Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tentative agreement - Yes or No?

Despite what I know was a herculean effort on the part of our bargaining team, I very much hope that BC teachers will vote no to the tentative agreement. After five weeks of strike, and twelve years of legal battles, this is not the deal that will restore sanity to public education and it is not a fair deal for teachers and students. Just as teachers in Saskatchewan rejected a deal to ensure a better outcome, I hope BC teachers will consider a no vote to let our team know we have to go back to the bargaining table.

Class size, composition

The agreement provided a modified LIF fund starting at $75 million per year and increasing to $85 by the last year. It is for teachers only, which will mean a slight improvement in Districts where sizeable portions were spent on Education Assistants or senior District staff rather than teachers. However, in an average size District like Victoria (20,000 students, 1,000 teachers), this will translate into about 5-10 more teachers. That is one for every five schools. To put it in comparison, Justice Griffin's judgement estimated the lost funding due to lost class size language at about $330 million in current dollars. (Read more here about the proposed Education Fund.)

I heard so many teachers speak up about the need to ensure that we do not return to over-crowded classes when the strike ends. This agreement does very little to alleviate what is the most pressing issue.

Throwing away the court victory

The agreement provides a "reopener" in the event we win on appeal our class size language. What this means is that the language returns, but is not implemented until new language is negotiated. Without the actual implementation of the returned language, there will be very little incentive for the government to bargain it back. We would essentially be back in the very same position we are in today, with government trying to bargain it out and us trying to bargain it back in. In my opinion, even if we were legislated back to work we would be in a superior position. If we won the appeal the government would then be forced to implement the language. We are thus throwing away our historic court victory and the bargaining pressure it potentially creates.

The reopener is really only mildly less offensive than E80. In both cases, we have to bargain back what was illegally taken from our contract and the government will probably never have to restore it. In fact, the "reopener" creates the perfect opportunity for government to lock us out to try and force us to agree to something far inferior.

Throwing away the remedy for the last twelve years

The agreement provides $105 million to compensate for grievances over-sized classes for the last twelve years. Using Justice Griffin's estimates, our loss is roughly $300 million times 12 = over $3 billion. I cannot fathom how $105 million is a fair compromise. The BCTF's original proposal to put this money back into the system was a more fair and productive approach. This agreement means we can no longer go to the courts for a fair remedy.

Wages

The agreement is very close to government's original offer. While I would be willing to accept this if the class size language was returned, teachers should not be taking such a significant monetary loss without the commensurate gain in working conditions. We have lost roughly 12% of our annual salary. We will not make that back in the term of the contract. With inflation now running at 2% per annum, this salary agreement is a pay cut.

Minimal improvements

There are very minimal improvements in preparation time for elementary teachers (10 minutes per week), and TTOC daily rate. The TTOC daily rate change may depend on your grid placement. It could actually be a wage loss for long term TTOCs who are above category 5 and step 7. There is also $11 million in health and dental benefits. At 40,000 members, this is $275 each. Hardly worth consideration in the context of the rest of the agreement.

What next?

There are a variety of options if we vote no. We can continue the strike. We can choose to return to work and continue bargaining. We do not, and should not, accept an agreement that doesn't meet our needs and doesn't meet the needs of students and public education. When Saskatchewan teachers rejected the first deal which had 5.5% wage increases over four years, the second deal had 7.3% increases over four years. They have said this still isn't good enough.

For us, our main issue is classroom conditions. We need to say this isn't good enough. The way to do that is to vote no.

124 comments:

  1. The EC recommendation states the open clause will be argued from restored language. However, selling our grievances for nothing as the 105 million is strike savings, is plenty of reason to vote no. Further, no composition caps, but a fund controlled by Superintendents is enough reason to vote no. Thursday I will vote no.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Re-opener also says "education fund" in place until new language bargained, so old language can disappear forever.

      Delete
  2. Government starved us to death hoping we'd vote yes to whatever deal they'd offer. Planned it from the start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We can sill choose (collectively) to return to work if we reject this deal. Many options.

      Delete
    2. Great analysis, Tara! I think that returning to work would be a bad idea. This will frustrate parents more if they need to find new ways to deal with taking care fo kids. USe the money given to you by the other unions. I am a teacher who had to quit for stress over the terrible condition of work (split FI grade 4/5, several low LD kids with little support, one severe with no support, 2 gifted (no support), and a principal who expected me to teach 2 separate social studies AND science programs)

      Delete
  3. Good points by all but the gov't succeeded in starving my family out and completly breaking us. I will be voting YES and live to fight another day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Fight another day'? In the last twelve years that we have been pushing back against this government, never has the tide tide been so much with teachers, class size/composition, and public education - and never has the government been pushed back onto the ropes (especially with the call for binding arbitration). What 'other day' is being proposed that we wait for? Now is the time. Vote 'no' and give the BCTF bargaining team a renewed mandate to get a decent deal for students and teachers.

      Delete
    2. "Another day" means to wake up and realize that 2more weeks means my family of 5 could lose our home. It means I will do all I can to recall Cc, Factbender, and other mla's, and maybe even having "a guy I know" have a chat with them. In year 1 of their reign, I don't believe they even know what "the ropes" are. I will vote YES ...for my family, and I can live with that

      Delete
    3. Sorry to hear this, but there is money available. Other unions have given some money for people in your situation. I hear Van City is offering loans free of %. I hope you can wait and ask for support! The BCTF should help you!

      Delete
  4. Just a question: When the Saskatchewan teachers voted no, had they already been on strike for 5 weeks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. They are working with no contract. They are not on strike.

      Delete
    2. I am a Saskatchewan teacher. We are not on strike; we are currently in the conciliation process after voting "no" to 2 previous offers

      Delete
  5. Can we truly return to work without agreeing and continue bargaining? When I suggested returning to work a few weeks ago, the answer was "being on strike puts pressure on the gov't and without pressure they have no reason to settle." And can you explain more how legislating us back would be better than agreeing to this deal? And finally, why would the BCTF executive put forward a deal that was not a good one?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because they need confirmation of the resolve of the membership to get something better. That is what a no vote does.

