Victoria teachers are becoming increasingly concerned that the Victoria School Board appears to have no real interest or commitment to bargaining a new collective agreement before the June 30, 2011 deadline. This is the date that the current agreement expires.
The Board has met with teachers for 2 1/2 days, and has agreed to only 1 more day. The teachers' negotiating team has advised the Board that there are 45 items teachers wish to discuss.
In the last negotiating session, the Board's Secretary-Treasurer, George Ambeault, told the teachers' negotiating team that they may as well be talking to the "white board".
It reminds me of a blog entry from a student at Vancouver Island University commenting on the four week strike. They were remarking on the fact that the University had not sat down to bargain from May - November 2010. That led to a four week strike when negotiations actually took place.
The Greater Victoria Teachers' Association (GVTA) invited School District 61 to the bargaining table on January 4, 2011. This is a full six months prior to the end of our current collective agreement. The Board agreed to a single morning session, in early March. At that session, the GVTA provided 44 days of availability to meet and bargain. The Board agreed to only 2.
In order to avoid job action, it is incumbent on all parties to meet in good faith well before agreements expire.
I hope School District 61 Trustees will come to the table to negotiate with Victoria teachers before we too face the expiry of our agreement this June.