This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: BCTF fights for teachers, kids.

This week, Brent and I address an issue often commented about on social media. Brent presents this week, and this is my response to him:

This week’s topic:

Should B.C. teachers remain unionized?

It’s more than a bit ironic that every anti-BCTF rant I’ve read during the ongoing dispute between teachers and the government fails to even touch on the egregious actions of the government over the last decade.

Frankly, it’s getting a bit old. And even more alarming is the suggestion that teachers would be better off without their union. I’ve said it before and I will say it again — I see nothing on the government’s side to indicate they truly value or understand that education is an essential step to growing our economy.

When making the argument that the teachers union is unreasonable, it’s convenient to not mention the longstanding legal battle that resulted in the government being admonished by the courts for failing to bargain in good faith.

Likewise, it’s convenient to fail to mention that the government illegally stripped class size and composition from the teachers’ contract, and it’s also convenient to forget to mention that testimony was given that the government deliberately tried to incite a strike with teachers.

I’ve always believed education is a cornerstone to a successful society, and history shows that where education is given a first priority by government, society benefits as a whole. Sadly, in this province, there has been a slow, but continual degradation of the entire system.

In a recent column, Brent and I addressed class size and composition, and how that impacts learning for all kids. These are two items that are critical to learning and success for every child in the classroom — the government should consider them basic essentials. But no, they don’t consider them essentials and have tried to get rid of both of them.

Read Brent’s column here.

This is just one example of why the teachers union is so essential. Class size and composition are considered working conditions and, as such, part of teachers’ rights in their contract. Without the leverage and continual battle of the union to secure these conditions, my children and perhaps yours, if you have children, would clearly be left hanging. The government simply doesn’t think it’s a big deal…

READ the rest of this week’s column, comment and vote at this link:

8 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: BCTF fights for teachers, kids.

  1. Thanks for your support, Laila.

    Brent is not all wrong… there are questions to be answered by the BCTF leadership — but, as you point out, there needs to be a strong voice to counter what the BC Liberals have done to education in BC. The official opposition and parents could certainly help — but it is the people in the trenches who deal with the issues every day.

    Especially when it’s time to sign a new contract and set a path for the next five years, we need to use our collective voice to sort things as well as we can.


  2. This is a very tough duel to vote as both you and Brent make very compelling arguments.
    For those of us and there are many, who sit on the outside looking in, its a frustrating experience driven by a spectrum of emotion.
    The question “should teachers be unionized” is a bit of a red herring as most taxpayers want a resolution that is fair and functional for children.
    With or without a union involved is less a feature of the debate if the focus is truly on solving problems and doing what is in the best interests of children. They never get a vote despite being held out as the reason for this unproductive process and conflict.
    My point is that there does not appear to be any willingness to solve this debacle by either side and that is damaging for everyone.
    Eliminating the role of the union could also be compared to removing the Government from those contract negotiations that have a long history of conflict.
    It is impossible to know without employing third parties to seek solutions and agreements without the union or the government, but it maybe the only way forward.
    One thing is for sure. If discussion is continually deflected away from focusing on children’s education by the self interests of Government and/or the Union, it will never be successful.
    On this point, the union and government are likely guilty.
    Being “unionized” or not is probably not relevant to the end game when no one wants to get there.
    All in all, it is pretty gloomy because you want to believe everyone agrees, our children are the future…. and we need to “teach them well”.


  3. As is being seen, without the union conditions will only get worse. The government is hell bent on breaking the unions.
    Let us not forget that the good conditions and working hours that most people enjoy are because the unions fought them – people died or went to jail for their efforts. If the employers and government had their way there would be an erosion of working and living conditions.
    How shallow are the minds of people that think their well being is a product of the employer and government generosity.


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