A professional development day

Provincial government cabinet ministers and backbenchers will be receiving some unexpected visitors tomorrow evening. The British Columbia Federation of Labour is organizing demonstrations across the province in support of teachers. And, according to an email distributed across the federation's mailing list, constituency offices seem to be a favourite rallying point. The following is a complete copy of that email.

-----Original Message-----
From: bc_labour_enews-bounces@bcfed.net
Sent: 10 October 2005 19:15
Subject: [BC_Labour_E-NEWS] Urgent Action Alert - Teacher Support Rallies
Importance: High

Here is the latest list of rallies scheduled for Tuesday (and Thursday in Gibsons) to support BC teachers in their struggle for a freely negotiated collective agreement.

Campbell River - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 5:00 p.m.
School Board Office, 415 Pinecrest, Campbell River

Courtenay - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 5:00 p.m.
Stan Hagen's office, 437 5th St., Courtenay

Cranbrook - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 5:00 p.m.
Bill Bennett's office, 100C Cranbrook Street North, Cranbrook

Dawson Creek - Tuesday, October 11 @ 10:00 a.m.
Blair Lekstrom's office, 101-10300 10th Street, Dawson Creek

Duncan - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 5:30 p.m.
Duncan City Hall Square

Gibsons - Thursday, October 13, 2005 @ 3 p.m.
Rockwood Pavillion, Gibsons

Kamloops - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 5:00 p.m.
Kevin Krueger's office, 9, 111 Oriole Road, Valleyview

Kelowna - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 5:00 p.m.
Sindi Hawkins' office, 102 1221 Ethel St., Kelowna

Kitimat - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 4:30 p.m.
Centennial Square

Penticton - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 4:30 p.m.
Gyro Park, Penticton

Port Alberni - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 6:45 p.m.
School Board Office, 4690 Roger Street, Port Alberni

Prince George - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 4:00 p.m.
Shirley Bond's office, 1350 5th Avenue, Prince George

Quesnel - Wednesday, October 12 @ 5:00 p.m.
Helen Dixon Centre, 241 Kinchant St., Quesnel

Sooke - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 7:00 p.m.
Sooke School Board Office, 3143 Jacklin Road, Victoria, BC

Terrace - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 4:30 p.m.
Government Access Centre, 101 - 3220 Eby Street, Terrace

Vancouver/Lower Mainland - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 5:30 p.m.
Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre (formerly Trade and Convention
Centre)

Victoria - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 5:00 p.m.
School Board office (Tolmie building) 556 Boleskine Rd., Victoria

Salmon Arm - Tuesday, October 11, 2005 @ 5:30 p.m.
George Abbott's office, 202A-371 Alexander Street NE, Salmon Arm

32 Comments

The BCTF are calling out all their markers with their union colleagues on this one.

But once again the BCTF's approach seems designed more to increase the level of political emnity between the government and the BCTF rather than in actually achieving results for their membership.

Again the BCTF comes across looking like a proxy for the BC NDP rather than a union whose membership may actually have some legitimate issues.

It becomes obvious that Gordo and his pals in Victoria are getting concerned when Geoghegan and his 'ilk get on line and start attacking the NDP. So transparent.

I am still waiting for Campbell to remind us that the "rule of law' is the cornerstone of a civilized society and that anyone who breaks the law should be dealt with harshly to the full extent that the law provides.

Mr. Geoghegan, whether you are tired of him or not, is righ on the mark. The same old tired by lines and tactics used in the past are now trotted out by sinclair and Jinny and their ilk. It's pathetic. they are less interested in an agreement than in creating havoc for the government, that much is clear. Sittings in Minister's offices? Ridiculous.

Sit down and map out a strategy with reason and measure. Now THAT (!) would impress folks and put them squarely on the side of teachers in this Province.

