Thursday, August 28, 2014

BC Teachers: Get back to work - Update

There is nothing more disgusting and infuriating that seeing BC Teachers on strike again holding signs that say think of the kids. Going on strike does not help the kids. Teacher's raises do not help the kids. If the government locks them out that is one thing but going on strike is another. You don't have to ratify a contract. There is no reason you can't vote down the contract, keep working and let the courts hash out the details of the contract. The Union can sign a memorandum with the employer agreeing that the old contract remains in effect until the new contract is ratified. Everybody knows the BC Liberals are corrupt. Everybody knows the BCTF is corrupt too. Now we know the teachers are selfish and greedy and don't give a rat's ass about the kids.

Never before have I had such an uncontrollable urge to yell out get back to work when I see a picket line. Never. I support free collective bargaining and the right to strike. However, education is an essential service. You only graduate once. You're only in grade eight once. You once play sports in that year once. Nothing replaces those lost memories. Nothing. Now when I see a teacher with a picket sign that says think of the kids I just want to scream out Shame! That's my position on the matter. Let the parents volunteer for the extra curricular activities and God help any selfish bastard that calls them a scab.

Update: Christy Clark's recent publicity stunt is yet another example of everything that's wrong with the BC Liberals. She sends out a press release saying she's asking the Teachers to call off their strike and the media reports that the Teachers rejected her offer to return to work. That in itself is ridiculous. If she wanted the teachers to return to work she makes them an offer at the table. I'm sure if she said they would obey the court order they have refused to obey that would have significant more impact in getting the teachers back to work. This conflict isn't a matter of being on the teachers side or being on the government's side. Both are wrong here.

A child's education is an essential service. The government can easily legislate the teachers back to work. It because ever so problematic when the government legislates them back to work after they have been found in contempt of a court order themselves. Often the federal government has in the past legislated Postal Workers back to work with legislated wage settlements. Education is much more of an essential service than the Post Office.

What the government isn't allowed to do, which is to my understanding reflected in the court order they are in contempt of, is legislate someone back to work and throw away their existing collective agreement. True, wages are considered part of a collective agreement but the rest of the contract they just can't throw out at will. That's what they did. So although the teachers are being greedy and selfish and are using the kids for their own personal gain, it is important to realize who really caused the problem and elect a new government next election. We also need to remember that Surrey MP Fassbender is the current Labour Minister at the seat of the conflict. Fire him.

Peter Fassbender rejects binding arbitration. Exactly. Fire him.

Tentative agreement reached. Thank God.


  1. Not all teachers are for the strike you know. Definitely not your best posting... Makes me question the integrity of your other posts.

    1. Not all teachers support the strike. That is why Unions have something called strike votes. It's time for the teachers that really do care about the kids to take back the union from those that obviously don't.

  2. "...There is nothing more disgusting and infuriating that seeing BC Teachers on strike again holding signs that say think of the kids..."

    Except maybe Education Minister Peter Fassbender using emotional black mail when recalling a conversation he had with his granddaughter and how sad it was... yada yada ........nauseating.

    "...The Union can sign a memorandum with the employer agreeing that the old contract remains in effect until the new contract is ratified..."

    The Teachers didn’t do that because there is no incentive to bargain in light of the government’s failure to recognize recent supreme court rulling! The decision to go on strike for any union is a last resort, but unfortunately it is the only way to compel an Employer to bargain in good faith.

    1. "The Teachers didn’t do that because there is no incentive to bargain" That proves my point. They can do that but chose not to. Fassbender is a pos that highjacked the democratic process to get his nomination. However, the BCTF is just as bad as he is. I used to be a shop steward, grievance officer and local president. I am well aware of what Unions can and should do compared to what they often actually do. My concerns about the welfare of the kids is not emotional blackmail they are my concerns as a parent and taxpayer. I don't support this strike. Period.

