Proposed teacher’s contract brings relief, frustration

Greater Victoria teachers' union leader opposes deal

While some Greater Victoria board of education trustees are breathing a sigh of relief over the tentative collective agreement reached between B.C. teachers and the province on Tuesday, others, such as the president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, are speaking out against the deal.

Despite a recommendation of acceptance from the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, GVTA president Tara Ehrcke isn’t voting in support of the agreement with the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association.

“I think (the BCTF) was concerned that the government was planning on legislating the concessions they had on the table and it was nervousness of that impending legislation that probably led to the agreement,” Ehrcke said, noting her decision to vote contrary to the BCTF doesn’t reflect a broader decision made by the GVTA.

“This agreement doesn’t solve any of the issues … around classroom conditions and reasonable wage increases,” Ehrcke said.

During the last contract negotiations in 2005, the GVTA did not make a vote recommendation to its members. The outcome of the teachers’ vote on the deal is expected by next Wednesday.

BCPSEA chair Melanie Joy said the tentative agreement standardizes provincial language for the number of leaves and establishes a process for determining local and provincial issues.

Acceptance of the agreement will allow schools to resume classes next fall with teachers resuming extra-curricular activities and meetings with school administration.

Saanich and Sooke teachers’ association presidents, while unwilling to divulge personal votes, conveyed a sense of relief over the agreement.

“It caught me a bit off guard,” said Sean Hayes, president of the Saanich Teachers’ Association. “I think it caught a lot of us off guard. By any indication, things weren’t going too well. The fact that we have something to vote on is a good thing.”

Helming the Sooke Teachers’ Association, Patrick Henry is welcoming the tentative agreement as a potential break in the battle between both sides – one he said is mired in media coverage of the province’s net zero wage mandate and BCTF salary and benefit requests.

“It’s a bittersweet thing,” Henry said. “No one wants to prolong this any longer, anyway.”

Greater Victoria Board of Education chairperson Peg Orcherton is similarly relieved over what she sees as a very positive sign for the relationship between teachers and the province.

“It was a surprise – a happy surprise,” she said. “I’m hoping this opportunity will give everyone a chance to step back from the brink and collect their breath and their thoughts.”

Orcherton is hopeful more progress will be made through the fall, including more definition of the split between provincial versus local bargaining issues.

Michael McEvoy, president of the B.C. School Trustees’ Association called the tentative agreement a small step in the right direction.

“Over the last number of months, it’s been very, very difficult and we’re just very pleased that the parties have resolved and worked so hard to reach a resolution,” McEvoy said. “There are a lot of issues that are off the table and not a part of the resolution here, but that’s a part of collective bargaining. You don’t get everything that you want.”

Less than 24 hours following the announcement of the tentative agreement, the BCTF issued notice of a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court against the province.

The claim, the second made by the union in the last 10 days, is formed on the basis that Bill 22 unconstitutionally infringed teachers’ right to free collective bargaining and asserts that government’s directions to BCPSEA resulted in bad faith bargaining.

-with files from Tom Fletcher

nnorth@saanichnews.ca

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read