But you know, it's not even really them. The MINORITY of the BCTF is behind this. I cannot count any longer the number of teachers who even though NDP complained about the scare and intimidation tactis during the election. Union bullies appearing at schools to "talk" to teachers on their break, closing the door and essentially ordering them all to vote for the NDP. Just plain stupidity.

When they are more concerned about the fact that schools are infested with drugs and weapons, when they are willing to explore why such a "talented and committed" group of teachers continue to produce illiterate "graduates" then they can grandstand.

If it were feasible. fire the lot of them Reagan style (remember the air traffic controllers?)and replace them with teachers who really care about their students and don't use issues like class size etc. as a poltical plank.

The unions in this Province got way too powerful under Harcourt (Meathead) and were only kept in line under Clark beacause he really is the savviest Preem we've had in a long time. He was just duped by a friend.

Makes me long for the days of Jack Munro. Love him or hate him, you knew where you stood. He cared about the IWA and his people.

These unions bosses know days are just a bunch of NDP whores and hatchet men.

Poor kids.....

"I cannot count any longer the number of teachers who even though NDP complained about the scare and intimidation tactis during the election."

Huh? There are lots of remedial english classes out there. Try taking one before you next post.

David Radler for Premier.

He'd show those lefty, NDP, commie teachers about sacrificing for the children.

90.5 percent of the BCTF membership was not coerced into voting in favour of strike action. It’s high time someone stood up to Campbell and his henchmen. Any moron can strip contracts and introduce legislation that effectively takes away peoples rights and could potentially make one a criminal for standing up for what’s right. It’s not about legalities, any more--it’s about what’s morally just. Unfortunately this government is bereft of morality as is usually the case with tyrannical regimes.

Tyranny /’tirani/ noun (pl. – nies) 1a the arbitrary, cruel, and excessive exercise of power, control or authority. b (often foll. by of) an unduly oppressive influence (the tyranny of public opinion). 2 cruel and oppressive government by more than one person.

tyrant /’tairant/ noun see Campbell, Gordon

"Sit down and map out a strategy with reason and measure.", says Mr. Rogers. They did, and brought it to the bargaining table where the gov't refused to negotiate.

It is laughable to see de Jong on the news saying that a contract is in place. Legislation is in place.

Contract : a binding agreement between two or more persons or parties; especially : one legally enforceable. The operative word is agreement. One of the essential elements of ANY contract is a 'meeting of minds'.

These's no doubt that the Liberals have used the BCTF for political ends. Gordo's blatant lies during the last campaign now leave him reaping the whirlwind.

90.5% of the teachers in this province did not vote for the illegal strike. Of those that voted, 90.5% supported action.

Many teachers opted not to participate in the vote.

Let's not exagerate, although it is tempting when the rhetoric is running so hot.

I'm not sure why the BCTF want to keep the current bargaining system - they have yet to conclude an agreement under province wide bargaining (regardless of which government was in power). You think they would welcome the opporutnity to have Vince Ready recommend some changes and put in place a structure that would actually get a settlement.

"I'm not sure why the BCTF want to keep the current bargaining system - they have yet to conclude an agreement under province wide bargaining (regardless of which government was in power)."

It's because the traditional bargaining system, where the union has the right to strike and the employer has the right to lock workers out, still works. It's messy and disruptive, I'll admit, but it gives each side an incentive to bargain in good faith and reach an agreement. That system was sacrificed on the altar of political expediency when the NDP created PSEC, the Public Sector Employer's Council, of which BCPSEA is but one branch. Unions could live with the arrangement under the NDP, however, because disputes were settled in a semi-arbitral manner like the Industrial Inquiry Commission that settled educational support staff contracts a number of years ago, for example. In the hands of the Liberals BCPSEA's role has been to sit at the table and say "NO!" to everything the teachers have proposed knowing full well that their "mandate" will be accomplished by legislation, not negotiation. Disband BCPSEA and throw the beaurocrat's salaries into the teacher's kitty for a start!

My hat's off to Carol Taylor though, she went on TV and said that people shouldn't use students as political pawns.....did it with a straight face too!