  3. Do me a favor and read this history of the Supreme Court RULINGS against the BC Liberals and then get back to me.

    1. I agree the BC Liberals violating a court order is outrageous. There needs to be consequences for that. If the government legislates employees back to work and the employees defy back to work legislation, they are pretty quick to send people to jail and fine them. Clearly that needs to be done here. The BC Liberals need to be imprisoned and fined for violating that order. Surely, if the teachers stay on the job, the Union can go back to court and get a cease and desist order as well as damages in the form of a fine for not obeying the order. Money is the only thing they will listen to.

  4. As an educator, myself, I have to say I support the teachers in their endeavours against the government.

    The government should tie all wages and salaries to the minimum of the cost of living interest with a mandatory increase tied to the salaries and bonus' of the government MLA's and MP's.

    Or maybe let the teachers decide on their own salaries and benefits like the government does ...

  5. As a parent and mother of a child that has gone through about 4 strikes during the 12 grades, this is what I have to say:

    I grew up in a Country where I personally never encountered a strike of any kind. Our School system has worked, I believe it still works quite well, please have a peak on how the "system" is set up where I grew up:
    To this day, family and friends tell me that there has NOT BEEN A STRIKE by Teachers since I left the country, 1980.
    I don't believe in Strike or Union.
    One of the best School system is actually in Finland, I lived and worked there, there is a reason why the call it the “Know How”….

    The BCTF is just another public Bully, the Union Leaders push their agenda and at the same time DON'T have 2 miss their wages, and only the teachers do. I do not believe in Unions the way the operate today; it is not in the best interest of the workers/members or the service they are suppose to provide. I put the same blame on our Corrupt Gov., from Liberals, NDP to the Conservatives, there is no input allowed from us the taxpayers, the people that hire these politicians and pay their wages that they raise without our consent. We pay them to rob us, now tell me, is there another institution or profession or side job or what ever you want to call it, where this is ok?

    A Teacher's strike takes a fundamental right away from every single child that is registered into the public school system. The parents have a Duty (in my opinion) to make sure their child/children get that right fulfilled.

    Why do Teachers want to belong to a Union that is dictating their every step? And a Government that is not in the best interest of the students and theirs? It makes no sense to me at all. If our politicians would send their own children into public school, this would NOT be an issue at all. Education in Canada has all become about Money and who can afford private school and who can’t, it is up to the parents and teachers to stop this, get together and form their own “alliance” as they know best what our children need.

    Lastly, the school system I was able to enjoy took only 9 grades instead of 12.
    By the time I/we hit 16 we were ready for either more education, or work or an apprenticeship. There is no need for all these grades; if children/kids were being educated and challenged in their daily school routine, students would have less free time between school and home. Why end school early afternoon when so many of our children end up at an After School Daycare or when old enough, end up alone at home? Keep the education going and make it more interesting and more challenging. Children need the challenge and they need to know they are part of the bigger picture that forms our new Generation.
    This is not the case now; kids come home from school to their devices and keep doing what they did during class, keep texting keep talking with friends.
    Why are our children allowed to have their cell phones on in the classroom? Seriously?

    If parents are that worried about their kids, maybe they should stop their goals and put them on the back burner until their children are graduated. Don’t have kids to just send them to the daycare babysitter or nanny, you want kids raise them if you can. Our Society has gone so far that a child is now part of the Status, so dear parents please think hard why your children are not getting the education they deserve, we play the biggest role in our child’s development, not the teacher and not the nanny and certainly not our Government.

    Make your child priority and things might shift back to where it should be?

  6. The teachers voted for strike action and a majority approved... the union doesn't dictate their every step. B.C. Supreme Court has twice found that the B.C. government hasn't negotiated in good faith. Teachers have gone on strike, not because they want to lose wages or make their jobs harder for the rest of the year, but because they are right to want fair wages (that are commensurate with wages in other provinces and that keep up with inflation) limits on class size (so they can properly attend to the needs of their students and so B.C. has similar numbers of classes per capita as in other provinces) and limits on class composition (so that the number of students with special educative needs doesn't exceed the teacher's ability to provide adequate assistance to the class as a whole) and adequate resources (such as specially trained learning assistants who can work in rotating shifts with individual students who would otherwise fall far behind and thus either fail to integrate or have an adverse effect upon the learning of other students within their classes.

