Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BCPSEA's hypocritical application to LRB over BC teachers wages

The BC Public School Employer's Association (BCPSEA) is making an application this afternoon to the Labour Relations Board on behalf of BC School Trustees. The application seeks to charge the teachers' union, the BC Teachers Federation, for a portion of teacher salaries during the current job action. Apparently they are asking for 5 - 20% of teachers wages.

The hypocrisy is mind boggling. Let's consider the facts.

Teachers are not attending a monthly staff meeting. They are not completing formal report cards three times per year. In some districts, they are not doing outdoor supervision during recess and lunch. They are doing all tasks in relation to teaching including lesson preparation, instruction, marking and assessment. They are continuing to communicate with parents on all aspects of student learning. They are continuing to organize field trips. They are continuing extra-curricular activities.

Most teachers report that the small amount of time not spent in meetings or doing paperwork is now being spent on enhanced lesson preparation, increased individual time with students, and more assessment. No teacher I know of is working fewer hours.

Meanwhile, in 2002 the BC Liberals unilaterally and illegally stripped teachers' collective agreement of class size and class composition limits. As a result, most teachers workloads increased. Increased class sizes lead to direct increases in workload. There is more marking, more assessing, more reporting, more parent contact. Increased class composition also leads to direct increases in workload. A student with an Individual Education Plan requires individualized lessons. This can be a major increase in workload where teachers have many such students in their class(es).

When teachers negotiated provincial class size limits, they gave up salary. A three year agreement was reached with 0%, 0%, and 2%. In exchange, the limits ensured reasonable workloads for teachers as well as improved learning conditions for students.

When these limits were stripped, there was no corresponding increase in pay. Teachers simply lost. The lost salary has meant BC teachers are now eighth in Canada. And teachers report working an average of 49 hours per week, with one tenth of teachers working 60 hours or more. There is no extra pay for these extra hours of work.

The BC Supreme Court found the contract stripping was illegal. The government has been forced to enter discussions with the BCTF to address their actions. So far, the government has insisted that there will be ZERO compensation for teachers for the effects of the illegal legislation.

So for ten years teachers have been working for significantly longer hours for lower salaries. And now, after two months of extremely limited job action, that same government (via its employer's agent) wants 20% of our wages.


  1. I think it would be more correct to say that BCPSEA is rumoured to be applying to the LRB. Difference between fact and fear mongering...


  2. This is not a rumour. BCPSEA tweeted their intention to file publicly. Here are the relevant tweets from BCPSEA, which you can see publicly here:!/BCPSEA

    We have filed an application with the LRB to request: 1) #bctf members prep & distribute report cards #bced #bcpoli

    2) require #bctf to reimburse school districts for salary and benefit costs associated with the strike activity. #bced #bcpoli

    Correction: We will file application with the LRB this afternoon. #bced #bcpoli

  3. Dear Tara,

    You have an excellent grasp on the situation and I love the way you express our plight!!! More power to the people!

    That is not Alien!!!

  4. I love reading your blog, Tara. Victoria teachers are very fortunate to have such well-informed/well-spoken/well-written local president such as yourself!

  5. Thank you for all of your thoughtful and thorough blogs on teachers issues Tara! We are so lucky to have such a strong GVTA that represents what is really happening in Victoria schools and around the province. It saddens me to no end to continue to hear the lies in the media about what students and teachers are faced with in the classroom. I hope that people are looking into both sides of the story before making any judgements. We are an educated and reasonable body of professionals who deserve to be bargained with respectfully and fairly. We are doing our best in schools with what we have but I expect that this government will be eating its words (it already has after the recent Supreme Court ruling) down the road as we see the consequences of such indignant behaviour unfold.

    I encourage everyone to stay informed and TALK TO A TEACHER about what is really happening!

  6. Wow, I've just returned home and it's almost 8:00 pm. I had parents visit me to discuss their child's success in the class after school - this took over an hour. I next worked on preparation for Friday's classes and then decorated my classroom door for the Halloween Door competition. During my prep. block this morning I rushed out to pick up hot-dog buns for a lunch fundraiser for the Salvation Army and spent my lunch hour serving these to students along with a number of other staff.

    On Tuesday evening, I drove from Chilliwack to Abbotsford to pick up over $200.00 worth of hot-dogs and supplies that I payed for personally. So far this year I have spent hundred on supplies personally to assure that the assignments I design proceed in an effective fashion. I truly care about my students and their future prospects in an increasingly challenging marketplace.

    I don't mind putting in the effort, but what is really galling is the insinuation that we as teachers are not doing our jobs or that we might be a lot of "Bad Apples". Yes perhaps there might be one or two, but what of our elected officials, I remember a certain provincial leader charged for impaired driving among many other issues; he continued on ruling with an iron fist and made some very costly and ill considered decisions affecting our economy. Whether you agree or disagree with the HST, the manner in which it was implemented was not democratic, so I applaud the citizens of BC for standing firm.

    What of other provincial political leaders who abuse the power granted them by their office yet are able to rid themselves of their troubles and dirty laundry miraculously upon the breaking of yet another political scandal. One might say, Voila' and these violator's of the public trust are re-invented to continue on their merry way.

    What is it about teachers that makes us such a threat to the provincial government? Is it that we educate and attempt to create thoughtful, intelligent young people who might eventually question government authority?

    I thought the goal of our previous premier was to see BC become the top of Canada's educational system? Instead we lose hundreds of millions yearly and have laws imposed on us which are severely jeopardizing an already challenged system. How do we keep the " Brightest and Best" in BC if we are going to offer them salaries marked at 8th place in a province with the highest cost of living in the country? If I wasn't so close to retirement, I'd leave.

    Perhaps the citizens of BC might start evaluating the performance of elected officials in the same fashion as they seem to be scrutinizing us.

    Yes, teachers do have demands, but these are largely unselfish in nature and are predominately aimed at supporting the next generation, after all one day they will be in charge.