Latest Update re:Bargaining and LIF

Hi Folks,

I guess this update is best described as the good(ish), the bad and the mediocre …. You get to decide which is which.

Provincial Bargaining

If you recall way back in the fall the Clark Government called for input into new bargaining structures with teachers.  Foolishly we submitted a brief and expectedly it was ignored.   The resulting document, published in January has come to be known as the “10 year deal”.  It is also known by many other names, a few of which are actually printable;  the “10 year steal” or the “10 year muzzle” ,come to mind.   Essentially the document eliminates any ability to negotiate class size and composition, and salary and benefits.  But, we did gain the ability to call a strike in the summer.   It would is not a road map to labour peace with teachers, as said premier would have us believe.

It was quickly put to the side because it was clearly a political document meant to gain some traction during a time when no one, including the liberal government, thought they were going to win an election.

Also, in the mean time, provincial bargaining was happening.  There was an initial agreement to expand the scope of local bargaining (more on this in a bit) and it established a facilitated process for actual negotiations to occur.  Negotiations are not what one might characterize as rosy, and BCPSEA continued with much of their contract stripping language, but negotiations were  happening, with the assistance of Marc Brown from the Labour Board..

Apparently, no one informed the gods as to how the world was supposed to unfold!

Fast forward to last weekend.  The BCTF Rep. Assembly was meeting in Vancouver.  Janet Steffenhagen from the Vancouver Sun called Susan Lambert and asked for a comment on the letter to her from the Deputy Minister of Education.  It would seem Ms Steffenhagen had the letter before Susan.   The lack of respect aside, the Deputy Minister informed Susan and the BCTF that the nature of bargaining will change and the so-called, “ 10 year deal” will be the guiding principle for the government.  This is before we even have a new Minister of Education.  I wonder where the Deputy Minister received his instructions.  BCPSEA also received a similar letter suspending its current bargaining mandate and suggesting they may want to rethink the planned bargaining dates.

BCPSEA has chosen not to reconsider the scheduled bargaining dates and the BCTF and BCPSEA bargaining teams just met on May 28th and 29th.  This is the link for a report from the table for theses days:

I believe it would be relatively safe to say, we have not heard the end of this story.

Local Bargaining

Compared to the provincial scene, Local Bargaining has been just ducky, thank you very much!  We met with the District team on April 22nd, May 22nd, and May 27th.

The bargaining has been very respectful and we have been able to accomplish a few of our objectives.  BCPSEA continues to restrict the School Board’s ability to negotiate areas that are not specifically designated Local Matters.  There is an understanding some issues will be addressed at a later time through the mid contract modification process.

We have a tentative understanding on some issues from our list of objectives, and the discussion continues on some of our other objectives.  Before anything can be signed off with the School District there will be a membership ratification vote on proposed changes.

The tentative agreements, so far, focus on the Post and Fill process and Parental Complaints.   The Post and Fill understanding would change a bit so that, except in unusual circumstances, any vacancy will be posted in the district and filled by the most senior qualified applicant.   The Parental Complaint language attempts to establish a less onerous process to resolve a parental complaint.  We have also tried to give some clarity to what constitutes a cultural leave.

We continue to discuss issues around consultation and collaboration, TTOC issues, and provision of tech equipment.

We are scheduled to meet again on Monday June 3rd, and Monday June 24th, if needed.

I hope to get around to talk to all school staffs beginning next week.  There are a number of provincial issues we could be facing in the next few weeks and it would be a good way to provide greater detail about any tentative local agreements with the School District.  If there is a time that works better for your staff, could you please let me know.


The district would like meet about the LIF positions on June 11th.  I sent out some information about this a little while  ago.  More information and feedback is always better than less information.  If you have not already done so could you please have this discussion with your staff.    We can continue the discussion with the school visits.

Thanks folks, hope to see everyone soon.



Fred Robertson

Vancouver Island North Teachers’ Association