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BCTF Counters Government Claims In Teacher Dispute

By 250 News

Sunday, March 04, 2012 12:48 PM

Prince George, B.C. – Opinion 250 on Saturday published a list of government rebuttals to BCTF claims in the British Columbia teachers’ contract dispute. (see article entitled “Government Wages PR Battle In Teachers Dispute”)

 

Opinion 250 is presenting the BCTF counter release to the government’s claims for your perusal to keep you fully informed of the opposing positions in this dispute.



British Columbia Teachers’ Federation Claim


FACT



700 fewer Special Needs teachers

 


Government propagated MYTH: 2,100 additional special needs teaching assistants in B.C. classrooms.

FACT: Although assistants are important, in the time between 2001 and 2007 over 600 special ed. TEACHERS were lost. At the same time the numbers of special needs students increased by over 1400 students. Since 2006 , 174 more special needs teachers have been lost and over 1,000 more special needs assistants have been added.




Ninth-best paid in Canada

 


Gov propagated MYTH: B.C. teachers’ salary plus benefits is fourth-best among provinces.

FACT: When comparing categories of equal training and experience BC teachers range from 6th to 9th depending on category. The facts are clearly shown in the BCTF documents found at http://www.bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/BargainingContracts/U102-SalaryDocument.pdf



Seniority eroded under Bill 22 - Education Improvement Act


Gov propagated MYTH: Seniority remains key factor but qualifications also considered. Math teachers teaching Math; Science teachers teaching Science.

FACT: This is a made-up problem. All teacher collective agreements contain within their seniority language a provision that qualifications trump seniority. The government proposal is that seniority comes after principal’s choice which opens the door for all kinds of discrimination which would be difficult to prove. i.e. nepotism, cronyism, applicant too active in the union, too fat, too feminine, too masculine, of child bearing age. Who knows? Seniority is NOT a key factor in the BCPSEA proposal and for their information qualifications are already considered in collective agreements.



Contract demands are reasonable


Gov propagated MYTH: A 15 per cent wage increase at a cost of $2 billion is completely unreasonable, given the current economic reality.

FACT: It is reasonable to ask for a cost of living increase. And since BC teachers are so far behind colleagues across the country, it is reasonable to propose a small catch-up, which by the way is only a tiny fraction of the actual gap. This is also our opening position. Unfortunately BCPSEA has not offered even one counter to our opening position. Furthermore, BCPSEA continues to play a mug’s game with their costing. The BCTF costing of all of our proposals is $535 million dollars. It’s a little odd 15% increase to one account (which comprises between 40 – 50% of the total budget) within a total budget of 4 – 5 billion $ would increase the total budget by nearly 50%. Hmmm...Some monkey business going on with those calculations.



Wage increases are modest

 


Gov propagated MYTH: Teachers’ union demands would cost $2 billion, which would raise taxes on all B.C. families.

FACT: The BC Liberals have made some serious mistakes in handling taxpayer money. They are now choosing to make the workers of BC pay for their mistakes. They have other options which they refuse to take. They could rescind some of the tax breaks they have given to the wealthiest corporations. Currently BC has the lowest corporate tax rates in the G8. I am not talking about incorporated small businesses here. I am talking about extremely wealthy companies, many of whom over charge and underpay. Talk about favouring the 1% over the 99%.



Eliminated class sizes

 


Gov propagated MYTH: Class-size caps on all grades with exceptions made by principals and superintendents.

FACT: And how are principals and superintendents going to make class sizes reasonable without adequate funding? The consultation with the teacher, the person who best knows what will work in any given classroom, is also no longer required.



Reject net-zero wage mandate

 


130 net-zero contracts signed.

25,000 CUPE employees signed net zero contracts.

FACT: That is a decision for other unions to make. Labour unions are in support of the BCTF struggle for a fair and reasonable deal. They recognize that this is an assault on all of them, not just teachers.



