LETTER: I’m frustrated by the BCTF, and here’s why

The Editor,

As a member of the British Columbia populace, a parent and a taxpayer, I’m very frustrated at the BCTF. They keep saying this strike is about the children. That’s what their members on the picket lines and their signs say. However, facts speak to the opposite of this.

Let’s start with the cancelling of summer classes. There was no reason to cancel summer classes. The BCTF didn’t do anything over the summer to try and negotiate. All they did was ramp up the rhetoric and hurt students who need help the most.

Second, this binding arbitration mess. The teachers are willing to go back to work if the government will accept binding arbitration on wages and benefits.

Note they say that classroom size and composition will be left to the courts. Yet, didn’t they tell us at the beginning of this strike that the strike’s purpose was to address class size and composition? This just proves the disingenuity of the teachers.

Lastly, the teachers are still working to get compensated for the 2002 mess with the removal of classroom composition language from their contract. All of the students affected by that are now out of the system. Fighting for those last 12 years of retroactive payment isn’t going to help those students one bit.

I agree things need to be worked on regarding wages and composition. But let us be adults and move forward. Let us get out of the past and start working on the future. Forty years of fighting and the BCTF is still the only union regularly complaining they have been mistreated.

My one hint to the teachers: try to negotiate incremental funding increases for class sizes (by no more than, say, $25 million a year for the duration of the contract) and drop the court case. I guarantee the strike would be over tomorrow and in a year or two, everyone will be in a much better mood.

Mark Johnson,

New Westminster

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