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

 

 

Just Posted

Man arrested in Colwood sentenced for trafficking fentanyl

The man was arrested in February and has been sentenced to three years imprisonment

West Shore youth looking to give back this Christmas

Chase Doucette will hand out bags of warm apparel to the homeless

Local leaders of all ages honoured at National Philanthropy Day event

Awards in six categories given to Victoria residents who are leaders in giving back

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Search for contaminant continues at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

Island company ‘blown away’ by support after E. coli recall of Qualicum Spice cheese

Most Read