Teachers have not been fairly compensated

 


Teachers received a 16 per cent wage increase; $3,700 signing bonus for their last contract.

FACT: And yet teachers have gone from 3rd in Canada to as low as 9th. But what is even more egregious is the insistence on stripping the collective agreement of long held rights. Furthermore the government has ignored the Supreme Court ruling by Judge Griffin regarding class size and composition, teachers’ working conditions and students’ learning conditions. Bill 22 is an all out assault on unions and the government is starting with teachers. It is also an assault on students and the education system in general.



12,000 overcrowded classes

 


Gov propagated MYTH: Of 65,000 classes, fewer than 1,500 have more than 31 students. Fewer than 600 have more than 33 -- most of these are band, choir and theatre.

FACT: Overcrowding is more than that. What about classes that pose a health and safety problem because children are being crammed into labs that are only made for 24 students? What about classes of 28 with 8 special needs students? Are those not overcrowded?

Here is the BCTF brief on Education Funding to the Select Standing committee on Finance and Government Services which clearly indicates the true extent of overcrowding in our schools:

 

 

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Comments

Talk about twisting it to fit their own needs! Google teachers wages Canada, and low and behold the government is telling the truth and the BCTF is lying. Ont,Man ,and Alb are higher. Ontario is like Greece so that will end. Alberta has no debt so good for them, and Manitoba is 2 % higher. $73,000 for the hours of work and the excellent benefits is fair compensation! 2 billion over 3 years you idiots not 1 year.
Thank you Opinion 250 for presenting BOTH sides of the story.
Bravo for opinion 250 for standing with our teachers and against more Fiberal lies.
Thank you for posting this other side of the story. Big media is already in the pockets of the government, it is the grassroots media like opinion250 that it takes to get both sides of the story out.
Total cost $535,000,000 is a lie. 5% +5% +5% is 15%.5 the first year,10 the second, then 15 in the third year. Do the math, BCTF is fibbing! I don't believe either side, but too many faudulant statements in the BCTF response. If you can post on here you can go to several sites to check the facts. Do your own DD and don't believe the BS.
Oh and the education budget for primary and secondary is $5,973,000,000.00 next year. Now only about 67-70% is teachers but a little higher than stated by the BCTF.
Oh boy the spin on all sides,fact is the teachers recieve fair wage and benefits. Also when you look at class size come on 30- 40 students not out of line,big problem is to much wasted time, get back to basic teaching and more school time start at 9am done 3.30 pm less BS days off. I am sick of this crap if you really want to teach then do it or move on. The Teachers agreement is full of costs you never hear about post the agreement and then cry a river, won't happen shock will set in.All the bull from both sides about kids first. For some teachers they really believe with the kids first statement and want to teach to the best, others should go back to school and stay there.
Glad I have the means to be able to have my child in Private school...
Some people support the teachers blindly without checking the facts. Spend some time to check the BCTF website. Most teachers with over ten years on the job in most districts make in excess of $90,000 per year. Most teachers also have close to $500,000 worth of pension. The teachers and the government are both trying to spread BS, but if you look closely at the BCTF website, some of that information is fact, but some of the newer stuff has been put there to try to help their cause. The dumb ass student who lead the walkout on Friday without even checking to see what teachers make was typical of most people.
The BCTF is way too political for its own good! Judging by the above it boils down yet again to a class struggle, im my opinion. How about just sticking to the non-political issues, like working hours, overtime pay, wages, benefits, vacation and sick day entitlements?

I have never seen a union go on strike over issues which are the domain and responsibility of management!

If a worker is too dissatified with the job he or she quits and goes to work elsewhere!

Isn't there a teachers' shortage in any of the other more highly paid provinces? If I was that stressed out I would make plans to move to greener pastures!

Canada is the second largest country in the world!
The wages may be lower than some provinces BUT the provincial taxes in BC are lower.

Alberta pays 10% on all taxable income while in BC we do not pay that rate until income reaches 47k.



http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html
Priceless. The title of this article should be "BCTF Counters Government Claims In Teacher Dispute... with Some Claims of its Own."
I am reposting this one over here, because it seems many are conveniently ignoring it.

Quote from Johnnybelt:
"As far as the BCTF is concerned, this isn't about what's best for kids, it's about what's best for the BCTF."


Do nurses negotiate for more hospital beds?
Do mill workers negotiate for more environmental methods?
Do postal workers negotiate for quicker mail service?
Do grocery workers negotiate for better produce?
Do liquor store workers negotiate for better selection?

Why do you feel the BCTF should be doing what is best for kids? That is the parents job, and for some reason they are virtually silent in that area. Children are parents most precious item, and for some reason they don't lobby the government at all for better education.

For some reason it is left to the teachers to negotiate not only their livelihoods, but everyone else's best interest as well, the future of the next generation.

To your other argument Johnny, show me some actual numbers and facts. "Considerable resources." Go ahead....

I know that the union has only 4 days of strike pay because they have had to borrow from that fund to pay for lawyers in their 10 year battle, as well as borrowing 1 million dollars for a recent run of commercials. The government is spending taxpayer dollars, and for what?

Now go ahead and do as you always do and cherry pick one comment to harp on instead of answering all the questions you know you are defeated on.
lumberman55,

30-40 students is not too many you say?

70 minute classes with an average of 30 minutes of instruction. If we cap it at 30 students then there is 1 minute and 20 seconds left per student to get individual help. Add in an ESL student that takes 5 minutes of explanation, a behaviour student that takes 5 minutes of your time, 2 kids that are good at getting your attention and ask more than their "share" of questions get 5 minutes each. Time for attendance, time to hand out graded assessments, time for announcements, time dealing with students that are late. Now there is less than half a minute of time for each student to get any individual attention.

Oversized classes are a tragedy, and teachers are doing more triage, than they are instruction.
Old55, (related to lumberman55)

There is not a single teacher earning a "wage" of $90,000 in the province of BC.

Are you skewing data by adding benefits and making people believe it is a wage?
Were you actually told this by someone?
Did you believe some nut job on a message board and you're repeating it as fact?
Cougs78,

15%:

3% year 1, 6% year 2, 6% year 3. That is all. Where do you people come up with this stuff?


The 15% teachers are asking for is 3% per year plus a 3% market adjustment in each of the second and third year. One reason for the market adjustment is that in previous contracts teachers took LESS money to get classroom size and composition. Teachers had that for a few years, and then the government toar up the contract and illegally (teachers won the court case) stripped those provisions from their contract. If teachers had taken money instead of classroom composition then their wage now would be higher already as a result. During the years BC teachers were accepting LESS money to get smaller classes, Alberta/Ontario/Saskatchewan teachers were getting raises. That is why they are so far ahead of us.

That is why teachers are asking for a "market adjustment," to make up for those wrongs.
To lumberman and Old55:
I am a teacher with 7 years of University, which I paid for myself. I have been teaching for 30 years. I do not make anywhere near the $90,00 that you quoted. All districts in the province have the same pay scale, so I would love to know where "most" teachers and "most" districts are.
As for class sizes, you think 30-40 students in a class would be no problem? Obviously you do not want your children to be well-taught. I have 26 students, one is severely autistic, one cannot walk, talk, or feed himself, and the others' ability levels are between Grades 1 and 6. I do not have the support in my class to meet the needs of all the students, and this is very frustrating. You are correct that 30-40 students may not be out of line with perfectly behaved students all at the same level. However, this is not the case in ANY classroom. Mine is the norm, rather than the exception.
To qualify, your quote was $90,000, not $9,00.
Also when you look at class size come on 30- 40 students not out of line"

Really?? You obviously need to visit a classroom to see how crowded our children are now. Teachers want to give our kids the best education that they can and deserve. Classrooms are full. School is not what it was 20 years ago and parents and people like you need to visit a classroom for a day and volunteer their time to fully understand the differences that each child presents. I guarantee that you will have a whole new respect for teachers and the support staff.
Thank you for your last post Smooth. It just reconfirmed that it has nothing to do with kids and its all about the money.
Alberta 10% of taxable income

Saskatchewan 11% on the first $42,065 of taxable income, +
13% on the next $78,120, +
15% on the amount over $120,185

British Columbia 5.06% on the first $37,013 of taxable income, +
7.7% on the next $37,015, +
10.5% on the next $10,965, +
12.29% on the next $18,212, +
14.7% on the amount over $103,205

At least 5% tax savings on first 37k.


For those in this area highway 16 goes to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. If their wages look more attractive apply for a job there, this is a free country.

If you compared wages between a normal working person who gets 3 to 4 weeks off and a teacher who gets 10 - 12 then there would be many teachers earning 90k(annualized)
To qualify, your quote was $90,000, not $9,00.
To lumberman and Old55:
I am a teacher with 7 years of University, which I paid for myself. I have been teaching for 30 years. I do not make anywhere near the $90,000 that you quoted. All districts in the province have the same pay scale, so I would love to know where "most" teachers and "most" districts are.
As for class sizes, you think 30-40 students in a class would be no problem? Obviously you do not want your children to be well-taught. I have 26 students, one is severely autistic, one cannot walk, talk, or feed himself, and the others' ability levels are between Grades 1 and 6. I do not have the support in my class to meet the needs of all the students, and this is very frustrating. You are correct that 30-40 students may not be out of line with perfectly behaved students all at the same level. However, this is not the case in ANY classroom. Mine is the norm, rather than the exception.
Ps - was this "rebuttal" written by a grade ten student? I've never seen so many "hmmms" and "...s" in any actual professional document. That is a blog response if I've ever seen.

Interceptor:
"Thank you for your last post Smooth. It just reconfirmed that it has nothing to do with kids and its all about the money."

No, you are wrong. It SHOULD be all about the teachers wages and teachers work conditions. Unfortunately that is not the case because it is left up to teachers to fight on behalf of everyone, because parents and the government are not doing what is necessary.

I wish we lived in a system where the teachers only had to worry about their wage and their working conditions. Unfortunately, teachers on the front lines are the only ones outside of a small set of parents that see the atrocities occurring in the education system.
"If you compared wages between a normal working person who gets 3 to 4 weeks off and a teacher who gets 10 - 12 then there would be many teachers earning 90k(annualized)"

So a normal working person went to uni for 4 to 7 years. Many teachers upgrade during the summer. To me it seems the people criticizing the teachers did not put much effort in their schooling and are now stuck in dull humdrum jobs and are jealous.
Smooth 5,5,5 or 3,6,6 does'nt add up to the fraudulant number the BCTF has in this article. As of Dec 31 average wages for teachers (1)Alberta $87,954.00, (2) Ontario $83,865.00, (3)Manitoba $76,547.00, (4) B.C. $73,972.00, and so on. The reason people are saying $95,000.00 is because that is the average cost to the employer when the wage is loaded up.
I do what I love so as the saying goes I will never work another day.

Sounds like it's some of the teacher's who are whining........Billy in Alberta got more than me!!!!!waahhh---WAAAAHHH. I guess if you hang around 7 year olds some things rub off.


BTW. The course load for a teaching certificate is pretty easy.


When a member of the BCTF pulls up to a gas pump in Prince George do they demand that the price be 105.9 because that is the price in Alberta? Sounds silly right? Demanding the same wage as a completely different market is just as crazy.

Teachers are not demanding the same wage as those in Alberta. They would need a much larger increase than they are asking for, and that is not even factoring in that most alberta districts have a cost of living allowance for their next 3 years as well. Teachers are asking for a market adjustment to get closer to what those other provinces are at. This discrepancy was made much larger when the BCTF chose classroom size and composition over wage increases in previous contracts. These clauses were later illegally stripped by the government (teachers won that law suit). Teachers are now asking for a market adjustment to make up some of that difference. This was all mentioned earlier.

