I read Lori Appleton’s letter with some interest. I have had extensive experience in my work life with labour relations and collective bargaining. I am also the parent of a teacher of 15 years experience and a grandfather of a 12 year old. Lori raises a very critical point but she also missed another one.
Never have I experienced a situation wherein one party would repeatedly state they were ready to bargain but their terms to do so requires the other party to accept their position which has remained unchanged since the beginning. That is not bargaining. That is dictatorship. As Lori points out, what labour union would sign a deal that says if the employer loses an arbitration case the employer can tear up the agreement? None, in my view.
This whole episode is based on bad faith on the part of the government from the get go. The ministry has continued to fund private schools to the tune of around $12,500 per student yet has no money for public education.
The teachers, unlike other public service unions have had no raise since 2010. I wonder how many other public service unions would have accepted that situation. The government has to recognize that.
On the other hand, the BCTF has not been realistic from what we can read in the press on hear on TV.
Yes, they won in court twice and the government just went around the court rulings and introduced Bill 22 which restated the terms of the two bills the course ruled against. Cynical, while costing taxpayer thousands while the government goes to court, but to expect that the government can reinstate the status quo of 2002 12 years later in one step is not realistic. Has anyone at the table ever heard the term “progressive improvement is better than instant perfection”?
I have seen and heard what the impact is of class size and extremely limited support for special needs kids on teachers, staff and indeed kids in the class. The parties need to start talking about how they can address class size and support over time. A five year window would be my suggestion. This would give teachers hope, help all kids in the classroom and allow the government time to adjust the financial side of the equation in incremental steps.
Fassbender has to get his head out of the clouds and deal with reality as does the BCTF.
Alex Currie (Sr.) Chemainus