BC Teachers’ Federation

A Missed Opportunity in the British Columbia Teachers’ Labour Dispute

As the Canadian readers of this blog know, British Columbia’s elementary and secondary school teachers are currently engaged in a series of rotating strikes, because of the lack of progress in negotiations for a new collective agreement. The British Columbia government has responded by declaring a partial lockout, in which teachers will have restricted access to school property. The government also instituted a 10% pay cut for teachers, claiming that the teachers are not carrying out all of their job duties. (The government and the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) spent an entire day in a hearing at the BC Labour Relations Board, arguing over the legality of the government’s actions; the LRB eventually dismissed the BCTF’s complaint, ruling that the government’s actions were within the parameters of the agreed-upon essential services guidelines.)

I’ve done (more…)

Unfortunate Labour Relations Quote of the Week

There’s a lot of good work that has been accomplished at the table so far. That needs to conclude this week.

That’s British Columbia Education Minister Peter Fassbender’s instructions to the  bargainers working toward a new collective agreement for the province’s public school teachers. Why does he want them to stop doing “good work”? So that they can be directed to start discussing the idea of a 10-year-long collective agreement – something that neither side wants.

Incidentally, and ironically, this same week  BC Premier Christy Clark was quoted as saying, on her decision to reverse pay increases to senior political staff:

Leadership means listening to people.


Listening only happens in some situations, apparently.

BC Government Mandates Bargaining for 10-Year Teacher Agreement

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the idea of a 10-year-long collective agreement for British Columbia public school teachers had raised its ugly head yet again in the context of the BC provincial election campaign.

The BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the provincial government’s representatives are currently negotiating their next collective agreement, to replace the agreement now in effect which expires in June. It was a very hopeful sign for this round of negotiations that the two parties, who in the past have been very adversarial, voluntarily and jointly agreed to some revisions in their bargaining structure and process. (The revisions are described in this briefing note from the BC Public School Employers’ Association [BCPSEA].) However, according to this story in the Globe and Mail, the newly re-elected Liberal government has just issued letters to both parties “rescind[ing] a previous bargaining mandate [for the government’s negotiators] and highlight[ing] the 10-year proposal as a point of negotiation”. Here is a copy of the letter sent to the BCPSEA.

The idea of a 10-year collective agreement was first introduced (more…)