For the second time this summer I am disturbed by the bargaining (or lack thereof) between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association. Both stories I have read have been grossly imbalanced and paint an unjust picture of B.C. teachers.
Tom Fletcher’s coverage quotes BCPSEA bargaining bulletins and covers their position for six paragraphs but dedicates only one sentence to BCTF president Susan Lambert. According to Fletcher’s article, the teachers have tabled four demands, all related to salary. For your information, here are some direct quotes from the teachers’ bargaining bulletin:
“Teachers’ top priorities include: improving teaching and learning conditions (class size and composition, caseloads, learning specialist ratios, and time for class preparation), a fair and reasonable compensation package including benefit improvements commensurate with teachers across Canada (B.C. teachers are the fourth lowest paid in the country), and a return to local bargaining as the best solution to local issues.
“Premier Clark has an opportunity to make her ‘families first’ agenda real by restoring funding to schools and services to students this September. After a decade of deteriorating conditions, students should come back to school as beneficiaries of the ruling that restores teachers’ bargaining rights and funding levels to make up for the $275 million which was cut every year since 2002.”
It seems teachers do have the kids’ interests in mind. Let’s make sure that the people who do an invaluable service to our society are appreciated and respected accordingly.
Bargaining involves two parties – the least we can do is educate ourselves about both sides of an issue before passing judgment.