This is the deal:

The BCTF contract expired in 2004, smack dab in the middle of the wage freeze. Jinny, Irene and the rest of the TF executive chose not to negotiate at that time, but instead wait until after the election and try to defeat the government spending (conservatively) $1.5 million to do so.

Well, it failed. The Libs won and the wage freeze continues until 2006.

Somehow, in their deluded state, the TF thinks that the government will abandon their wage freeze (which every other union/association/federation/whatever) agreed to to reward them for trying to un-elect them.

Are they nuts?

Short answer, no, they were right to try and get a deal. The could have presented a 0-something-more something- deal and it would have at least been reasonable after getting 7.5 percent last time.

But 5-5-5 would have translated into a retroactive 5 percent for 2004-05 and would have set up for some very difficult discussions with everyone else in the Spring.

So, instead, they are on strike, with no hope of changing the government's mind, and putting their members and themselves at risk.

It's time the moderates took back the BCTF, because the hard-liners have failed them again.

Arin,
In a democracy, those that exercise their fanchise are the ones that are counted, hence the 90.5%.
Typical of your style, you manipulate and put the spin on to suit your bias. You would have us believe that those who chose not to participate in the vote would have voted against any job action. Could you please enlighten us--just exactly how many is many?

Why did many teachers opt not to vote? I would suggest that they have tired of the fight. How many times can one suffer the rule changes, the legislation, the browbeatings, and the condescending and arrogant disrespect before throwing in the towel?

I'd love to tell you how many teachers didn't vote in the "it's not a strike, it's a political action against an unjust government" vote, but for some reason, the BCTF doesn't release those sorts of numbers.

I do agree with you that many teachers are tired of this fight. They are also tired of 12 years of failed province-wide collective bargaining.

Fanshaw is right in saying there is nothing wrong with the collective bargaining process.

THIS bargaining process, however, is fundamentally flawed and has NEVER returned an agreement.

Why is the BCTF so afraid to fix it?


90 percent of the teachers voting did so to support their union position. And of course some didn't vote either way.
There is an old expression. : If you don't vote, don't bitch"

What was the percentage that voted for Gordo and gang? A heck of a lot less than 90 percent. I sort of think more people voted against his bunch that for them. Way to go teachers. If one of the great goals of this government is to have the best educated kids they sure found one heck of a wrong way to get there. But this is the same bunch that used the buzz words, at our expense prior to the election. best place in the world etc etc. They managed to go over budget by a number of millions of dollars as well. Thsi from an outfit who claim they are fiscally responsible, and if you wait around to next year we will let you know what the full page advert's cost. hell, it's our money they are flinging around

And the teachers who voted also voted with their feet.

When a labour union negotiates in the private sector, there is financial disincentive to a strike usually to both sides. In bargaining with government who controls the hammer of legislation, there is no such disincentive. Infact the opposite. Everyday of strike action actually benefits the government who saves money. It is a conflict of interest for government to bargain with its employees. But I unfortunately do not have enough wisdom to name a suitable alternative. Mr. Wright tried and failed miserably because the union has no reason to trust a final offer system where the final offer is chosen by a government appointee.

If anyone knows of a workable solution where workers can bargain with government that forces both sides to use good faith I'm sure Jinny and maybe Mike and Shirley would love to hear it.

Seems to me they either have to go back to the 'old fashioned' form of bargaining as outlined above or agree to some form of arbitration. As proven by the doctor's arbitration, Gordo doesn't think he is bound by arbitrators either, even when he agrees to the process...sheer arrogance in action.

The BC Chamber of Commerce....er...I mean the BC Liberal Party, views all working people (union or not) with a disdain that borders on outright comtempt. They maintain power by means of a huge advertising bankroll, lies and fear-mongering. One lesson they learned from the so-called "Fudge It Budget" decision was that there is no legal onus on a politcal party to be truthful during an election campaign....so they simply weren't.

