Memo outlines BCTF's 5 key demands from B.C. government
B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker announces the union will vote on potentially escalating to a full-scale strike next week. May 4, 2014. (CTV)
Published Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:08PM PDT
CTV News has obtained an internal memo put out by the BC Teachers' Federation outlining the group's five key demands from the B.C. government. The following is the memo in its entirety:
On Tuesday afternoon, both parties agreed to meet and resume face-to-face talks. The two sides will meet again, starting on Wednesday.
The afternoon started with BCTF representatives pointing out government’s inconsistency with their wage offer and clearly stating that a reduction in the offer was unproductive. Jim Iker shared 12 news articles where the government quoted its own offer as 7.25% (or rounded up to 7.3%) and one of BCPSEA’s own documents, from May 16, that stated, they’re also offering “a total increase of 7.25% over six years.” Jim encouraged BCPSEA to stop playing with numbers before moving on to more important matters.
At the heart of Tuesday’s talks was the BCTF pushing forward with a fair framework for settlement, based on five key points:
- a five-year term
- a reasonable 8% salary increase
- no concessions
- a $225 million workload fund to address issues of class size, class composition, and staffing ratios as an interim measure while both parties await the next court ruling, and
- a $225 million retroactive grievances fund as a resolution to Justice Griffin’s BC Supreme Court decision that retroactively restored the stripped language from 2002. This fund would be used to address other working conditions like preparation time and TTOC compensation improvements, as well as modest improvements to health benefits.
The specific wordings of the proposed funds are copied below. Combined with the 8% salary increase, these two funds make up the bulk of the BCTF’s framework for settlement. Combined, the funds would immediately create better learning conditions for students and working conditions for teachers for the first day of school in September. At a cost of less than the price of the roof on BC Place, this is a fair and reasonable approach to improved funding for BC schools. It is also worth noting that the government’s own officials testified in Court that restoring the stripped provisions would cost an estimated $300 million.
While there were no new agreements reached on any terms, the discussions were positive. The government and BCPSEA’s representative asked questions and both sides discussed each others’ proposals face-to-face.
Jim Iker also let the employer know their proposal was unacceptable, as it states: “within 60 days of the ultimate judicial decision, either party may give written notice to the other of termination of the collective agreement.” The side that loses at the Court of Appeal, or even at the Supreme Court of Canada, should not have the right to unilaterally terminate the collective agreement.
Annually, the government will establish a workload fund of $225 million to provide additional funding to districts to address issues of class size, class composition, and staffing ratios.
- The funding will be new money and will be in addition to the current education budget.
- The funding will be used exclusively for the hiring of additional teachers.
School Needs Assessment
Prior to the start of each school year, the principal will meet with the local union staff representative(s).
The purpose of the meeting is to determine the level of additional teaching staff required in the following school year to address teacher workload.
Each school will submit a staffing allocation plan to the superintendent and the local union president.
If the principal and the staff representatives cannot agree to a plan the matter will be referred to the union president and the superintendent.
District Allocation Plan
The superintendent and the local union president will meet and, after considering the school staffing plans, will allocate the workload fund to individual schools.
If the superintendent and the union president cannot agree on the allocation the matter will be given to an independent third party for a binding resolution.
The parties agree that the decision of the Court of Appeal or, if the matter is further appealed, the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, will determine the rights of the parties and the content of the then current collective agreement regarding class size, class composition, staffing ratios, and other workload language that was unconstitutionally removed, and now restored to the Provincial Collective Agreement.
BCTF proposes that the parties resolve all grievances relating to the provisions returned to the collective agreement (subject to appeal) by effect of the decision of Justice S. A. Griffin. This resolution will be comprehensive, and apply to all such provisions (whether province-wide or school-district-specific), for the entire applicable time period, and to all forms of complaint and potential complaint. The resolution will be final, regardless of the outcome of the appeal of Justice Griffin’s decision.
The following is the proposed basis of the settlement:
The union withdraws the grievances and agrees not to initiate new ones; and, in consideration BCPSEA will make available $225 million toward the conclusion of the new collective agreement (2013–18). The money will be in addition to the money required to fund current BCPSEA proposals, the workload fund, and the current education budget. The allocation of the money will be determined at the bargaining table.
Provisions relating to the amount and the allocation will be included in the collective agreement.