      Delete
  6. some great points to ponder, tara......thinking thinking....

    ReplyDelete
  7. If we vote 'no' to the tentative deal we still have options:
    We'd not have a contract. But we could...
    a) strike with full picket lines
    b) partially strike with phase 1 (work-to-rule) in schools
    c) partially strike with periodic/rotating job action
    d) continue negotiating
    e) return to work and re-escalate strike
    f) some/all of the above

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. a) will expedite matters (I say less that 3 days)

      Delete
  8. I am thinking that a legislated, crappier contract would only be in effect for 2 years max (before elections...). If we take this offer, then we will be agreeing to this pseudo-E80. Should we win the court case (which we likely will), we will have to settle on the terms of the THIS negotiated contract which doesn't actually restore learning conditions; it simply allows for those conditions to be negotiated. If we say n, then we default to the 2002 contract, which DOES restore the language. A "yes" vote is saying that we are good on "crumbs"; a "no" vote is saying we want an actual meal. That's my understanding, anyway. Please correct me where I am wrong, Tara. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And word is IF they legislate, they could opt to legislate back Grade 10-12 only causing the union to have to lay off all teachers and re-hire based on seniority. That will tear the union at the seams pitting teacher against teacher for those positions.

      Delete
    2. There will be a general strike if that were to happen! They better not do this. They will regret it.

      Delete
  9. Some good points on the background of our fight over the past 12 years, which I have been actively engaged in; however we need to recognize the climate we are in. We are not in Sask. people! We have just come through a very long summer!! We need to thank our @bctf bargaining team & recognize the toll this has taken on all of us & our families. I don't have the luxury of more time on the strike line. This may be as good as it gets. Let's read the agreement and consider getting back to work and making some $ again! That's my 2 cents worth, which would come in really handy right now!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear this, but there is money available. Other unions have given some money for people in your situation. I hear Van City is offering loans free of %. I hope you can wait and ask for support! The BCTF should help you!

      Delete
  10. Go back in work to rule mode. Work this winter to recall every Liberal MLA. ThAt is the only way to apply pressure to these criminals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Recall! Not sure who won the battle but the war is still on

      Delete
    2. Well said Kate... I agree 100%

      Delete
    3. I think say NO and a better deal will be done in less than 3 days. These guys are not criminals, they are lower than that. I bet they get a sick pleasure in hurting the kids and the teachers.

      Delete
    4. An official recall is in the works:

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/316129595235450/?fref=ts

      Please consider joining.

      Delete
    5. Leah - do you honestly think anyone who voted BC Liberal did so thinking that they would act any differently on the education file?

      Delete
  11. I am glad to see other members who share my views. I am outraged at a 1.2 percent "raise" in salary per year that doesn't even meet inflation of currently 2%. I feel used and abused.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not to mention all of the other pittance! I am actually surprised that Iker asked teachers to vote on this!

      Delete
  12. Hi Tara
    Thanks for the summary! Will we be able to vote NO to the deal, but vote YES to returning to work? Will there be three options when we vote Thursday?
    Why did the BCTF agree to a substandard deal for us? If we vote no to a deal that was recommended to us, the teachers look like the bad guys and public approval will plummet. I am very disappointed and frustrated

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Public approval will not necessarily plummet. I have seen strikes where the membership has voted against the executive's "best results to date", and ended up with a better offer. This offer is an insult. The $300 million will not bring funding to the national average (I believe). More importantly, the wage offer is half of the average wage increase for public and private workers (StatsCan).

      Delete
  13. Thank you, Tara. My thoughts too, more clearly expressed. As well, Thursday is too soon to vote, too soon to vote, too soon to vote........

    ReplyDelete
  14. Vote no and lose every shred of public support...just sayin!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a member of the public and would support a "no" vote. js!.

      Delete
    2. Richard Chalke, NO you won't! I am a mother with 3 adopted special needs children who need to be in a class that is designed for them and others like them (my kids are academically slightly delayed but their issues are more social and behavioural) where they can receive the education they deserve taught in a way they can comprehend. I will speak now for all the parents I know, and we will support the teacher's if they continue to fight for our children's best interest.

      Delete
    3. It might not be pretty at first, but once we explain things (and I hope the Mandarin-speaking teachers flood the Richmond organization that voiced their concerns), they will back us. The 3 billions that the judge came to is the first I hear about. This should be stated to every newsmedia comment section in the province. Minimize pickets and flood those outlets with commenters, just like the Liberals do.

      Delete
    4. I am a member of the public and a single Mother of a child in the public school system. You will NOT lose one bit of my support if you vote no. I know that you are sacrificing so that my child can have a better education, and I am most grateful for it.

      Having said that, I also know that you are exhausted and broke. I have been dreading that you may have to settle for less than what you (we) deserve because the government succeeded in breaking you. I am not in your shoes, so cannot judge. If the vote is a yes, I understand and I am still behind you.

      Delete
  15. It is a crap deal. It's always a crap deal. Once you raise the stakes to striking, anything else is a cave in. The last time we walked out was the 3 day illegal strike where I threw away 1200$ and got EXACTLY the same contract I had the year before. The BCTF called it a win because they didn't rip up MORE of my contract. Ridiculous. There are a few of us that believe that working to contract, doing 100% of your teaching job and nothing more (like paying for supplies out of your own pocket or EC) is the only way teachers will survive this government. What if they get re-elected again? Then what? Teachers have lost thousands to these clowns to make "statements" about the state of public education in this province. We can't keep sacrificing ourselves and our families. And in the meantime, you talk to parents about why you have to take this crappy road. Because up until this strike they mostly didn't care about the state of education, but god forbid you didn't run a Sports Day. Then suddenly they wanted to know what the hell was going on. Keep the conversation going in schools. Attend your PAC meetings and stop enabling this govt to underfund and overwork the system. And still get paid!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am very excited at the prospect of returning to my beloved job on Friday. However I will NOT continue to put my personal money into my classroom and I will be seriously reconsidering my involvement in extra curriculars. I think we shoot ourselves in the foot with all the unpaid work we so willingly volunteer to do.

