Tuesday 16 September 2014

Congratulations teachers! We have stuck to our guns and will be voting on contract ratification on Thursday!   (Polling details TBA)
Despite all the talk in the media, we do not yet have any of the tentative language that we will be voting on. Michele will get that out to us as soon as possible!
We understand that discussions regarding a 'return to work' plan are on-going - please DO NOT go in to your school before the details are determined!
We will continue to maintain picket lines today and tomorrow.

Monday 15 September 2014


The Peace River North Teachers’ Association will make available interest-free loans to those members whose financial situation has reached an EMERGENCY level as a result of a recent strike or general hardship.

Applications open September 15th 8:00am and close September 21, 10:00pm. Time stamp will not impact decisions.

 We anticipate cheques being available by Tuesday, September 23rd.

Each application will be assessed on its own merit.

The maximum amount for a loan based on availability of funds is $1000

The terms of repayment are as follows:
* To be paid back by June 30, 2015
* Or, if leaving the district prior to June 30, 2015, to be paid in full before you leave

Priority for applications will be given in the following order:
* Single parent/ single income parent with dependents living at home
* Teaching couples with dependents living at home
* Other teachers, based on need

We will try to accommodate as many applicants as possible; therefore, your requested amounts may not be fully funded.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Financial Support via BCTF Advantage:

Earlier this summer we advised members that our Advantage partner, Ellis Mortgages Canada (EMC) was available to provide a free service to BCTF members to assist them through this difficult period.  EMC is a financial services firm that may be able to assist current homeowners with restructuring their debt in a variety of ways:
·       reduce mortgage payments
·       access funds for short or long term needs
·       reduce or eliminate credit cards and loan debt
·       arrange lines of credit
Over summer 2014, the average size for lines of credit for BCTF members has been around $25,000.  Deals have processed in as little as three days, typically taking about a week.  In 2013 EMC was able to save clients an average of $450 per month in regular mortgage payments (for those seeking to reduce monthly payments).

All BCTF members are encouraged to contact EMC to discuss your options in order to ensure you are making the best financial decisions.  EMC representatives can be reached at 1-604-739-0320.

Some BCTF members who have worked with EMC recently shared their thoughts on EMC:

"A high level of expertise and prompt, personal service—[we] trust our analyst to get the job done.  [Our broker] understood our financial situation precisely and was never judgmental.  Best rates anywhere!"

“This was my third mortgage with Ellis Mortgages and I have been completely impressed with the patience and time given to explain each step of the process and for the mortgage analyst to find out about my individual situation.  I felt the mortgage analyst genuinely cared to help obtain the best rates she could and had my best interest at heart.  This is very important to me when choosing who to do business with.  I am so sorry I didn't know about Ellis Mortgages earlier.  I highly recommend them and have no reservations about doing so.”

“Thank you EMC! Your staff consistently demonstrates professional, knowledgeable advice in a patient and personable manner. I feel confident refinancing my mortgage with your company.  My sincere thanks.”

“I appreciated [my broker’s] hand-holding and understanding during those days when I’d call every few hours.”

“Very hands on; kept me in the loop.  Very happy with the service, thank you!”

“My mortgage analyst saved me stress and time.  He was courteous, polite, and helpful.  He answered all my questions, was very patient, and generous with his time.”


Sarbrinder Lalli
Assistant Director
Income Security Division
British Columbia Teachers' Federation
Toll free: 1-800-663-9163 Local 1890

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Here is the link to the amazing YouTube video created by teachers!  FN teachers rock!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKWhqgxpDYQ
Please check out this Global TV interview.  Well worth watching!

Tuesday 9 September 2014

September 9, 2014

Have your say and vote tomorrow

Every BCTF member will have the chance to vote tomorrow to support the BCTF Executive Committee’s recommendation calling on BCPSEA to drop Article E.80 and enter into binding arbitration. Teachers would return to work once the government agrees to this process, meaning that schools could reopen promptly.

Support for binding arbitration is picking up speed throughout the province. Mayors, counsellors, school trustees, the NDP, and affiliated unions of the BC Federation of Labour are also calling on the government to enter into binding arbitration as a fair and practical way to resolve this dispute.

Each local will be conducting the vote in the way that suits them best. Some locals have decided to take ballot boxes to the picket lines while others will conduct the vote at local offices. If you are unsure of the voting arrangements in your community, please contact your local president for more information. Every vote counts, so please take the time to have your say.

Public sector unions write to Premier Clark: Stop using our settlements as fodder for your rhetoric

BC public sector unions are sending a message to the Premier that they stand in solidarity with BC teachers and are urging her to accept the proposal for binding arbitration.

