Let’s get straight to the heart of the matter Government
is trying to knock us off our game. They are trying to confuse us and
the public with statistics, ads, and other kinds of information.
Teachers, however, are strong and resolved. We are clear and we know what needs to happen:
Teachers need a fair deal on salary. We have not had a raise since 2010.
Kids deserve better support. Class size, class composition, and staffing levels for specialist teachers must be improved.
BC’s per-student funding second-worst in the country. It’s time for government to reinvest in education.
These are the three key reasons why we need to keep our picket lines
strong and well organized. Public support has been terrific and is
holding. Strong picket lines show both the public and the government
that we are still determined and undeterred.
We know that going
on strike is never easy. Besides losing pay, strikes can add to stress
and worry. Employers never give rights to workers without workers
fighting to get them. And that’s what we’re in right now, a fight not
only to better ourselves as teachers, but to improve and protect what we
love to do, teaching children in a properly funded public education
system. We’re also protecting what we’ve won in the courts—twice!
Government needs to “get in the zone” It was not lost on us that Premier Christy Clark stood in an industrial setting wearing her hard hat
responding to questions about the BCTF’s call for mediation. Many
observers feel that Clark poisoned the well with her comment that “no
credible mediator” would step in at this point.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender and BCPSEA chief negotiator Peter
Cameron are constantly repeating that the two parties are “too far
apart” for mediation to work. The whole purpose of mediation is to find
common ground when the parties are apart. Quite frankly, we see this
line as a ruse to sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of teachers and
the public. Furthermore, the BCTF did revise its salary proposal.
BCPSEA responded that it wasn’t good enough. Then we proposed a
class-size and class-composition fund. BCPSEA did not even respond to
Their mantra of “too far apart” has become
tiresome and unhelpful and begs the question: are BCPSEA and the
government really interested in reaching a deal? At this point, it is
government that needs to get in the zone—in
particular, on funding necessary to meaningfully address classroom
conditions. We moved to them on salary, now they need to move to us.
Government's excuse for not bargaining Over
the weekend, social media was buzzing with links to videos,
info-graphics, and other creative responses to the government’s full-page ad
in Friday’s 24 Hours newspaper on the “zone of affordability.” What is a
“zone of affordability” anyway? To us, it sounds like lingo from the
Fraser Institute or an inexplicable slogan from an expensive public
relations firm. And, as stated previously it’s government that needs to
get into the zone.
However, teachers and the public were quick
on the mark to respond to the misleading ad with spoofs of their own.
Here are a few of the many responses:
Here’s a great graphic that points out the real tragedies of the Liberal’s “affordability zone.”
Jim Nelson, educator and writer, published a blog this past weekend listing recent wage settlements in both the private and public sector in BC.
Andrew Weaver, Green Party MLA, gave the government a failing grade on how they came up with the math. Vince Ready occupied with truckers’ dispute Some
reports have questioned why the BCTF would propose Vince Ready as a
mediator without confirming his availability first. BCTF President Jim
Iker talked with Vince Ready on two occasions and he said although he
was very busy, he did not rule out taking on our mediation. Iker also
discussed mediation with BCPESEA negotiator Peter Cameron, who also
expressed concern that Ready might not be available until later in the
week. Both sides were hoping for a Monday start.
However, on Sunday Ready contacted Iker to say he would be unable to take on the mediation citing prior commitments. Unfortunately,
the truckers’ dispute with Port Metro Vancouver has heated up again.
Just because Ready is not available does not mean mediation is no longer
an option. The BCTF will continue to pursue it as a means of resolving
our dispute. We believe that if mediation is to work, the government and
its representatives need to end their rhetoric, take the process
seriously, and move off their entrenched positions.
Upcoming rallies Monday, June 23 4:00 p.m. NANAIMO - March from Wall Street to Maffeo Sutton Park for a 5:00 p.m. rally Tuesday, June 24 6:00 p.m.PRINCE GEORGE—2100 Ferry Ave Wednesday, June 25 4:00 p.m. POWELL RIVER—Old Arena Site at Willingdon Beach 5:00 p.m.KAMLOOPS—Riverside Park Band Shell Thursday, June 26 1:00 p.m.VICTORIA—Provincial Legislature Have you called your MLA? Many
of you have sent letters to Premier Clark, Minister Fassbender, MLAs,
and trustees, calling on them to agree to mediation. We believe all of
your efforts helped them to say yes. Please keep up the pressure. If you
haven’t contacted your MLA or trustees yet, please do so today. If you
already have, now is a good time to follow up with a phone call or an
There is also a new poster
saying “We support teachers” on the BCTF website that you can plaster
around the community, encourage local businesses and shops to display in
their windows, etc. Thank you once again for all your tremendous work
towards a fair deal for teachers and better support for kids.
Here are the links to contact MLAs and school districts. Your local office will have direct contact information for trustees.
Peace River North Teachers' Association