      Delete
  16. I heard a rumour last week from a loose lipped government insider that after the 22nd, depending on the outcome of the negotiations the Liberals were going to announce a 3 step process. I was not clear if this was based on 3 steps to resolve the strike (perhaps the 3rd step is legislation??) or 3 steps to overhaul the education system, either way, they will settle it outright. I wish you all luck and all the information that you need to make a sound decision of what you feel is best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have heard similar rumours. On the 23rd, the gov. was planning on introducing a $6000 per year voucher system for 3 choices: an academic or trades program, or something called EducationCanada. Not clear whether their intention was to privatize the public system, de-certify teachers and hire them back under new wage/benefits. Not clear where these rumours originated from. Maybe fear tactics to get teachers to vote yes. In any event, I plan on voting yes. I signed up to be a teacher, not a martyr. This strike has cost us a lot. We need to regain our livelihood and hopefully continue the conversation about class composition. We have at least awakened many people to the issue, and the court case is still an avenue that could eventually improve teaching and learning conditions.

      Delete
    2. I urge all teachers to fight and say NO to this deal. Retired teacher who had to retire because horrendous work conditions. Make me proud. They will not last long if you say NO! I know this is tough, but there is money and I hear that Van City does offer loan at low to 0 %. Banks do allow you to miss a mortgage payment. Go talki to your banker.

      Delete
  17. Will school districts require teachers to make up missed days, as suggested in the media? Will the school calendar be changing to make up for the missed three weeks and if so will we be made aware of those changes PRIOR to the vote?

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Wages..... We will not make that back in the term of the contract. With inflation now running at 2% per annum, this salary agreement is a pay cut."

    And that is the cost of going on strike!!! There is nothing that can be done about that. You cannot go on strike and put up the raise you want every week to compensate for your time on strike - it doesn't work that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe the missing "..." Suggests that they meant to refer to the losses against inflation since the last wage step increase. Thus this contract does not allow us to recover the buying power lost to inflation since the last non contract or "0%" year. Add those up and compare against the proposed increase and you see that by the end of the contract, we won't be able to afford the same value of goods (loaves of bread, watts of energy, litres of gas) that we could at the end of the last contracts term. It was not a comment about wages that were lost in the strike. Those are really small potatoes when compared to the grinding power of inflation over years and years. The next contract will use this latest for a bench mark so these losses to inflation will grind at all teachers for as long as they teach. A death of a thousand cuts to our ability to afford basic goods and services. Any raise less than inflation is a cut to the value placed on us and on our ability to pay our bills.

      Delete
  19. Having lost $20,000 (including summer school wages) as the single income for a family of five is far too much; I will be voting YES to the deal, unless the independently wealthy teachers out there who wish to continue the strike will pay my bills and mortgage for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ed S. With all due respect (and I mean that), how did you lose $20,000 in the strike? Teachers were out 2 weeks (all out) before they were supposed to be in June, and now 3 weeks for the start of school? It is my understanding that teachers don't get paid through the summer months. Please correct me if I'm wrong, wherever I'm wrong. Shouldn't you have been financially alright for the summer months at least? Also all teachers knew this strike had a possibility of extending into the new school year but no one teacher budgeted for this possibility? I'm truly just trying to get a clear picture of where this all stems. NO disrespect intended.

      Delete
    2. Kelly, not Ed but if you look at the numbers there was the 10% lockout haircut in May/June plus the loss of most of June and the loss of much of September. In our 1 teacher (1 non) household we calculated a $9 K - $10 K loss so far. If you add summer school earnings you can easily make the loss in the $20 k zone.

      As for budgeting, we budget for the summer, but did not expect the 10% haircut, nor the loss of June/Sept days which completely messed our budgeting calculations. A very good friend (single teaching mother) was crushed by the loss of the June income and is without a penny today.

      Delete
    3. The only one who didn't get a haircut was Jim Iker... and he needs one more than anyone else. What's with that over-coiffed 70"s mullet Jim? Does wonders for the BCTF brand image!

      Delete
    4. Jim's hair is not open for discussion in a respectful space like this. As for his salary, he is a teacher who does not get paid when we are on strike.

      Delete
  20. If I thought they could do any better I would agree with voting NO, but you have to be realistic. The BCTF does not use professionals to bargain and always ends up with much less than they promise the membership when asking for a strike vote. While this is not a great deal for teachers, I really think you're fooling yourself if you think it'll get any better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BCTF needs to be replaced with younger more adept representatives and advocates. Also, we should be hiring professional contract negotiators - you don't go into battle with cut throat corporate types with a wooden knife.

      Delete
    2. This is BAD deal! Say NO to it and show those (expletives) that we will not take it anymore! Come on! Show them that teachers have a spine! They will respect us, oddly!

      Delete
  21. I agree with Richard. Those in the public that are uniformed would be furious, and there are many teachers who just can't afford to use their wages as their voice any longer - too much has already been donated to the government. In my opinion, the deal is pretty lame. I am sitting on the fence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. So true!!! I cannot afford to fight this battle for public education any longer. Why is this my personal and professional obligation??? However I think this deal is weak weak weak. I also think its the best we are going to get. Ideologically I'm on the fence but my wallet will vote YES.

      Delete
  22. My wife and I will be voting "Yes" on Thursday for it is the middle path. The easy path would have been for us to go back to school with E-80 & E-81 over our heads. The difficult path would be for us to vote "No" and put our mortgage at risk and having to continue asking retired parents for handouts to feed a family with three kids. The middle path is the wisest choice for us considering the current political climate in which those who do not teach are the quickest to judge it harshly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand that this is really tough for you! I almost died teaching a few month ago. I had to quit. Please consider holding on and say no. Remember the short loss in salary will be offset in the LONG-RUn by better salary increase. This is a joke! They will be laughing at you even more if we accept this. This is a very bad deal! However, I do respect your position!

