One reason the B.C. government refuses to go to arbitration with teachers is because it fears other public-sector unions would seek a comparable deal to whatever the BCTF is awarded — something an arbitrator would decide. And there are more than 160,000 public employees without contracts for the current bargaining cycle:
Contract status of B.C. public service employees
By number of employees (Total: 316,103)
From a balanced-budget perspective, there could be a larger burden than these numbers suggest. As Justine Hunter reports today, most of the collective agreements yet to be negotiated are by their nature more expensive: the ones for doctors, nurses and post-secondary educators.