Settle dispute with binding arbitration

This would allow schools to re-open and get students back in class

Negotiations between Christy Clark’s government and the BCTF have not led to an agreement. This is due, in part, to the BC Liberal’s insistence on having the right to override an unfavourable decision at the upcoming October court case on class/size composition. Rather than “letting the courts decide,” as Education Minister Fassbender has repeatedly said, the government wants to make sure that they control the outcome.

To this end, they have introduced Article E 80 to the bargaining table. It outlines inferior class size and composition provisions and then states: These provisions supersede and replace all previous articles that addressed class size, composition, and staffing levels.

So, if the court in October restores the superior language that was stripped from the teachers’ contract by the Liberals in 2002, the BC Liberals intend the court ruling to be superseded by the provisions outlined in E 80. These provisions, in effect, strip the language from the contract once again. For our education system, this means larger classes, more special needs students in a class, fewer counsellors, librarians and so on.

In negotiating terms, this article is known as a “poison pill” — an article so damaging the other side cannot agree to it. This impasse has convinced the BCTF that it is time to move to the next step. Binding arbitration would resolve the dispute between teachers and the government and schools would re-open. Contact Premier Christy Clark (premier@gov.bc.ca), Education Minister Fassbender (peter.fassbender.mla@leg.bc.ca) and MLA Laurie Throness (laurie.throness.mla@leg.bc.ca) to encourage them to “Say Yes To Arbitration.” Thank you. We need your help in getting our students and teachers back to school.

Lynne Marvell

President, Fraser Cascade Teachers’ Association