Keeping it Real…

Keeping it Real… header image 1

If Negotiation, Mediation Won’t Work … then Binding Arbitration is the Answer!

August 30th, 2014 · 46 Comments

The kids deserve better.  It is a form of child abuse when ANY kid is denied going to school because his parents or guardians are fighting over custody.

Well, what is it when half a million kids are held hostage? Bargaining chips in a high-stakes poker game where the players can’t even sit at the same table and agree on the governing rules.

It’s a travesty; a disgrace; and, a true example of how the real victims in a dispute are often lost in the clash of ideologies, egos and a belief that it is THE OTHER SIDE who must give in.

This has to stop …NOW!

If the two sides in the teachers dispute cannot …or will not … negotiate a fair agreement that takes into consideration both sides’ needs; if mediation doesn’t work; and if legislation imposing a contract is FAR TOO HEAVY an alternative …then the only remaining solution is BINDING ARBITRATION on the most divisive remaining issues.

As I said in my previous blog, I do not think it should be difficult for the two sides to come to an agreement over wages ….if the BCTF drops some of its excessive, almo0st silly, benefit demands.

The matter of class sizes SHOULD be left until the outcome of the current Appeal is known …and both sides should AGREE NOW to accept and adopt the ruling of the court in the matter.

And they SHOULD agree to binding arbitration on all remaining issues … to be decided by a three member panel, whose membership is agreed upon beforehand.

And get the kids back in school …. NOW.

While the adults can continue to fight … well away from school property.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 46 CommentsTags: British Columbia

The Trouble With Teachers ….

August 21st, 2014 · 138 Comments

It’s the teachers’ fault!

Their problem is … they really care about the kids. The bright students. The kids with extra needs. The kids with ESL challenges.The rest of the class. Oh, and they also care about the quality of education in BC.

Why should they?  Clearly, most of the parents don’t care so much: otherwise, they wouldn’t be so silent; they wouldn’t let the government get away with spending $1,000 a kid LESS than other provinces each year; crowding all kinds of kids into classes at levels already ruled illegal by the Courts (the government is appealing);  and a government that has reigned over sliding educational results year after year… showing BC students are faring poorly, compared to 2000 standards.

The Liberal government’s solution:  bribe parents with $40 a day payoffs per kid  … if they just go along with the government’s attack on the education levels of their children  … so the rest of us … people without kids in the school system, the wealthy and businesses can pay lower taxes and live higher.

And making it all easier … HIGHLY militant teachers’ union officials and activists who almost regularly wastes their own members’ resources and time and squander huge amounts of public sympathy pursuing ridiculous, outrageous demands … that I think NOT EVEN MOST OF THEIR OWN MEMBERS truly believe are affordable, realistic or tolerable.

Welcome to teacher/government negotiations in BC!

Let’s keep it real.  The dispute is EASILY solvable … if the teachers drop their dreamland proposals … like $3,000 a year for EACH teacher for massage therapy, full coverage for  fertility drugs, full benefits for those on long-term disability, EQUAL to all those teachers who are working and full benefits for an entire year for dependents of teachers who die,  topping up maternity benefits to FULL salary levels for the first 17 weeks and 60 per cent fror the remaining 35 weeks.   Oh, and give fathers FULL salaries for two weeks leave and then to top up to 60 per cent if they too want to take another 35 weeks leave.   And, on top all this ….  a $5,000 bonus to each teacher, just for agreeing to a new contract.

In my limited past union service (Vice-President of CEP Local M-814) I NEVER heard of such expansive … and expensive … demands ever being proposed in any of our negotiations. Or in any other private sector negotiations.

Of course, if the teachers won these benefits, other public sector unions would surely demand the same coverages …not just from the provincial government, but regional and municipal authorities as well … not to mention Crown corporations, BC Hydro, various police and fire forces etc. etc.

The cost to the public would be BILLIONS!  So let’s drop those unrealistic demands right away … this time around  and until the economy is doing MUCH better (maybe after all those liquid LNG plants are built!).

The teachers need to concentrate on fair wage increases … for now and hopefully the next three or four years. Period!

And forget the kids.

The teachers should continue to fight the government’s appeal against staffing levels previously agreed to and then abandoned by the Liberals … but let the parents carry the fight against our lowering educational standards as a result of larger classes,  extra time/resources taken up by ESL and special needs kids and cancelled/cut extracurricular activities. They should STOP spending their own money on classroom resources and materials if school boards have been squeezed so hard they can’t provide needed items.

Let parents fight that battle with the government … and THEY WILL once they see how stressed and how dumb their kids are turning out as a result of the government’s cheapskate funding levels for education.

I dare say the politicians will respond faster …and more agreeably to angry voters …  oops, parents …  than to teachers making all kinds of excessive demands.

And parents should start that fight NOW … not by concentrating their frustrations and anger against the teachers … but in the direction of  government MLAs, Education Minister Peter Fassbender and Premier Christy Clark.

If THE Liberals have the money to pay parents $40 a day for EVERY kid in EVERY class (do the math!)  … they HAVE the money to come up with a fair wage increase and agreement to get the teachers back into classrooms and the kids  back into school for the next four years and maybe even longer.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 138 CommentsTags: British Columbia