Here are some comments that some teachers have stated.

Teachers understand the rule of law and the need for rules and order in society. Our classrooms are microcosms of our society. In the chance that you do not understand or lack clarity regarding the situation and its developments, I bring to your attention the following history of legislation regarding BC teachers:

Bill 27
- strips collective agreement of all negotiated class size and composition
language from the collective agreement. All guarantees on classroom
support and resources also disappear. Some of the language struck had been
in force for 30 years

Bill 28
- makes it illegal for teachers and the employer to discuss working
conditions. B.C. teachers are the only group of unionized working people
in Canada to which this type of Law applies.

Bill 18
- makes education an essential service. Only jurisdiction in a G8 country
to have this legislation for teachers

Bill 19
- retroactive legislation that overrules the BC Supreme court ruling that
stated the stripping of the contract by Rice was done illegally

Bill 50/51
- dissolves the elected council of the BC College of teachers
- the appointed council rewrites many of the Bylaws and policies without
input from those being regulated
- teachers withhold fees, government caves in, pays fees for teachers and
teachers elect a majority to the college

Bill 12
- government unilaterally extends the stripped contract of 2002 to expire
in June 2006
- teachers to recieve no wage increase for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006
- class size, composition and support issues ignored

I draw your attention to Bill 19. Do not mistake the importance of such abusive actions on the part of the government. The government overturned a legal decision of the Supreme Court of BC, by retroactive legislation. As for the government, I have only one recourse left to me, to refuse my services.
It is the government who has abused and broken the system, not the teachers.

BCPSEA - Budget 2.5 million per year.
Since 1993. 12*2.5million= 30 million.
No Agreements.

30 Million. No Agreements. Even in the private sector they would have been disbanded.

Interesting comments about the history of "collective bargaining" in K-12. BCPSEA was never intended to reach agreements, and teachers and their apologists should be careful about claiming to support the rule of law. Shortly after the Socreds certified BCTF as the bargaining agent for all teachers, the union, in collusion with the NDP, began a province-wide campaign to infiltrate school boards with trustees who were either members or the spouse, child or parent of a member. This was in direct violation of what was then Part 5 of the School Act dealing with conflict of interest, and an assault on democracy. When a courageous elector from Richmond, Mr. Cornelius Wynja, brought an action in court (at his own expense) against Pat Gudlaugsen and Sue Halsy-Brandt (2
Vancouver teachers who sat as trustees in Richmond district) he won, both at Supreme Court and BC Court of Appeal (See Wynja v. Halsy-Brands et al. CA14560. A unanimous decision, it's worth reading the comments of the learned justice) and both teachers were found guilty. Had evidence been entered about the province-wide extent of the conspiracy, fraudulent intent would have been proven and the guilty parties could have been removed from office and all decisions in which they had illegally participated could have been reversed. Fearing public exposure of this attempt to sit on both sides of the bargaining table, and the resulting demolition of the credibility of BCTF and (what had by then become) the government, the Harcourt Cabinet instituted provincial bargaining under the aegis of BCPSEA, reversing an NDP policy (identical coincidentally to the BCTF policy) opposing provincial bargaining. This served a dual purpose : it saved their political bacon and it permitted teachers to continue to vote as trustees on matters in which they had no pecuniary interest (although it can be argued that most School Board decisions do effect their pecuniary interest in one way or another). As history has shown, the NDP never intended to permit BCPSEA to bargain in good faith, preferring instead to impose legislated settlements ("contracts") on terms favourable to their allies in BCTF, and they did so on three occasions. Where were the outraged cries of injustice and the bold assertions of human rights when the NDP ignored the "sanctity" of the collective bargaining process? Who has the longest tradition of treating the law as simply one more tool for control of K-12? Who can doubt that all the rest would be dropped in a second if the government caved on the salary issue? This is about money, pure and simple. The first priority of K-12 in BC remains jobs for adults, not the educational needs of students.

And the first priority of Steve Hopkins is to spin this battle in Campbell's favour.

Got an itchy back Steve...need Gordo to scratch it?

Whew Steve, so many "facts" that are just plain wrong, and as your last line shows,you believe that if you repaeat them often enough, people will believe them.

"Shortly after the Socreds certified BCTF as the bargaining agent for all teachers, the union, in collusion with the NDP, began a province-wide campaign to infiltrate school boards with trustees who were either members or the spouse, child or parent of a member. This was in direct violation of what was then Part 5 of the School Act dealing with conflict of interest, and an assault on democracy." - If this is so then why weren't these elections declared invalid or Section 5 of the School Act otherwise invoked? Were any votes taken by Boards in which some members failed to declare such a glaring conflict of interest overturned? If not why not?

"....it permitted teachers to continue to vote as trustees on matters in which they had no pecuniary interest." A half truth. Current law forbids District employees (of any sort) from holding a seat on their local Board, so all of the practices you outline above are still legal, and should be. District employees, union or management, ARE permitted to sit on Boards which don't employ them, however. Provincial bargaining effectively removes teacher bargaining from local boards' control so its immpossible to stack the deck in the union's favour by electing 'teacher friendly' trustees.


I simply must express profound thanks to Messrs. Geoghegan, Rogers, Hopkins et al for the heartfelt concerns that they have shared regarding our children's education and the inconvenience that we are currently experiencing as parents. Whoever would have guessed that we had such a caring society? I note that the BC government and mainstream media appear just as deeply moved by our plight.

As a parent, I will however continue to put my trust in those who put their money where their mouth is -- i.e. the teachers who have spent millions out of their own pockets to raise public awareness about the erosion of classroom resources in our children's schools.

"Provincial bargaining effectively removes teacher bargaining from local boards' control so its immpossible to stack the deck in the union's favour by electing 'teacher friendly' trustees."

... But if the BCTF spends millions on provincial elections, they can elect former BCTF presidents, etc., to the Legislature, achieving the same result!

So today we have Carole James calling on the Premier to abandon his first nations tour to come home and appease the BCTF instead. Funny how the NDP finds the BCTF pocketbooks are more important that first nations poverty. Is this how Carole intends to move the NDP further away from big labor by demanding the Premier panders to her string pullers? What a joke.

Counterpoint...

If you listen to the parents and the public on this one they seem to have this strike as a higher priority for their elected representative rather than having him start pretending to care about First Nation's poverty all of a sudden.

I didn't see any emergency last minute or preplanned advertisements trumpeting what a government must do to help eliminate the plight of the First Nation's. So to trivially link two completely separate issues as you have done..."Why doesn't he overspend the advertising budget on assisting the poor folks on the reservation."

"... But if the BCTF spends millions on provincial elections, they can elect former BCTF presidents, etc., to the Legislature, achieving the same result!" Of course they spend millions on provincial elections, so do other special interest groups and it's all perfectly legal in a democracy. I wouldn't agree that "they" can elect anyone, it takes a majority of voters in a riding to do that. And of course other "they"s are free to run candidates as well.

A law to restrict union and corporation political donations and place restrictions on third party advertising during an election? I'm all for it but the Liberals can't afford it so its a non-starter in BC.

The teaching profession in this Province has become an utter contemptible joke.

Instead of concentrating on teaching, real quality teaching, the BCTF lackies are more concerned with errant "priorities" like gay friendly books, sex ed to ten year olds, "sensitivity" issues, etc.

Why not take a stand, like other unions? Go after the Government to enact a Gang Taskforce that will be a ocnstant presence in schools. Speak out againsy drug use/abuse. Insist on those individuals responsible for persistent bullying to be booted from school. Call on the Government and the union to work together with the institutions granting teaching certificates and diplomas to make it harder for someone to become a teacher--demand top scholarship from those claiming to be able to dispense it.