      Delete
  23. Why would classroom conditions be better on October 9th after being legislated back? We have been outplayed because of our stubborn refusal to outdated, tired old tactics. It is because of these actions that have led us to this terrible deal. Time to reset, regroup and stock up for the long haul. Can't do it if half the members commit hara kiri on themselves. We are a union of professionals not a cult.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could you please advise which tactics you believe could have been used to secure a superior deal?

      Delete
    2. Full disclosure: I'm a BC Liberal supporter.

      The only people who would benefit from a NO vote are the BC Liberals. Teachers would be bargaining with no leverage whatsoever and would be viewed by a large segment of the population as unreasonable. The BC Liberals then get portray themselves as the only party capable of dealing with the BCTF. schreck! says that the BCTF has the government on the ropes, but he couldn't be farther from the truth. The government wants people to view the BCTF as their primary opponent. Disputes like this just shore up the BC Liberal base and protect its right flank. Any half-baked recall campaign will only reinforce that.

      It's true teachers aren't going to recoup the lost wages from the strike. I would suggest to you that that means this job action was probably not in teachers' interests, especially without any sort of appreciable strike fund. This is the best deal teachers were ever going to get with this government and people should have been able to recognize that in June.

      If you want my advice (which you probably don't), it would be to spend the next 5 years building up a strike fund, electing better leaders, and hiring a professional negotiating team. Don't bring a knife to a gunfight and expect things to go well. Focus on getting the best deal you can from whoever the government is rather than trying to change the government, the HST, Kinder Morgan or a thousand different issues that distract from education and erode the union's finances further. You'd be doing yourself a favour, and probably doing the NDP a favour at the same time.

      Also, if schreck! is David Schreck, you can thank his opposition to STV for the last two BC Liberal majorities. I know I do.

      Delete
    3. One step would be to stop making political contributions to the NDP. This only contributes to the childish animosity and lack of trust that has constantly characterized negotiations. How else can the Socreds/Liberals view teachers except as enemies when they so publicly support their opponents. This stupid confrontational immature approach has to STOP!!!!! Education should not be a political fight when it is so obviously a valuable benefit to our society. It was an NDP government that legislated teachers back to work in 1993. Stop making education a political fight.

      Delete
    4. I don't think they have to go that far. CUPE and the Nurses still contribute to the NDP yet they don't have the same acrimonious relationship. CUPE and the Nurses just make their members their priority, and broader advocacy second.

      Delete
    5. Ryan (possibly a Liberal paid commenter), with all due respect, I disagree with you. The cumulative increase in lieu of this will be better. Give teachers time in the media and blogs to expose the joke that this contract is. We can win the public opinion battle. We have 40,000 teachers who can.

      I say to Iker, ask for 6% over 3 years because these people love to play the 15% over 15 year game to make it so big on the surface. Some people think that this is 15% every year. Believe me! I have seen it in comment sections. Others believe that the 15% is too high not understanding that they must divide things over the duration of the contract. It is time that we play it smarter.

      It is time to put the foot down and ask for money given to us by other unions, if it is needed. Banks can accept one late mortgage payment. It would be suicidal for them to not help. Imagine the possible damage if that ever leaks out. They could lose a lot in teacher money. I for one would pull my money out of a bank in support!

      Teachers are going to show this government that we have a spine! Enough is enough! Aren't you tired of being treated like kids? (Retired teacher who almost died in a car accident because of work conditions that were horrendous. I had to quit.)

      Delete
    6. Not paid by the BC Liberals. I pay them actually... :/

      I imagine astroturfers of any affiliation wouldn't disclose their bias.

      "Give teachers time in the media and blogs to expose the joke that this contract is. We can win the public opinion battle. We have 40,000 teachers who can."

      How did that work in May 2013?

      If the teachers reject a contract that their own union endorsed, it will make teachers seem unreasonable. Whether that perception is true or fair is irrelevant. It's what will happen, and teachers will be weaker as a result.

      Take my advice. Build up a strike fund and focus on the internal governance of the BCTF for the next 6 years. You'll be better off for it.

      Or not. I don't mind you or others making it easier for the party I support to get elected. I'd just rather not see kids and teachers hurt in the process.

      Delete
    7. Ah! The "don't-hurt-kids" card, hey, when you have underfunded education for 12 years! WOW! That takes the cake! Are your trolling? Oh! You are serious? :)

      Would you be surprised if I don't follow your advice, considering your lack of logic?

      Would you be surprised if others don't follow your advice?

      It is ttue that bullies like you and your ilks love to show who is the boss, who is the teacher now! I suspect that is at the root of the problem! No one wants to fail in school! No one wants to get the strap! Sad that today's teachers don't like it too! But, who cares, we are ... teachers! We deserve it! BAH! BAH! BAH!

      Delete
    8. That's fine. I look forward to another 16 years of BC Liberal government.

      Delete
    9. 16 years! AHAHA! Dreaming! You might be lucky if you can hold on to yur head at this rate!

      Funny you don't address your flawed statements, Ryan! Sociopaths do that!

      Delete
    10. "16 years! AHAHA! Dreaming! You might be lucky if you can hold on to yur head at this rate!"

      16 years of our opponents still don't understand why they lost. Like I said, that's fine with me. If I said the Liberals would be in power for at least another 13 years back in 2004 you probably would have laughed too. Heck, if I told you on May 13 last year that the BC Liberals would be reelected on May 14 you'd probably have laughed too. And you were wrong. Why is that? Answer that question if you want the NDP to win the next election. Without a correct answer to it, the NDP's cause is hopeless.

      "Funny you don't address your flawed statements, Ryan!"

      You feel they are flawed, and that's fine. I don't go around calling people who disagree with me sociopaths, nor do I accuse them of being paid shills. But I also don't feel much need to address your ad hominems. There are logical arguments to support your position, but argumentum ad hominem is not one of them. It's a textbook logical fallacy.

