BCTF members ratify new six-year contract, ending B.C. teachers’ strike

BCTF President Jim Iker announcing ratification vote results on Thursday.

BCTF President Jim Iker announcing ratification vote results on Thursday.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation membership has voted 86 per cent in favour of a new contract, ending the teachers’ strike that has kept more than half-a-million students out of the classroom.

Of 31,741 ballots cast, 27,275 were in favour of the new six-year contract, BCTF president Jim Iker announced Thursday night. There are roughly 41,000 members in all.

“With the ratification of the new collective agreement, the strike and lockout are now over,” Mr. Iker said. “Teachers and students will be back in school on Monday.”

Mr. Iker said there was a “strong vote of support for the collective agreement” despite the fact the union did not get everything it needs.

“We all know that this deal isn’t perfect, but it does provide gains for teachers, it protects our charter rights, it increases support for our students,” he said.

“There will be more classroom and specialist teachers in schools to help our students; our teachers on call will get fair pay for a day’s work and all our members will get a salary increase.”

However, several teachers have said they are not happy with the new deal. (Read our story on that here.)

Education Minister Peter Fassbender issued the following statement after the BCTF’s announcement:

“We have one of the best public education systems in the world, and that’s in large part because we have such great teachers.

“We can now focus on the path forward. This long-term agreement is an historic opportunity to work together for students – to enhance their education experience and to support their achievements.”

Mr. Iker said no lost time will be made up, though former education minister George Abbott has suggested otherwise:

Meanwhile, Thursday’s turnout was higher than the past few ratification votes:

Find more in the story on our main site here.

Reaction from both sides about tentative B.C. teachers’ contract

FROM BCTF NEWS CONFERENCE:

FROM GOVERNMENT NEWS CONFERENCE:

 


 

British Columbians will be hearing from both sides of the B.C. public education labour dispute today. Government leaders Christy Clark and Peter Fassbender are up at 2 p.m., then Jim Iker of the BCTF will speak at 4:30 p.m. From a government media advisory:

Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Peter Fassbender will address the tentative agreement with the BCTF from the Premier’s Vancouver Office.

And a memo from the teachers’ side said this:

BCTF President Jim Iker will speak to media today, September 16, at 4:30 p.m. at the BCTF Building, 550 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver. His remarks will be live streamed at https://new.livestream.com/BCTF/Sept162014.

Stay tuned for developments from these media availabilities.

Group solicits donations to send ‘5 angry teachers’ to B.C. Liberal fundraiser

Teachers crowdfunding for tickets at BC Liberal event

While BC students are still not in classes the BC Liberals are having yet another golf course fundraiser. Since MLA’s and Liberal party members refuse to meet with us to discuss the future of education, we are seeking help to buy a table at the fundraiser to make our voices heard face to face….

Striking teachers are hoping to crash a B.C. Liberal party fundraiser by buying tickets to a party event at a golf course. While the party plans to set up a place for protests to be heard outside, teachers are using an online fundraiser of their own to buy their way inside.

“While B.C. students are still not in classes the BC Liberals are having yet another golf course fundraiser.  Since MLAs and Liberal party members refuse to meet with us to discuss the future of education, we are seeking help to buy a table at the fundraiser to make our voices heard face to face,” organizers state on their GoFundMe website.

“You can rest assured that the 5 angry teachers who are planning to attend will be happy to share any and all of your valuable concerns with our most trusted leaders.” As of Thursday afternoon, they were close to reaching their $1,000 target.

Jillian Stead, a media spokesperson for the B.C. Liberals, said the party is planning to provide an outlet for protest at a fundraiser on Friday in a designated area, but protestors will not be invited out on the golf course. The event isn’t even advertised on the party’s website.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said in an interview that he respects the right of teachers to demonstrate, but added: “I would only hope that it remains respectful. …  It’s unfortunate when it gets out of hand. This is an emotion time for everyone – for me as well. I don’t like where we are. We need to get back to the bargaining table.”

UPDATE as of 1:30 p.m. on Friday: The group, in a message posted to the GoFundMe page, says it has reached its fundraising goal:

Thank you all so much for your support in our fight to improve public education in BC. In four days, we have surpassed our fundraising goal. YOU ALL ARE AMAZING! We are now closing the draw for the extra seats as of 9am, today, September 12. Winners will be notified soon. Any donations that continue to come in will go to the BCTF Hardship Relief Fund. Thank you!