  7. Maggie is dead on. The BCTF is a bully and these endless strikes take away a child's right to an education. Sadly there are many teachers who are consumed with the same kool aid greed that drives the BCTF. Fassbender and Iker are both scoundrels.

    There is a difference between a strike vote and a contract ratification. Many years ago when I was with the Post Office the government tried to take away our pensions. There was an overwhelming number of employees that voted to reject that proposal. After that large strike vote the Union decided to wait and kept everyone at work. It was the employer that locked everyone out. During two strikes that I know of the Union signed a memorandum letting the employees deliver pension cheques during the strike. No one wants seniors to suffer.

    There is no reason the teachers can't go back to work and hash out the details of the contract in court. No reason whatsoever. Other than of course greed.

    1. You will not find one teacher who actually WANTS to be on strike.

      However, I bet you will find lots who feel powerless and helpless against a government that does not listen - in the face of this, what actions should the teachers take?

      Obviously if the courts have found the government negligent in the past and nothing has changed because of it (who appoints the judges and prosecutors?) why should anyone trust this time to be different?

    It is all about the little remaining money left in the world after this Major world social,economic, and political problem. It does have major consequences!

  9. Agent k what do you think of getting rid of the union and paying on performance? is that to radical

    1. That would be a bit extreme for me personally in this situation. Decertification would have to come from the members and I doubt they have more than 50 % because they are dealing with such a prick of an employer.

      Some people blindly support the union, any union, no matter what. Others blindly opposed unions, any union, no matter what. I personally believe they have their time and place but they have to be accountable to the members they represent. I know this is a sensitive issue but I am sick and tired of the BS that is coming from both sides not just one. Neither side cares about the kids at all. That much is clear.

    2. Getting rid of a Bully Union is not extreme in my opinion.
      It is the only way our Teachers will have to think for themselves, what is so wrong with having to fight for your own job?

      All my life I have negotiated my own salaries and my own benefits hence, I never got any benefits in CANADA, but since money wasn't my focus ever, it didn't matter to me, what mattered was my job which I LOVED SO MUCH.

      We have Teachers Society that are pulled into two directions, one is the Union the other is the Government. Neither side is "Fair" to the Teachers, meaning if the teachers would have been taught to work out their own salaries/benefits etc. we would be dealing with a total different Mentality.

      The Government wouldn't have such a hold over them, the minute you give your power away to any third or more party, you are out of control.

      So here we have Teachers being held hostage in lack of better terms, by both sides, the BCTF and the Government.

      Now just imagine if they would have their own negotiation tools and capability to do so?

      would we really be in this ongoing situation? Nothing really has changed in the last couple of decades or there wouldn't be this Tug of War that keeps appearing?

      If Teachers would be taught to fight their own battles, I wouldn't be writing this post right now.

      Be yourself and STAND TALL :)
      You Can Do it :)

    3. By getting rid of the union you get rid of the teachers ability to collectively bargain. No individual teacher can "stand tall" against a firmly entrenched private sector agenda like that of the B.C. liberal party. Why on earth would anyone think that teachers could better negotiate their position without a union. The Liberals no doubt would thank you for assisting them with your anti-union sentiment, and they would probably also thank you for not actually paying attention to the relevance for students of class size and class composition. Limiting the class size makes more jobs for teachers and more class time for students. Limiting the number of students per class with special educative needs again makes more class time for students. Spending the national average level (1000 more per year per student) would also mean more specialty teachers (librarians, special needs teachers etc) again benefiting students. Asking for a wage increase that brings B.C. levels up to the national average and in step with inflation just makes sense. Union bashing is totally absurd in this instance... unless you are on board with the private sector agenda of the B.C. Liberal party.

    4. I really don't see Maggie's comments as "Union bashing." She is not a dirty politician. She's not even right wing. She is just expressing the genuine heartfelt feelings of a parent and taxpayer who cares. She, like many other parents and taxpayers, is frustrated. If my kids were still in school I'd be going ballistic right now.