Quite apart from the negotiations and opinions about whose right and wrong in this most vexing of "strikes", let's deal with some realities that are bigger than all of us.....

We are graduating functional illiterates at an alarming clip.....drugs and weapons are commonplace in our schools...social activism has often times replaced teaching...aggressive political activism is not only tolerated but encouraged by the BCTF, and this has sadly bled into the always sacred fabric of the relationship between a teacher and student. Parents are marginalized--what your teacher says must trump Mom or Dad.

These are all issues that the BCTF are responsible for because they do nothing to protect an envirinment that should be condusive to learning. If they did that, teachers would be better protected and schools would produce more scholars and less illiterate thugs.

"Union bullies appearing at schools to "talk" to teachers on their break, closing the door and essentially ordering them all to vote for the NDP. Just plain stupidity."

Mr Rogers, this never happened. And you know it. So does Mike Geoghegan.

Sorry Budd, but it did indeed happen. My sister is a teacher, so are many other friends who confirmed the same thing--most of whom vote NDP, but were still appalled. Use to be that they just simply locked the door and winked you in the right direction.

Not anymore.

The rabid left have become uncontainable.

Your NDP pals have no ethics when it comes to their vote. they don't care who they hurt or how they are perceived.

Lots of eye witness accounts Buddy boy.....

My father was a highschool teacher and he also used to be a senior negotiator for the Manitoba Teachers Federation and was then President of a teacher's local here in BC about 20 years ago.

Even back then he was appalled at how the BCTF conducted itself and it has only grown worse since then.

"Instead of concentrating on teaching, real quality teaching, the BCTF lackies are more concerned with errant "priorities" like gay friendly books, sex ed to ten year olds, "sensitivity" issues, etc." These are internal BCTF policy matters. If you want to change them become a memeber of the BCTF.

"We are graduating functional illiterates at an alarming clip." The ministry of education sets graduation standards, your complaint should be directed to them.

".....drugs and weapons are commonplace in our schools..." In some schools, yes, making for a difficult and dangerous workplace. But drugs and guns, being criminal matters, are the responsibility of the attorney general's ministry I believe. Your complaint should be directed to them.

"Call on the Government and the union to work together with the institutions granting teaching certificates and diplomas to make it harder for someone to become a teacher--" A non-starter from the Govenment's side. Higher standards = higher salary, at least in the private sector. I am surprised that Gordo and his band of bullies hasn't done something to LOWER the standards in an effort to drive down wages. I think that's part of what the College of Teachers puscht was about.

"Sorry Budd, but it did indeed happen. My sister is a teacher, so are many other friends who confirmed the same thing--most of whom vote NDP, but were still appalled. Use to be that they just simply locked the door and winked you in the right direction." Strange we're only hearing about this now, rather than back in May. Assuming this actually happened, why would any mature adult tolerate it? You can always just get up and walk out! If your implying that the door was locked from the inside, preventing people from leaving, I know you're lying. Fire and building codes don't allow it.

This is complete Fiberal mongering at it's best.Maybe if you put some energy into pushing these two parties back into reasonable negotiations we may have something positive happen.
The fact is the government sent in negotiators who simply said no to everything and only offered clawbacks.They had no authority to negotiate anything and they stonewalled because the government have wanted to legislate the BCTF back.They refused arbitration or mediation and now we have Dejong inflaming thwe situation even more, much like steve and Mike are doing.
Are you guys on the payroll.What kind of statement is, "even my father didn't like them 20 years ago ". The union boogeyman intimidating people.If you look at labour relation history it is the state and companies who use intimidation to break strikes and workers.
i think that if the government acted with some responsibility and negotiated in good faith we would not be here today.Using the force of the legislative majority to impose a contract, instead of a cooling off period and arbitration is just what the agenda called for.CAnwest has been posting anti teacher articles for the last year in anticipation of this and what is interesting is that they have not been able to hide the fact that they the Fibs are mismanaging.

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