      Delete
    11. Ah! Now I get it! It is all ego-based! You think because you voted the winning party that you are a winner and we are losers! You think because you predicted that the Liberals would win, you are winner. That does not make YOU a winner or the Liberals! It is called DEMOGRAPHICS, you expletives. The baby boomers are getting old and because they have more assets and won't make a whole lot more for too long, they need to vote a govn't who is going to do just that! It is not rocket science! WOW! You think you are so superior when your party stole an election with 47% of the popular vote. That's not a majority and your party should not have been elected. BTW, did you delete from your ethical memory the words Ethnic voting scandal? The field is slanted and you know it. However, you are so willing to minimize, forget the scams and bad fairplay tactics like a sociopath is allowed to minimize or ignore his or victims emotions that you don't see that you are the loser, we are the victim of your constant bullying. 1% wage increases after years of 0% increases and you can justify that when Yahoo reports that the average Canadian can hope to get 2.5% this and next year: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/average-pay-increase-2-79-2015-almost-unchanged-181847530.html You Liberals behave like fascists, but we can't call you that because that's not allowed! Well! Guess what? It is and you are. Live with it! You keep on dreaming you are a genius! :) I am retired, getting soon a nice pension, and laughing at you from a beach somewhere! AHAHA! Hope you like the rain! Who is laughing now? WHo is the genius now?

      Delete
    12. What's with the name calling Peter? For someone claiming to be retired you really don't show the wisdom of age. For someone who talks about logic, you use logical fallacies like ad hominems a lot too.

      It's a fair point that the BC Liberals didn't get a majority of the vote (and I'm a very big supporter of electoral reform). The BC Liberals + Conservatives did though, and I don't think it's realistic to expect the BC Conservatives to have been more generous had they been part of government.

      Last time I checked I just voted. I didn't "victimize" anyone. Perhaps your rage is misplaced.

      If you think the election was "stolen" I'm afraid I have to question your grasp on reality though.

      "Hope you like the rain! Who is laughing now? WHo is the genius now?"

      I'm glad you'll have a pleasant retirement Peter. I have no ill will towards you. I'm not sure why you think I do.

      I'm not saying people were *right* to vote BC Liberal. That's a matter of opinion. All I'm saying is people *did* vote BC Liberal. More voted BC Liberal than BC NDP for the last 5 elections in a row actually. You need to understand why that happened in order to change it for the next election. Clearly you're not interested in that though. Which is fair enough. Just remember next time you're upset about something the BC Liberals do that your lack of interest is part of why the BC Liberals get elected at all.

      Delete
    13. I love your culture --or the lack of thereof! Guess what, stop thinking averybody is white and must follow your little rules. Namecalling? Sociopath? Whaaaat? And, what if you are? Still can't call you that? :) You fascist right-wingers are big on censorship! I just don't like you giving us lessons on how to get the NDP in.

      As stated, people are voting right of the NDP because it is a matter of demographics and a little ethnic vote buying on the side. The rest is mumbo jombo. Yes, of course, they will have to go on strike in the future and yes they will have to build a strike fund. The Liberals stole that from the BCTF too! And, you wonder why I don't have any respect for them?

      Yes, electoral reform is needed! We agree!

      Delete
  24. As a parent, I support the teachers and respect whether they choose to vote yes or no. However I noticed a discrepancy here from other information I've read regarding prep time for elementary teachers. Here it states minimal improvement to prep time - only 10 minutes per week being added. Elsewhere I read that it is 100 minutes per week for prep, increasing by an additional 10 minutes in the final year. That is a significant difference, and worth noting. Or have I completely misunderstood?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elementary teachers currently have 90 minutes of preparation time per week so an increase to 100 minutes per week is only gaining 10 minutes. In other provinces and some private schools they have as much as 45 minutes of prep time per day.

      Delete
    2. You're right JJ George. There is a significant difference around the province regarding preparation times. In my district elementary teachers currently get 100 minutes of prep time. This new proposal is useless to me. I'll have to wait 6 years to gain an extra 10 minutes.

      Delete
  25. Almost nobody gets cost of living adjustments. Also inflation is NOT 2%. Do some research and look at the CPI for BC over the last 24 months. The average over the last 2 years is 0.7%, not 2%. The CPI changes every month so you cant just look at the highest month and declare that THE inflation rate. Check out the 12 month averages document for the actual numbers. http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/StatisticsBySubject/Economy/ConsumerPriceIndex.aspx
    All that being said I support the teachers. if you think this is a bad deal as a parent my dream would be for the teachers to vote no but continue bargaining because I do think the kids need to be in school and I do fear that the teachers will lose all support if the strike continues.
    All I ask as a parent is that you do your own research and try not to be swayed by all the opinions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inflation for August was 2.1% (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/cpi-report-expected-to-reveal-rise-in-canadas-core-inflation-rate/article20593943/). The CPI is a year-over-year calculation.

      Delete
    2. Inflation should be looked at as a yearly average, not an individual month.

      Delete
    3. The lawyers do not believe we have compromised our court deal. Our leadership would not have sold us out.

      We dodged a bullet. The Premier had something loaded even if we are not sure what it was.

      The idea that we could simply return to work is not guaranteed. I think a no vote could easily lead to the Liberals locking us out again because the Premier wants to crush us and she will use any excuse. She did not want to take the advice of her people and do this deal. I am certain a plan for drastic action (where we have to take the concessions they had planned) or worse - was in place.

      We can't guarantee the press will do any better job explaining the complexities should we say no. They rarely sided with us in markets outside of Vancouver where people are more political and they often misled or allowed others to mislead. They are not helping and would sensationalize. This would see dissolution of support very quickly - especially if we asked for wages. (Though admittedly it angers me that we can't ask for wages without being accused of being greedy when that is what most bargaining units do). But we have argued this is about kids and while this is not ideal - it is better to have teachers than not. The deal does suck in that it does not bring us to par - but this fight needs to be won with a strategy that is political and capacity will do that in another round. We have some support - but it is limited to the choir. We need to have the pews too.

