March 14, 2012
call for a different approach to labour relations
Released by the BC Green Party
the assured passage of Bill 22, BC is at the inevitable conclusion
of another dysfunctional resolution of a protracted labour
Bill 22 and the current BCTF strike action represent an impossible solution
to the goal of delivering the best possible public education in BC. The
Green Party of BC believes the BC Liberals have worked systematically over
the course of their time in office to make the collective bargaining process
ineffective often resorting to legislation to negate any real opportunity
for a negotiated settlement. It is a tired neo-conservative strategy to
break the unions and it doesn't work. The BCTF have demonstrated they are
willing to go to the courts to protect their rights and the courts have
ruled against the BC Liberal government.
Periodic commissions have recommended dramatic changes to the relationship
between teachers and the government. Bill 22 is not the change. The Bill
essentially makes collective bargaining a farce and legislates a contract,
despite the appointment of a token mediator whose job only job is to come
back with a contract acceptable to the BC Liberals. In other words, he or
she will not have the power to mediate. Bill 22 also purports to comply with
the courts requirement that the province reinstate collective bargaining
rights when in fact the Bill does no such thing.
The government is trying to win support for their actions by repeating the
statement that virtually all contracts with teachers have been legislated to
justify the need for Bill 22. Each time a union is legislated back to work
the relationship between government and unions becomes more dysfunctional
and toxic. Long term, the bad blood infects all public sector unions, the
work politicized and unpleasant and the people doing it feel disrespected
The BC Liberals may want to break the unions, but what they are doing is
making the work place unpleasant and the work unrewarding. Teachers feel
undervalued and the lack of any real power to improve their working
conditions will impact the children despite the professionalism and good
intent of our teachers.
It is time for a different approach. The BC Green Party believes we need to
reform our approach to public education based in optimal communication,
mutually-supportive conflict resolution, peace, inclusion, tolerance,
diversity and social sensitivity. If we want this principle to infuse our
education, it needs to be the foundation of the relationship between
teachers and the government as well. A good place to start would be to
reform the collective bargaining process.
BC Greens believe control over schools and negotiations with teachers should
be transferred to local school boards from the provincial government.
Teachers should have the ability to use their classroom environment and
teaching styles to meet the needs of their students. Communities should have
input into the system at the "ground level" through advisory boards, so it
can monitor the quality of the education students are getting.
The Green Party of British Columbia advocates for an Education Commission to
determine the place and role schools should play in communities in the
information era, to identify the values, knowledge, and competencies that
graduating students should have, and to establish a comprehensive framework
for learning and curriculum development.
BC Greens support a return of regional district-by-district collective
bargaining. Unless something different happens, relations between the BCTF
and the government will continue to deteriorate, to the detriment of
children and their educational outcomes and to the teachers who work on
behalf of our children..
We also call for an end to commercials by government that use tax-payers
money to promote the BC Liberal government's position with regard to Bill
22. This government is out of gas when it comes to effective solutions to
the problems we face. Taxpayers want a government that respects and will
bargain in good faith with all public sector unions including teachers.
For more information about the BC Green Party, visit:
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice