THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - A lot has happened since negotiations began on the latest contract for B.C. teachers and it’s easy to lose track of how we got to where we are today.
Here we take a look back at the basics, where we are and what steps the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, along with the provincial government, took to get here.
The timeline, starting when the most recent contract negotiations began.
February 2013 - The two parties commence bargaining on a new contract.
The parties sign a new bargaining protocol agreement, which includes agreement that they will “make a concerted effort to keep collective bargaining out of the public realm.”
June 2013 - Current contract ends.
September 2013 - Teachers’ union seeks restoration and damages for the stripping of the collective agreement and to argue Bill 22 through the Supreme Court.
Jan. 27, 2014 - B.C. Supreme Court delivers verdict restoring stripped language to collective agreements and awards the union $2 million in damages. Places no restrictions on bargaining new language going forward.
Feb. 4, 2014 - Government appeals court decision.
Feb. 14, 2014 - Provincial government files request to stay two terms of the Jan. 27 BC Supreme Court judgment pending resolution of the appeal of the decision.
Feb. 21, 2014 - The Appeal Court hearing process is completed in the Court of Appeal chambers before Justice Harris.
Feb. 25, 2014 - Teachers’ union calls for strike vote.
Feb. 26, 2014 - Justice Harris releases decision and grants stays for two terms of the judgement, the declaration of unconstitutionality and invalidity of two sections of the Education Improvement Act and permission for the union to distribute its un-redacted written submission to its members.
Mar. 4-6, 2014 - Teachers’ union conducts strike vote. Of the 29,301 members who voted, 26,051 (89 per cent) vote in favour of job action.
Mar. 31 2014 - Staged job action approved.
Apr. 2, 2014 - Teachers’ union files an application with the Labour Relations Board asking the chair to investigate whether or not the current labour dispute meets the threshold for an essential services order.
Apr. 11, 2014 - Labour Relations Board directed to designate as essential services those facilities, productions and services considered necessary to prevent serious and immediate danger to the health, safety and welfare of residents of B.C. and to prevent immediate and serious disruption to the provision of K-12 education programs. Until those designations are completed, the parties cannot engage in any strike or lockout activity.
Apr. 17, 2014 - Labour Relations Board issues Essential Services Order. The only service that is required for safety at this time involves student supervision, though employers are required to use management and excluded staff as much as possible to replace teachers in recess, noon hour and before and after school activities.
Apr. 17, 2014 - Union issues 72-hour strike notice for stage one action, which is administrative in nature only. Teachers were not to supervise students outside of regularly scheduled classes (except as set out by the order), communicate with management or administrators through meetings, printed, written or electronic communication and were not to be at the worksite one hour prior to or after instructional time.
Apr. 21, 2014 - Stage one strike action commences.
Apr. 30, 2014 - The association provides notice of intent to use the Labour Relations Code to require transfer of the cost of benefit premiums to the union.
May 8, 2014 - Ministry of Education releases notice of its intent to recoup 80 per cent of the savings realized by boards of education resulting from the transfer of benefit premiums to the union, the cancellation of the June 27 administrative day and any escalation of job action on behalf of the union. The remaining 20 per cent will be left with boards.
May 14, 2014 - The union files an application with the Labour Relations Board to challenge the employers’ association decision to transfer the payment of teachers’ benefits to the union.
May 20, 2014 - Union serves notice to commence rotating strikes on May 26. Each school district will be affected on one day during that week.
May 21, 2014 - The association serves notice of partial lockout.
May 26, 2014 - Partial lockout begins.
May 26-29, 2014 - Rotating strikes commence.
May 28, 2014 - WorkSafeBC confirms that teachers’ coverage will continue during the BCTF strike and BCPSEA’s partial lockout.
May 29, 2014 - Labour Relations Board hearing on the issue of whether the partial lockout constitutes an alteration of the collective agreement between the parties and is therefore inconsistent with the Order and specifically with the Order’s reference to S.73(2) of the Labour Relations Code
June 2-3 and 5-6, 2014 - Rotating strikes continue.