Some of you have a serious reading comprehension issue, or are selectively not reading many of the points made.
Don't get me wrong smooth. I have lots of friends that are teachers and appreciate what they do! What they say to me is far different then what the BCTF is saying.
The BCTF would like us to think that they are defending kids' education. I think that the BCTF's interest and the kids' interests are two separate things.

The BCTF is trying to get as much as they can for the teachers--they don't really care about the kids.

Try teaching your kid to read at home. Then send them to kindergarten already reading at a grade two level. Then ask the BCTF what they think about it. I did just that with two kids. Believe me--they were quite upset with me. To bad. My kids are going to learn how to read despite the BCTF. I'm going to do it with the third kid too.

The education of my kids is my responsibility. It's my job that my kids learn. BCTF is one tool that I can use or not use, but they are one tool. I think we can all agree that most parents love their kids more than the BC Teacher's Federation. For the BCTF to suggest that you either support the BCTF or you don't care about your kids is a joke.

Make no mistake. This strike isn't about what's good for my kids or your kids. It's about the teachers wanting a fight.

Comparing wages with other parts of the country is not valid as the teachers work for the people of BC and the duly elected government bargains on their behalf. If a different one gets in in 2015 then the BCTF can have a go at them although they can't seem to come to terms no matter what party is in.

Economic realities and priorities differ between provinces and so do wage scales, it's a fact deal with it. If a job in some other part of the country has better wages and benefits then you have a decision to make.

In the real world not ever kid gets a ribbon and not every teacher gets the same wage.
It is so obvious that the government doesn't have the interests of the children, parents or teachers as their core value.
Why is it ok for the BC government to spend obviously huge amounts of money on fancy commercials? Instead of spending the money on propaganda save it to actually help the teachers do their jobs.
Do you really want the public to believe that you're going to give students better options by trying to make it look like the teachers aren't already doing their jobs?
In the long run all the students will suffer.
This is just another case of the people at the top of levels of government having absolutely no empathy for the average person. Do you think that we have money to pay for extra tutoring, materials, field trips, sports, etc? NO we don't. We can barely pay our bills and feed, clothe and house our children. Now you are taking away their best chance at an education.
It seems like the only way bosses want to negotiate a contract is not by bargaining honestly and with proper intent but by bullying their way into completely disregarding the contract between 2 parties and forcing change on the public and the employee.
It really doesn't matter how many facts we the public, present to you, the elected government because we obviously don't live in a democracy where we have a voice.
Smooth:

"It SHOULD be all about the teachers wages and teachers work conditions. Unfortunately that is not the case because it is left up to teachers to fight on behalf of everyone, because parents and the government are not doing what is necessary."

So, perhaps the teachers should just forget about the fighting and leave it up to the parents to confront the government about issues other than teachers' wages, benefits and working conditions!

I have been following these confrontations in the educational system since before the days of Dave Barrett and I can't remember a single contract when the complaints were not about the same issues: Class size and wages.

The first one always being too big and the second one always being too small.


Smooth, it all comes down to jealous people, working non union go nowhere burger flipping type jobs crying on the internet because they just can't stand it when successful people that worked hard to get where they are, are trying to better themselves and their families standard of living.

We all know for a fact that if it were them in a position such as the teachers find themselves in, they'd be fighting the same way the teachers and others do to better things for everyone.

Unfortunately many of them are uneducated twits who are stuck in meaningless jobs and love spreading their misery to others.

GO TEACHERS!!!
The way I see it the teachers just want to catch up, not pass anyone and the liberals want to give the money to their already adequately wealthy corperate friends. Well this has been going on for some time now. I'm still waiting for them to pull the plug on the HST???
Dragonmaster. You are belittling the very people that pay taxes so teachers can have a job. Shame on you!
Poor deluded dipper dragon. anybody against the bctf is an uneducated burger flipper? whatever
Dragonmaster has it right!
so the teachers are like super heroes are they, fighting to battle the atrocities in the education system. What a bunch of pompous asses.
I heard an interesting argument today in favour towards teachers. Instead of paying them to teach...lets pay them to babysit...which is really what it all comes down to. Folks want their kids in some kind of daycare until their 18 or so..

