The BCTF has no Concept of What is in the Bounds of Reason when it Comes to Wage Increase

Transcript Editorial, Jim Harrison, CHNL Radio, May 18, 2006, 7:30 am

Even teachers deserve a fair wage increase. The difficulty lies in that their union doesn’t grasp the concept of what’s fair and seems to have no idea of what’s within the bounds of reason, which is why the BCTF has never been able to successfully negotiate a contract for its members, and why even with the help of a mediator and the guidelines established by industrial relations wizard Vince Ready, they seem on track to screw things up yet again.

Bargaining is all about wide opening positions, with compromise, the ingredient to get to middle ground. But with their audacious opening demand of a 24% wage lift over three years, the BCTF shows no inclination to move from that number.

Moreover, they have other demands that would increase the cost of the settlement, driving up that 24% to something closer to 50%.  One estimate puts the aggregate costs of the teachers’ demands at $3 billion in the final year of a three-year deal.

Why is it, more that 100,000 B.C. public sector workers can accept settlements in the neighbourhood of 10% or more over four years, but apparently the employers serious offer of 8% over four years doesn’t make the grade for teachers.

Somewhere, we remember hearing a lot of rhetoric from the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, that whatever it is they’re after, it’s for the students and for the good of education. Somewhere, in all of this noise, as they demand pay and benefit increases that are right off the map, perhaps the teachers may excuse those of us who have trouble seeing the connection.