Teachers

Teachers

School board calls for arbitration panel

On Tuesday, the Board of Education approved sending a letter to Fassbender and the BCTF urging an arbitration panel.

More than 30,000 B.C. teachers voted almost unanimously Wednesday to end their strike if the B.C. government will send their dispute to binding arbitration.

The government, however, had already dismissed the province-wide vote, with Education Minister Peter Fassbender calling it a “ploy.”

In School District 5, board chair Frank Lento said he was not surprised by the results of the vote by teachers.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education approved sending a letter to Fassbender and the BCTF urging an arbitration panel.

“Each side would chose a representative and then each representative would chose a chairman,” explained Lento on Thursday. “Then it would be a panel for binding arbitration.

“The difference would be each party would select an arbitrator and then each arbitrator would select a chairperson. It’s something that’s happened in the past, years ago there would be arbitration panels to resolve disputes. So we sent that along for their consideration urging them to get the matter resolved.”

On August 5, Lento wrote the letter to Fassbender regarding the ongoing labour dispute.

“We wish to add our voices to the growing number of Boards across the province that are urging government to reach a fair, negotiated settlement prior to school start-up in September,” he wrote.

The letter went on to say that if an agreement can’t be reached, the board urges government to seek mediation or if necessary, binding arbitration.

“Our Board doesn’t see any long term benefits to a legislated resolution and anticipates considerable damage if agreement is not reached prior to school start-up in September.”

Lento ends the letter by saying: “Once again we remind government that education is not a cost to be managed but an investment to be made — in our children, our economy and our future.”

Fassbender had a statement waiting when the result was announced Wednesday evening by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

“As we have consistently made clear, binding arbitration would lead to unacceptable tax increases in this case,” Fassbender said. “That’s because the two sides remain too far apart on wages and benefits.”

BCTF president Jim Iker said the government is obstructing solutions to the dispute.

“This government has said no to arbitration, has tried to stall and block mediation, and has not moved on any monetary proposals in negotiations since June,” Iker said.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the union is seeking $315 million per year more than the government is offering, including wages, benefits and a fund to reduce class size and increase special needs support.

Now in the fourth week of full-scale strike action that began last spring, the BCTF received $8 million Wednesday from the B.C. Federation of Labour to use as a hardship fund for teachers who have lost more than four weeks’ pay. The B.C. Nurses’ Union put in another $500,000.

With files from Tom Fletcher

Just Posted

The City of Cranbrook and the Ktunaxa Nation raised the flag of the Ktunaxa Nation at the arches entrance into the city's downtown core during a ceremony on Monday, June 21. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Ktunaxa Nation flag raised at downtown arches entrance

The Ktunaxa Nation flag was raised at the Cranbrook arches — the… Continue reading

Kimberley Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to a call for service and transport an injured mountain biker to East Kootenay Regional Hospital over the weekend. Kimberley SAR file photo.
Kimberley Search and Rescue respond to injured mountain biker on Bootleg Mountain

Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to a call for service this past… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation to host flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Corey Bullock file)
City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation hosting flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day

A temporary road closure and speed limit reduction will be in effect during the ceremony

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

An example of the timber blowdown that let to the logging at Mountain Station. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Most Read