for schools

Yertle the Turtle quote

In recent years BC teachers have struggled to assert their right to free expression in the face of repeated attempts by the employer to limit our critique and silence our voices.

But the decision by a Prince Rupert school district official to ban a quote from Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle really takes the cake. The absurdity of the edict has tickled funny bones across the continent, and the story has gone viral in mainstream and social media across North America.

The controversial quote reads:

“I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down here on the bottom we, too, should have rights.”

The story began after Joanna Larson, president of the Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union, tweeted that one of her members had been told by district management that she could be disciplined for having the quote visible on her clothing or in her vehicle when it was parked on school property.

"We feel very censored here right now. We have feelings that our rights to freedom of expression have been violated," Larson said. So far eight teachers have received letters of direction from management about wearing or displaying political messages. The letters said teachers should contact the human resources manager if clarification is needed, and at least one teacher did.

One creative Post-Media reporter wrote an introduction that would likely have made Dr. Seuss himself chuckle: “They cannot, they must not quote Dr. Seuss. Not in the school. Not in the hall. Not in B.C. No, not at all.”

Published in 1958, the eponymous story tells of a feisty little turtle who dares to question the demands of the despotic King Yertle, who wants to see far away from the pond and thereby expand his empire, even beyond the moon. He commands more and more turtles to stack themselves beneath him. Mack, the bottom turtle suffering under the weight of his fellow subjects, asks for mercy but is rudely rebuffed by the arrogant king. Ultimately a burp from Mack topples the whole tower and sends Yertle tumbling into the muddy pond. Dr. Seuss has stated that the story is an allegory in which Yertle’s ambition represents Adolph Hitler and his zeal to take over Europe.

Meanwhile Prince Rupert teachers have been given approval to use a number of other quotations and slogans including “I am free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong,” by former Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.

https://www.bctf.ca/announcements.aspx?id=26837&libID=26827