Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Attn: BCTF - Why I will be voting no

Many of us were surprised to hear this morning that a tentative agreement has been reached between BCTF and BCPSEA.  Although I certainly appreciate the time and commitment of our table officers, who concluded the negotiations with Jago, I don't believe it is a good deal and I don't think we should accept it. I will be voting no and encouraging others to vote no.

Although I am pleased that the concessions are gone, none of the bargaining objectives that teachers brought to the table have been addressed. In particular, this agreement fails to address class size and class composition issues, and it fails to address a fair salary increase or adequate preparation time for teachers. Teachers began this bargaining round with the lowest wages in Western Canada, and we will fall further behind with two years of zeros. We began with preparation time of 90 minutes per week for elementary teachers, compared to 240 in Ontario, and we will see no improvements in this area.

Next year, teachers will face larger classes with the class size averages and class composition limits removed under Bill 22. There will be ever greater numbers of students with significant learning needs. Teachers will not have adequate time to meet the needs of individual students. Nothing in this agreement addresses these concerns for working and learning conditions and that is a loss for both teachers and students.

A colleague of mine, Becky Blair, President of the Creston Valley Teachers' Association, will also be voting no. Here are her reasons:

We need to NOT ratify this – it is not good enough for our students.  We are exhausted because of our class composition issues, we are underpaid, we do not have enough prep time, and on and on.  Yes, we avoided the post and fill pick and choose scenario.  But dodging that bullet does not mean it will be dead – it will come back....  We are letting our students down, our brothers and sisters are left in the cold while we warm our hands by the meagre fire of the wee improvements fought so hard for.  We need to send a huge slam back to them – our bargaining team was working as hard as they could, and brought back the best they could.  But I love them enough to send them back again with a resounding NO to ratification. Please ask yourself if good enough is what we want.

Wearing my “Kids Matter, Teachers Care” shirt today.  And, yes, we do.


  1. Another reason to vote "NO" is a political one. This agreement will win some votes for the Liberals and the general public will view this deal as us being happy no matter what Susan says. In a year from now when we go to renegotiate the public will think that we are whining again and settled for better benefits and think of us as being greedy when that is not the case. I will also too be voting "No".

  2. Unfortunately, BC government's proposal would have hurt good teachers--those that are willing to challenge their administration when things go wrong. Principals would be able to fire those good teachers.

    If I were a BC teacher, I would be voting "no" to this tentative agreement. Even if there is no agreed settlement, it will send a signal to the government that the teachers' workplace will not resume to normal.

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  4. No is the way to go...ridiculous to think we went on strike for nothing. Bruce Cockburn once said, "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse!' This is not normal...this is on the way to worse!

  5. As my mom would say, be careful what you wish for. While I agree no sounds good, I really don't think an imposed contract would be healthy for us either. I think if the Liberals and CC get the chance to impose a contract it would be a nasty piece of business. Better the devil you know?


  6. A 51% rejection would be, in my opinion, the best of the worst. Check with your vote yes, one vote no.