      Personally I wouldn't work for a company like Telus or Canada Post without a union. Yet when they tried to organize my current workplace I voted no. Unlike Canada Post or Telus my employer treats me well and the Union they tried to bring in had a reputation of misappropriation of pension funds.

      However, once the contract has expired and the union is in a strike position, one thing the members can legitimately do is seek other representation. When the contract has expired the Union can be raided by another union and the members can change their representation.

      CAW is an example of a Union that would be up for the cause but I personally wouldn't pick them after Buzz Hargrove screwed the employees at Telus which helped kill their Union. Right now the Unions at Telus and Canada Post are virtually powerless.

    5. In fact a raid might be the best thing for teachers and students alike. It would force the BCTF to settle fast to close the raiding period. I saw that happen once at Canada Post when they were raided by LCUC.

  10. Although I greatly appreciate this blog, I do not believe that the following statement demonstrates a charitable consideration of the topic: "There is no reason the teachers can't go back to work and hash out the details of the contract in court. No reason whatsoever. Other than of course greed."
    Our B.C. government seems intent on supporting private sector interests (Pipeline, Coal, Casinos, Private Power) while also working to undermine public utilities (B.C. Hydro) and services (E.I., Education, Healthcare ). By accusing teachers--across the board--of greed, it seems to me that you are aiding the anti-public agenda of our local government. Teachers do essential work. The grand majority work hard. The grand majority care about the children they teach. "Support your local teachers" seems like it should be a motto you can get behind.

    1. I don't support this strike. That does not mean I support the Liberal government or the pipelines or the way they screwed up BC Hydro. That has absolutely nothing to do with it. The statement you quoted is true. There's no reason they can't vote down the contract and stay at work until the courts hash out penalties for the government's violation of the court orders. None whatsoever. I have a friend who has a son in primary. He's adorable. He was supposed to go back to school tomorrow but that's not happening and his education is in the realm of uncertainty. That is just plain wrong. The kids are suffering and neither side cares. How about we elect a new government next term and we find a new union during the open period?

  11. Thank you Agent K for your support much appreciated.

    You are right, it is not my intention to Union bash, I have been around long enough, lived and worked hard in different Countries, (maybe that's why I can "Think outside the BOX"?) therefor I can appreciate all kinds of professions, work and jobs.

    I am well aware what Unions have accomplished in the past, some are still doing a great job no doubt, however, the reality is that we are in a different era today and some hoity-toity Unions are acting like Bullies and that is the case with the BCTF as we speak.

    Like Agent K mentioned the Telus and Canada Post union, I personally know people in both unions and some families have been completely destroyed by them, since it is all about Greed, some Unions will push you out in order to get a younger or more suitable face in that has the potential to accomplish more. Like it or not, it is all about the almighty Dollar, Union or no Union.

    Businesses in the Hospitality that are unionized have a habit of letting workers pass their probation time and then fire them so the don’t have to give them a raise. This is an ongoing problem and the Union isn’t doing anything about it.

    Dear John Patmos, you say I don't pay attention? Are you sure? Have you read my earlier comment above? I am actually painfully aware and awake of what is going on around me, regarding our school system it appears to be designed for average students to fail, this is where I am trying to point out, this is NOT NEWS, it has been going on for quite a while. So if you think the Union is helping our Kids and teachers, you are the one not paying attention. Anybody can make mistakes, so the first time it is just that a mistake, but the second time it becomes a CHOICE.

    In my opinion, the Canadian School system is getting worse by the year, so is the Union that is supposedly representing the Teachers.
    Who actually represents our Kids? If it isn't the community and us parents/guardians in general, we all fail miserably.

    Asking for a wage increase by a Union is what I have great difficulty with. I will explain why. There are hard working people in every profession, Union or none Union, but when the lazy people are being paid the same as the hard working person next to them, I have a huge problem with that.