 “The Premier is attempting to use other settlements in the public sector to create a divide among workers in the province,” said BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair.  “This tactic is not only an insult to working people in BC, but it also shows how little the Premier understands and respects the collective bargaining process.”

The letter states:

This set of negotiationslike every other table in the public sectorhas unique challenges and opportunities. Each union goes to the bargaining table to address their own specific needs; we strongly support the BCTF in determining their own path and negotiating for a fair collective agreement that ensures quality education for all of the children in BC.

We have each negotiated our own collective agreements. For those who have settled, wage increases and benefit improvements varied from sector to sector. They all have unique features and each path to settlement was different.

We urge you to immediately stop attributing your refusal to bargain critical issues with teachers because you want to be “fair to other public sector workers.”
If you want to be fair to all public sector workers, send the outstanding issues to binding arbitration as proposed by the BCTF and remove E80 from the bargaining table.

Our unions stand in solidarity with BC teachers in their efforts to win a fair collective agreement and improve educational resources for BC’s children.

Read their letter in full here.
September 9, 2014 – 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM (advance poll)
September 10, 2014 - 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
(regular poll)
Voting will be available ONLY at the PRNTA Office at 10142 100th Avenue (just East of the Lido Theatre)
Street parking is limited but there is an open lot across from the Lido Theatre
 The ballot reads:
Do you agree with the BCTF Executive Committee recommendation that, if BCPSEA drops E80 and agrees to BCTF’s proposal to enter into binding interest arbitration and to leave court-related matters to the court, the current strike be ended?
Yes               ☐ No

Thursday 4 September 2014

From Christian Obeck

Parents Actively Protest on September 2nd!
You want to know why the BCTF and the Liberals are in a current stalemate in their negotiations. It's pretty simple, but I can't believe it took me until now to figure it out. If I’m wrong, please let me know.
Everything goes back to Justice Griffin's ruling by the BC Supreme Court. As many of you know, Justice Griffin ruled against the BC Liberals and found them guilty of illegally tearing up a legally-binding, negotiated contract (a contract which had class size and composition language in it). The Liberals were also found to have negotiated in bad faith, having goaded the BCTF into a strike position.
Because the ruling is currently under appeal, the Liberals have been able to avoid re-instating the classroom size and composition language into the present contract. But this is the BIG CRUX, and this is why we are in a current stalemate: if the Liberals legislate teachers back to work, they will confirm to the courts that they are once again unable to negotiate a contract with teachers. The Griffin ruling will therefore remain as the most 'current' language in the contract. But, and this is a big but, if the BCTF 'accepts' the current offer on the table (an offer that does not have any class size or composition guarantees), then the Griffin ruling (moving forward) will be seen as null and void. In other words, a 'negotiated' agreement will be viewed as the most present and legal contract moving forward.
And that is why we are at a current stalemate in bargaining. If the BCTF accepts anything 'less' than what the courts have already awarded them (but actually don't yet have because of the appeal), then they will have to accept these terms moving forward. It will invariably trump the Griffin ruling and any hopes of re-establishing classroom size and composition to past levels. Why would the BCTF accept anything less than what the courts have told them is legally theirs?
In my opinion, the BCTF have no choice but to NOT accept the current Liberal offer, an offer that is not even close to what Justice Griffin has already awarded them. As a result, it is absolutely crucial that the BCTF out-wait the Liberals and stay on strike. And yet, on the flip-side this is extremely difficult for teaching professionals who both want to start school on time AND earn their first pay cheque in 10 weeks.
The only hope, then, is that the people of this province do not allow the Liberals to keep schools closed through September. Because, in all honesty, they are NOT acting on behalf of our children, they are merely taking a political stance that (yes, I agree) would allow them to continue their fiscal austerity when it comes to funding education. And, to a certain degree, this was their campaign promise. And the people of BC did vote them in.
The BCTF simply can't fold on this one. The courts have spoken. They won fair and square in the courts. Only an appeal keeps them away from this. The BCTF (teachers) are simply standing up for what the courts have legally awarded them.
It is a historical moment in BC regarding how education is funded. While we all want our children in school, hopefully the above has helped to explain why we are at a current stalemate. Accepting a deal that is anything less at this moment in time just doesn’t make sense. The Liberals hold the cards in terms of starving teachers out; the teachers hold the biggest card, however: the Griffin ruling. Kids and parents hold no cards--except for your willingness to protest starting September 2nd.
As a parent, and now knowing what we know, I think its time that we all take a side. We need to get off the fence and be active. Whatever side you choose, please be active on September 2nd.
Christian Obeck