      We need to build that capacity while working and continue to find allies because the fight is bigger than most people want to consider. This is about ideology and about privatization. Education always was political but never more so than now and we have to fight this party or the conservatives who would do the same or worse. No teacher who is responsible can ignore the politics any longer. That is simply the truth. If you work in the system you better get informed and you better be prepared to fight until retirement for the system.

      That said, I want to ask the same question others are asking: Why is this the job of 42,000 teachers and not the job of all citizens who want equality to fight for this right? It is time (while the conversation is still on-going and up to and including election night) for us to guide the public where we can but mainly play our part by not propping the system up. Make poverty known. Make noise about shortfalls, ask questions (in the media or in board offices ) about who is going to fix it instead of paying ourselves, volunteer some but wait for the pubic to step up so they see what schools lack.

      I hate the deal too. But I trust Vince Ready and Iker and I don't think we could have done better right now. I think we dodged a bullet because I have read everything this government has put out and followed the trail. They plan to privatize and they are just looking for the route.

      Voting YES for now does not mean we are giving up. It does not mean a win in the way we wanted but we have won a battle that will lead to us winning the war. If we don't rest up and stock up we might not get there.

      Delete
    4. Well, if it is bigger than just this battle, then we will need ALL the unions to strike if they do indeed use drastic (draconian) measures. I say it is time for ALL of the unions to call a general strike. I guarantee that they will not like that one bit. What will they do then? Call the army? :)

      People in Europe, at the end of the 19th century stood up in mines. General strikes do occur in Europe and have. If you think you had it tough, think of them who stood tall for US in tougher times and conditions. Make sacrifices. Sell furniture. Tutor on the side. Ask for the BCTF money. Ask your banker to help. As friends and relatives. If we say NO, it won't last long. If they legislate us back, let's call a general province-wide strike of all unions.

      Delete
  26. Between CC's smug smile as she celebrates slaughtered teachers and Jim Iker's goofy grin - seemingly unaware that he has been a willing puppet, I am thoroughly disgusted.

    Over the next 5 years, teachers will be in an increasingly bad situation financially, classrooms will continue to be too large and complex with increasing medical, social and environmental issues impacting academic delivery. It could not be less obvious that things will continue to worsen.

    The Liberals have ensured that BC is rapidly becoming the Canadian Monaco for rich off shore interests and wealthy corporations. Soon the underpaid "workers" will have to be bussed in daily to Vancouver - Asian style.

    The only recourse is to move to just about any other province and bring in up to $100,000 more over the six years with much less cost of living. So we are bailing, encouraged by friends who have gotten positions in Manitoba and Alberta. My colleagues and I discovered through contacting several school boards across Canada that specialist (special needs and behavioural) and secondary science teachers are in particular demand.

    I want to work in a professional, respectful environment where the needs of all children are considered a priority and where I feel inspired to do my best.

    However, I want my vote to reflect the wishes of teachers who will be here over the next 6 (5) years, so very much appreciate your blog and opportunity to read the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  27. To vote YES will throw away 12 years of effort, and 2 victories in BC Supreme Court. To vote YES will be to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If you vote YES what bargaining power do you think you will have - the government will do nothing, and then what do you think you will do - take job action? PLEASE VOTE NO.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wouldn't a 'No' vote be a vote of no confidence in the BCTF itself?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not at all. It is just a message to the leadership we need to do better. The strength of the union is the members, and we support the leadership by giving them direction through democratic means.

      Delete
    2. I disagree. How else can a recommendation by the EC to vote yes be interpreted?

      Delete
    3. I am sure people will interpret this both ways, but it is a vote. If it is supposed to be a "Yes", because it might be interpreted one way, then why bother having a vote?

      Delete
    4. Yes , it would be. I don't think we could come out much better than this with this government. How will a No obtain that? Christy will be happy, she can declare the BCTF gone and roll out her plan to privatize.

      Delete
  30. A no vote would be a rejection of a the court victories defied by the government and an inadequate deal containing some vague promises that won't meet the needs of teachers or students on class size and other important issues.In Ontario elementary teachers get 200 minutes of prep time per 5 day cycle. I know there is financial hardship, but the union has received close to $2 million in donations from other unions; is there no way of accessing hardship funds? At minimum, vote no and return to work on work to rule with various strike options.

    ReplyDelete
  31. This article actually makes me so mad. It is NOT better for the kids that they have missed almost all of june and all of september. This is what you signed up for in BC as a teacher. Get on board or GET OUT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is this really what teachers signed up for? At my high school, each class has about 30 kids, with an average of 17 kids per classroom with an identified learning disability. Our district says that there should be no more than 4 kids per classroom..

      How do you expect non-specialist teachers to help each student when over half of them require more resources because of a learning disability? Furthermore, are you generalizing the "better-ness" to all the kids in BC? Because I don't think that it would be better if kids went back considering the learning environment isn't up to par. There are barely any Education Assistants, and support teachers for the multitude of children who need them.

      While I recognize and appreciate your enthusiasm for education, please realize that the public school system isn't a daycare. Also, please think about your words and the learning environment prior to speaking out.

      By the way, we're not an autocracy.

      Delete
    2. I can understand your frustration! Understand mine! I almost died at 7:30 pm one night returning from teaching a FI split class with several students who did not get enough support or no support at all. The principal expressed to me that he expected me to teach 2 different social studies programs and 2 different science programs. ANYONE I talked to knows that this is impossible to do, especially in French Immersion when kids get no support at home and books are often too hard for students to read. I had to quit my job. I did it for me and did it for the kids. I was like a surgeon who is asked to operate on 5 patients with an old scalpel with 2 inexperienced nurses. Predictably, 4 patients would die and I would be reprimanded! Teachers are put in terrible conditions and kids too. I hope you have the openmind to consider the reality of this honest personal anecdote. I also wish you to understand that this is likely not an isolated incident. What will it take? A kid to commit suicide because he or she is not getitng enough support?