Anyway..a babysitter can expect 3 bucks an hour per child...which is perfectly reasonable IMO. Times that by 30 kids and the wage equals 90 bucks per hour...times that by 5 hours a day...which is reasonable as well and the total is...well let me do the math...450 BUCKS A DAY!!!!2250 a week!!!....

Lets say about 8 months of the year is spent working...8 months times 4 weeks per to simplify the math and you get...72000 dollars....72 grand with 4 months off!!!

Now that is a deal that would favour anybody.

Yep...teachers I say screw school and teaching...open up daycare centers and let the money roll in...

So IMO the PITANCE we pay teachers to deal with our little darlings AND provide some semblance of an education is quite the BARGAIN!!!

just glad I have a job in the private sector that provides me with the means to send my kids to private school....propaganda on both sides and I don't care who's lying anymore, sick of the garbage spewing forth.
Most of the nays must be pissed off because they are losing their babysitters for a few days.
if these were my babysitters I'd fire them straight up !!!

if these were my babysitters I'd fire them straight up !!!

Just move to the Province with the highest Pay, Problem solved .
" Posted by: cougs78 on March 4 2012 9:11 PM
Dragonmaster. You are belittling the very people that pay taxes so teachers can have a job. Shame on you!"

Oh I see. You're saying I shouldn't be bashing the taxpayers that are bashing the teachers. How does that work? Are you for real?

" Posted by: dow7500 on March 4 2012 9:23 PM
Poor deluded dipper dragon. anybody against the bctf is an uneducated burger flipper? whatever"

I see dow is still name calling here. What are you 5 or 6 years old! Your reading comprehension is pitiful. Go back to school.
Typical 6 year old coming up with a reply that had nothing to do with what was said.

"anybody against the bctf is an uneducated burger flipper?"

Those were your words, not mine. Are you a politician or a greedy nonunion, (or for that matter) bitter union organized business owner? You bet you are.

Hey Irri your anti union anti teacher whine is hilarious. Let me rewrite it for you.

Isn't it odd that they majority of people that are NOT supporting the teachers every demand are either NOT teachers or NON-union loyalists? And most of them resort to insults at supporters? This isn't about kids or teachers, it is about the anti union/business community trying to prove they really control the political agenda and the government desperately trying to keep control.

You know what they say about the door as you're leaving right?



Great comments Mercenary! So very true.
Mercenary,

"Anyway..a babysitter can expect 3 bucks an hour per child...which is perfectly reasonable IMO. Times that by 30 kids and the wage equals 90 bucks per hour...times that by 5 hours a day...which is reasonable as well and the total is...well let me do the math...450 BUCKS A DAY!!!!2250 a week!!!...."

Of course, one could also argue a babysitter is worth more than a teacher, because a babysitter would actually supervise children on the playground.

If we're going to monetize child care in that way, why not pay stay at home parents a "living wage," too? A stay at home parent doesn't even get CPP for the hours they put in. It would cost much less in taxes to eliminate our school system and support parents to raise their kids at home, and the outcomes for homeschooling is certainly no worse.

Maybe a corrections guard should earn more than a teacher because they have hundreds of inmates in their care, and they face far greater risk than teachers do. A corrections guard walking a run with 300 inmates earning $3 per hour per inmate would get $900 an hour! At 8 hours a day, that's $7200 a day! That's $36,000 a week! They're a bargain for what we pay them. Maybe correctional guards should go on strike, out of concern for the inmates of course.
LOL. Canada could make a killing by paying Mexico 4000.00 per year per inmate to look after them.

Besides you have to baby sitters minimum wage which isn't 3.00/hr.