June 4, 2014 - Labour Relations Board declares partial lockout not in breach of Labour Relations Code and finds that the 10% wage reduction does not form part of the employer’s lockout.
June 6, 2014 - Association files an application to vary the Essential Services Order to enable secondary students to complete the school year and receive final grades.
Association files an application with Labour Relations Board to include the designation of additional essential services required for supervision of students, including special needs students, in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District during picketing by members of the local Maple Ridge Teachers' Association during the school day (recess and/or lunch hours).
It also seeks to have certain support staff represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 703 (CUPE, Local 703) designated essential in relation to their supervisory duties over students during these times.
June 7, 2014 - Labour Relations Board grants Essential Service Order for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District and the association applies to have this order extended to all districts
Tentative Provincial Framework Agreement reached between the employers’ association and the K-12 Presidents’ Council comprised of representatives of support staff unions in the public education sector.
June 9-10, 2014 - Teachers’ union conducts second province-wide strike vote to escalate job action. Of the 33,387 teachers who voted, 28,809 (86 per cent) are in favour.
June 10-13, 2014 - Rotating strikes continue.
June 10, 2014 - Labour Relations Board amends June 7 order and designates lunch hour and recess supervision (for those who regularly perform such duties) and all services regularly required to provide supervision and support to special needs students by CUPE members in all districts as essential.
Employers’ association confirms the partial lockout will be lifted during the summer and that teachers’ pay will not be deducted by 10 per cent.
June 11, 2014 - Union serves 48-hours’ notice of a rotating strike for all districts on June 16, and three working days’ notice of a full withdrawal commencing June 17.
June 12, 2014 - Labour Relations Board issues full strike Essential Services Order designating completion of Grade 12 report cards, invigilations of Grade 10-12 provincial exams and submission of final grades for Grade 12 students to be ready for entry no later than June 20, 2014. All psychometric or other testing, scheduled as of the date of the order, to be conducted for the purpose of determining whether a student should receive a special needs designation and for students in ministry category H (Intensive Behaviour/Serious Mental Illness), teachers must provide, to a person or persons designated by the district, all information necessary to confirm or discontinue this designation for the 2014/2015 school year. Transportation, maintenance and payroll are also covered by the order.
June 13, 2014 - Mark Brown meets with the association and informs of the teachers’ union ideas on class size, composition and specialist teachers, including a temporary resolution pending the appeal decision. No dollar amount is discussed. The association asks Brown to provide an outline of the its position to the union. Later in the day the association verbally proposes a package to withdraw six of its proposals and five union proposals, as well as the resolution of certain teachers teaching on call proposals. The union responds that night and proposes to drop three of its proposals and six association ones and wants the association to drop another five as well. Revised proposals are provided for salary, term, resolution of grievances and the workload fund.
June 14, 2014 - The two sides continue to go back and forth. Brown advises the association to table a comprehensive package to address all the issues on the table.
June 15, 2014 - Brown provides the union with the association’s comprehensive package. The union advises that it will provide a response at 8 p.m., but later said they are adjourning for the evening and will discuss the comprehensive package at an executive committee meeting on Monday, June 16.
June 16, 2014 - Rotating strike in all districts.
Iker holds media briefing and rejects the package presented on Sunday.
June 17, 2014 - Full scale strike begins.
The parties meet with facilitator Mark Brown. The union tables a comprehensive settlement proposal package composed of previous individual proposals, which now includes specific dollar amounts for the demands on a workload fund and grievance settlement fund and includes a five-year term and an eight per cent salary increase.
June 18, 2014 - The parties meet again with Brown. Peter Cameron believes the union is not bringing realistic proposals to the table and suggests the next meetings should be at the call of facilitator Mark Brown, who can determine whether bargaining will be productive through informal discussions with each party.
June 19, 2014 - The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announces that it is contributing $1 million dollars to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to support their strike effort.
The union requests the two sides move immediately into mediation with Vince Ready.