      Delete
  32. It is incorrect to equate lost funding with what the teachers would have received in grievances. The two are not equivalent. The starting position of the BCTF was $225M, so they never expected $3B to resolve grievances.

    I'm also interested to know where you get your figures on overcrowded classrooms. A recent Globe and Mail article says that classrooms are, on average, smaller than the caps set in 2002.

    ReplyDelete
  33. The signing bonus should be roughly $2500 each: 105 million divided by 41 thousand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is not that simple. The $105 million is to be allocated by the union. The term "signing bonus" has been crossed off on the signed document. Some of that money may be used to pay union debts. Don't know this but clarification would be useful.

      Delete
    2. Just quoting from the CBC news website, "And finally there are details of $105-million fund to settle grievances stemming from the ongoing court case. The BCTF says that money will be given out as a signing bonus, with specific amount yet to be determined."

      Delete
    3. I think it would be smart to put at least part of it into your strike fund.

      Delete
  34. If the money is used as a signing bonus, it should be based on FTE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I am sure it will be based on FTE. The question is how much of the $105 Million is actually distributed. This is up to the union, and I am told that it is yet to be decided.

      Delete
    2. And don't forget all the retired teachers who are entitled to a share of it.

      Delete
  35. In another discussion of this someone suggested that under BC Labour Law a no vote means rejection of the proposed deal, and that means the strike continues until either:

    - the union in question elects to stand down
    - another tentative deal is presented or
    - the government imposes a legislated contract.

    I think the last of these is the most likely, and I believe the legislated contract would be draconian and brutal.

    What do you think, Tara?

    Also, I would appreciate your thoughts on Sandy Garossino's comments at https://storify.com/Garossino/should-teachers-accept-the-contract

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If this is so, in a few month (likely a couple of years), teachers will win so much more with a Supreme Court judgment! It is possible that the Liberals know that the higher courts are stacked by Liberal judges (that is what happen when judges are chosen, not elected). In any case, a negative settlement (or not a great judgment) will galvinize the public to reform the way the Supreme court judges are being chosen. I doubt that any govn't will want that to happen. A legislated contract will make the LIbs look like sociopaths and dictators.

      Delete
    2. Peter I think you are expecting far too much from the public, many of whom are only paying attention to this matter due to kids being home from school. The public are not remotely this savvy on the political process.

      Delete
  36. I am a continuing education teacher. We have it even worse and we are not listened to enough about our poor conditions. Those include no prep time (and we do have to mark and do report cards many times a year sometimes and commonly for 30 students in a class), travelling to different schools with no compensation, and having next to no breaks in between 3 hour classes. I worked for two years with no lunch break and taught 6 hours straight (just 15 min. breaks) to be told, "don't complain since there are others who will do it". We then got 15 min. breaks in between classes.

    Most of our students are wealthy immigrants, many who try to stay in classes as long as possible since the classes are free. After spending a year in Germany, I realize how better organized it is where the immigrants pay to learn the language on a sliding scale, and have to pay for a student book as well for each class. We do not even have text books, but photocopy so much at tax payers' expense. This is not right.

    I then teach summer school since we were not on a 12 month continual salary and most of those students are also immigrants (at least 75%). This is also free and it is becoming so common and the new immigrants know this is free babysitting and tutoring. I think one main problem is that we have so many new immigrants in our classes who need ESL like this article states about our inclusion style of education nowadays: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Shelley+Fralic+trouble+with+schools/10203596/story.html
    I am honored to be teaching and like my job, but it does get exhausting especially since I need two or three jobs to pay the mortgage that I now no longer have.. back to renting since it all I can afford in this city that has become so expensive. And many don't realize that it is very very difficult to get to full time work as a teacher here. There was a formula that made it take about 10 years to get to f/t (now finally changed).

    I have been without pay for 3 months, and now had to finally rent a place in anticipation of returning to work, so I have to vote "yes", but please keep the comments coming for what alternatives we have. Maybe we have to just educate the public in a better way than picketing; maybe get out and walk around malls and talk to people and hand out pamphlets on how this liberal government is hurting this. Most Asians (probably just the new who are from such a different system) are already against the teachers since they do not seem to understand what is going on.
    http://www.vancouversun.com/Business/asia-pacific/Chuck+Chiang+Many+Asian+families+place+blame/10202757/story.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First of all, myn thoughts are with you! I think your ideas about using different strategies is smart. Picketing is not a very good strategy to let people know about things. I think using the membership to flood media comment sections would be more effective. Going to talk to the public might be a good idea along with this, I think. Phone the BCTF and ask for support.

      Delete
  37. A teachers wife
    Vote no you have come to far to back down. It is a -----Y DEAL.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Ask yourself WHY teachers cannot get 1/2 of the average increase in salary of the private sector? (The Libs will tell you because there are sooooooo many teachers, but I also hear that there are provinces where there is a need for teachers!)

    TORONTO - A new study says that Canadians, on average, can expect about the same size salary increase next year as in 2014.
    Human resources consultants Pal Benefits says a survey of 401 organizations, mainly in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, projected salary increase for 2015 at an average of 2.79 per cent.
    That was almost unchanged from the 2.74 per cent average increase projected in last year's survey.
    Meanwhile, in addition to the average salary increase remaining relatively steady year over year, the survey found that the percentage of employers who plan to freeze salaries appears to have stabilized at eight per cent —in the same percentages as was projected in 2014.
    Breaking down the numbers further, the survey found the average salary increase anticipated in the engineering, financial services and high technology sectors was three per cent.
    That compared with an average of 2.5 per cent on the low end for organizations in durable manufacturing.


    https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/average-pay-increase-2-79-2015-almost-unchanged-181847530.html

    ReplyDelete
  39. I used to agree with you, Tara, and appreciate you bringing these items to your blog to get us all thinking. But after a very long night and day of research and discussion, I realize I will be voting yes tomorrow. Here is why: I don't care about salary or benefit increases. That is not why I went on strike. I don't care if this tentative deal is not good for teachers. That's not why I went on strike either. For me, the single most important issue is class size and composition. I want to work in a classroom where I have enough time and resources available to me to adequately help all the students I teach. And while it is true that this tentative deal will not change anything in the classrooms right now (or at least most of our classrooms), I realized that we couldn't actually make changes in that area because the issues of cs and c is before the courts. When I made that connection and realized that this round of bargaining was really about a "good enough" agreement regarding wages, then the deal seems, well... good enough. BUT, the best part, is the language the BCTF legal team made around the furture court decision (the re-opener). They have it in writing that if we win the court case (which is likely) and when we have to start bargaining class size and comp again (that is exactly what Justice Susan Griffin said we would have to do) we will be STARTING from the 2002 levels. To make this simple to understand, I explained it to my friends using a number line. With this new language, the BCTF starts the next round of bargaining at say a 50. The government will want us to go to 10 or 15, and we'll compromise and end up maybe 25. But WITHOUT that language, we would have started bargaining at a 10 and only gone down from there. So I do believe it is the best deal possible, it still factors in the biggest issue (from my perspective), we do not lose the important gains of the past, and most importantly, everyone gets to go back to school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mam Rose, I appreciate your point of view and your courage. However, let me point out to you and the readers that a decision at the BC supreme court might not turn out the way teachers anticipate. We all know that judges are appointed and who does the appointing? "All justices of the BCSC (including the position of Chief Justice and Associate Chief Justice) are appointed by the federal cabinet, on recommendation of the Minister of Justice.
      Masters are appointed by the provincial cabinet, on recommendation of the Attorney General in consultation with the Chief Justice." (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_British_Columbia)

      Now, I would like to think that all of those people are objective, but they are appointed and we know that there are political appointments. They have a lot of discretion over the laws and judgments. I am willing to bet that the BC Liberals do know this and are betitng the farm (or do they know something we don't know) that the Supreme Courts are stacked against teachers? So, I am not sure if we can count on a WIN if we proceed with the court ruling. I think we would be better to negotiate and negotiate a better deal.

      Delete
  40. Yes...no...yes...no...The last two days have been this. I’ve read so many articles and comments over the past few months and, I can say, I have learned a lot. I know this is not a great deal for teachers right now. I will be voting yes. This is why…
    1. The children. Without going into the multiple issues (e.g., grad, post secondary, trades, sports, global education/trips, planned activities, those with varying degrees of special needs, those that need a soft place to land, etc., etc.) the children need to get on with their education.
    2. The parents. For many parents, this strike is a financial burden. We do not like to be called baby sitters, but for many living below the poverty line, school is a financial relief. Winter is coming; gas bills will be expensive.
    3. Poverty. Remember, BC has the highest child poverty rate in Canada. Schools feed and clothe numerous children.
    4. The other systems educators work collaboratively with. MFCD, CYMH, foster parents, group homes, and the multitude of non-profit agencies that support vulnerable children and families are bursting at the seams. We are a part of that team.
    5. CUPE. While some have been paid during this strike, that money is coming from districts. It was not provided by the government. And, CUPE is a partner in education - from the bus drivers to the tech dept to custodians to secretaries to EAs and so on.
    6. Small Businesses. In our little towns, the school district is the number one employer. There is a direct cause-effect relationship between loss of wage and loss of business.
    7. Money. The amount of money that is needed to reverse the erosion of the public education system over numerous years cannot be recouped in one sitting. This agreement is a start. It’s not much but the stage has been set.
    8. THE COURT CASE. That is why we were on strike. All the other stuff could have been resolved months ago, but our government was working hard to make the court case go away. Well, it still exists. I consider that the victory. We live to fight another day (as rhetorical as that sounds) AND I hope people actually read the ruling and think critically about how a loss could impact the future of the Charter of Rights, and the power of government to contravene those rights.
    I am guessing we will vote to ratify as so many fear “what’s next?” from this government. It’s nasty business, and I think legislation would be next. VALUING PUBLIC EDUCATION needs to come from a STRONG, CONSISTENT public voice. If we do ratify the agreement, and those in the profession and public think we've given up, we have not. We’ve been fighting for years. We just haven’t been heard… until now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand your point of view, but sometimes you have to fight to get what you want.

      This is a VERY bad deal, considering:

      Other people get on average 2.5% salary increases last year and this year and the next and the rest of us get 1% and must feel happy if we do.? (https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/average-pay-increase-2-79-2015-almost-unchanged-181847530.html)

      THIS DEAL is a horrendously BAD deal for kids/parents as well, of course.

      We are going to continue to be humiliated and be the laughing stock of many people of this province.

      After a decade of paycuts, WOW, this is what they are willing to offer! WOW! WOW! WOW!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's cross our fingers! I think we need a general strike by all unions if CC legislates teachers back. It is time to put the foot down and tell her and the Liberals that, as in the movie Network,"I am mad as hell and I won't take it anymore!"

      Delete
  42. Needs help on some stats for an online debate Looking for the last 10 or 15 years of contractual salary increases in %. So, 1% for 2001, 0% for 2002,...

    ReplyDelete
  43. Well it's all done now. Really hope the teacher's can find another angle to deal with class size and composition as well as student funding. The government will make sure the coming court case never swings your way no matter what. 2nd most expensive place to live in the the world!!! Wonder why and where the money goes???

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'm an outsider, but have followed closely this whole fiasco and this is a RAW deal. Your union hung you out to dry on this one - taking a really bad deal (clearly no one from the BCTF had rudimentary math skills in their toolbox) and then publicly encouraging to the media that teachers accept the deal....what choice did you have - a no vote would have outraged the public. I could go on and on, but the bottom line, in my opinion, is that your union better get some stronger leaders who are PR and technology savvy. Out with Iker and the rest of those who bargained on your behalf - they just got ......well , we know that happened. Whew, can't even believe how screwed you got, absolutely amazing - nothing meaningful gained in the big picture and only very minor gains for a small group of people, bigger losses for the majority.. Wow - I better stop now. Best of luck. Thanks for all you do for our children.

    ReplyDelete