    I happened to work in a Country for a while where I was in a Union situation, I didn’t speak the language and being a hard working person I just worked and did what I was hired to do. I created a faster way of filling, loading and organizing the product we worked with. Well, that got me into deep trouble and most other workers hated me, however, the Manager of the place saw a potential and called me into the office.
    She asked me to please slow down, but at the same time I got quite the raise as a token of appreciation and I was told the word is MOM.

    I am not on board with any sector and I don’t have an agenda, actually what I am doing is surviving. Yes, I worked all my Canadian Life in the private sector and it paid off, not for me but for my employers and their patients and clients in my case.

    Today I am on CPP Disability and I enjoy $590.23 a month, now you tell me what my agenda could be? How many hard working people do you know that ended up with a pension less than the Politicians pet allowance?

    Have a great Day ☺

  12. go back to work you bastards and quit using my kids as pawns to make yourselves more money. add up all the holidays and pro d days and you work about 8 months a year indoors with great pensions and pretty good wages for the work you actually do. when i want to make more money i quit and find a better job. perhaps you should do that and see what an actual hard days work is again. you have no support from me or anyone i know except for teachers. you suck.

  13. Teachers are cry babies. Wish I had a sweet pension when I retire. Nope I get what I save and invest after working 60 hours a week ,50 weeks a year ,for 45 years. You do the math cry babies and you seen you have a pretty cushy job with lots if perks and you wine about not making any money. I saw the comprising in this article and looks pretty above average for a Canadian.

    So pull u head out your asses and go back to work you lazy cry babies.

  14. John Patmos: I support free speech. If the Teachers or the Hells Angels want to create their own blog or website telling the world how hard done by they are, they are free to do so. If someone has something intelligent to say that stimulates some interesting discussions about something I've posted, have at it. What I don't support is people who spam my blog with nonsense and insist that I am not entitled to my opinion if it differs from theirs. They can create their own blog for that.

    Dr John Smythe is a long time credible poster on this blog. He has been very clear that he disagrees with my position and supports the teachers. That is fair comment.

    I am under the impression that you used to post as Freddy. Freddy got to the point where he felt he owned the blog and was attacking others including Dr John Smythe in a confrontational manner. He became very toxic.

    I don't have time to go on and one and argue about specific issues. No two people agree on every issue. Yet no two people disagree on every issue either. Prime example is Dr John Smythe agreeing with a position that Freddy would have taken despite Freddy's disdain for Dr John Smythe.

    When people go one and on about ridiculous rhetoric from either side of this dispute, I just don't have the time of day to argue about it. I disagree. That's all there is to it. There's nothing else really to discuss.

    1. Agent K. I'm not trying to spam you with nonsense and I don't intend my comments as an attack. I've never posted on your blog before the BCTF issue. Although I was surprised by your choice not to post my response to the anti-union post by the user calling him or herself Maggie, if you imagined that I was someone you had had trouble with before, it makes it a little easier to understand. The reason I'm corresponding with you now is that I am glad you've created this blog. I think it throws light on things that need to be in the public eye a lot more than they are. Also, my impression has been that alongside your justifiable outrage and irritation at all the crap that goes on in our province there is also real concern for regular working people. I appealed to that concern and while any persuasive appeal is by definition rhetorical... I don't see how my comment--which was a thoughtful response to an important issue--constitutes either a "toxic" attack, or a descent into the "ridiculous." I read your blog because I care about the stuff you are writing about. Of course it's true I could write my own blog if I wanted to attack you or anyone else, but that just wasn't my intent. The intent was to participate in a forum that I consider valuable.

    2. It was just thing whole thing about teachers have gone to school and deserve this and that was exactly something Freddy would say who has in the past coupled with that numerous personal attacks on individuals which was somewhat toxic. I think the recent headline where Fassbender has rejected binding arbitration says it all. The BC Liberals are really screwed up. I'm just really upset the kids are suffering as a result. I'm certainly not on the governments side on this issue. I think both are wrong. Teachers are important. So are doctors and nurses. So are police and firemen. All their wages comes from the tax payers.


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