June 20, 2014 - Brown steps down as facilitator in response.
June 22, 2014 - Ready declines, noting the two sides are too far apart.
June 27, 2014 - Labour Relations Board issues interim order for summer school. The board establishes steps that must be taken in order to determine whether each Summer School course should be designated as an essential service.
July 2, 2014 - The two groups issue a joint statement stating that although they agree Justice Stephen Kelleher is an acceptable mediator, he has determined that after engaging in exploratory discussions with the parties over the course of several days, “mediation is not indicated at this time.”
July 31, 2014 - Province announces $40 per day for students under the age of 13 to help parents cover child care costs.
Aug. 8, 2014 - The two sides meet to review proposals and identify areas of movement. The parties agree to seek assistance from a third party and to inquire into the availability of Vince Ready.
Aug. 13, 2014 - Ready conducts exploratory discussions with both sides. He agrees to monitor the situation, and to resume exploratory talks or commence full mediation when he believes it will be productive. The parties agree that they will not engage in public discussion pending further discussions with Ready.
Aug. 15, 2014 - A letter from employers’ association Public Administrator Michael Marchbank to union President Jim Iker advises the association will not engage in any lockout activity in relation to teacher attendance at professional days or any other planning work prior to the commencement of the coming school year.
Aug. 25, 2014 - The union returns to full picketing, though each local is left to decide where and how to picket.
Aug. 27, 2014 - Minister of Education Peter Fassbender invites Jim Iker and Peter Cameron, the lead negotiators for the BCTF and BCPSEA respectively, to meet with him in Victoria.
Aug. 28, 2014 - Iker and Cameron meet with Fassbender.
Aug. 29, 2014 - Bargaining teams speak with mediator Vince Ready.
Aug. 30, 2014 - After conducting exploratory discussions with both the BCTF and BCPSEA bargaining teams, Ready makes the decision late in the afternoon that the parties remain too far apart for mediation to be successful, and broke off the exploratory talks. Any resumption of talks will be determined by Ready based on his assessment that mediation might be successful.
Sept. 2, 2014 - Scheduled first day of school, full strike continues.
Sept. 5, 2014 - The union calls for binding arbitration, but requires the province to drop clause E80, which revolves around the class size and composition court case.
Sept. 6, 2014 - Province turns down binding arbitration.
Sept. 8, 2014 - The union calls for binding arbitration again and will be putting it to a vote this week; province still says no to binding arbitration but asks union president Jim Iker to put forward a vote to end the strike and go into mediation.
Sept. 10, 2014 - Union votes on ending the strike if the government is willing to enter binding arbitration; 99.4% vote yes (about 75% of about 41,000 teachers voted.)
Sept. 12, 2014 - The two sides begin meeting with Ready again.
Sept. 16, 2014 - Ready makes an early morning announcement that a tentative agreement has been reached after five straight days of talks.
Sept. 18, 2014 - Teachers vote to ratify the agreement. A total of 27,275 of the 31,741 teachers who voted agreed to ratify.
BCPSEA/BCTF Bargaining Dates, February 2013 through August 2014*
February 4, 5, 26
March 1, 5, 8,12
April 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11
May 28, 29, 30, 31, 2013
June 4, 5, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26, 27
October 29, 30
November 13, 14, 15, 27, 28
December 4, 17
January 21, 22
February 12, 13, 14, 18, 19
March 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12
April 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 22, 23, 29, 30
May 16, 22, 26, 27, 28
June 3, 5, 6, 17, 18
Total Sessions: 71
Exploratory talks with Vince Ready:
Aug. 29-30, 2014
*NOTE: During the period July 14 to Sept. 2, there were regular and recurring phone calls between the parties’ lead negotiators to determine if meaningful mediation could commence.
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— This story was udpated at 10:59 a.m., Sept. 16, 2014 with the recent meetings and announcement of a tentative deal.
— This story was updated at 11:24 a.m., Sept. 18, 2014 to add the vote.
— This story was updated at 9:41 p.m., Sept. 18, 2014 with the vote results.