BC Teachers Ratify Deal to Restore Collective Agreement Language
Prince George, B.C. – B.C.’s 41,000 public school teachers have voted 98.4% in favour of ratifying the tentative agreement reached between the BC Teachers Federation, the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the Ministry of Education on implementation of teachers’ restored collective agreement language.
BCTF members have been voting on the deal over the past two days with 21,156 participating in the vote.
The agreement followed four months of bargaining which took place after the BCTF won a 7-2 victory in the Supreme Court of Canada restoring, among other things, class size, composition and staffing ratios to 2002 levels.
The umbrella provincial agreement sees the restoration of all local collective agreement provisions that were deleted through provincial legislation in 2002 and again in 2012. Specific local language covering members of all 60 teacher associations in the province is restored.
BCTF President Glen Hansman says “with this vote, BC schools are finally on the verge of having better working and learning conditions back in place. With our restored language in effect, BC schools, students and teachers will see significant improvements in class sizes, support levels for children with special needs and access to specialist teachers this September.”
Hansman says the focus will now shift to the collective agreement-based school staffing processes that will begin later this month, as well as holding the government accountable for its commitment to fully fund all the costs.
President of the Prince George District Teachers Association, Richard Giroday, says “I’m pleased that, across the province, members have made the decision to accept the agreement in committee so that hopefully when the other side ratifies that it will become the agreement.” There is no indication as yet just when the employer will make its decision on ratification, however Giroday is hopeful that that will be done by Monday, adding “because the sooner its done the sooner we can move forward, which is excellent.”
As far as details of the deal Giroday says “I can’t speak to the agreement because it hasn’t been ratified by the other party so once we know the other party has ratified it then I can speak publicly about the agreement in committee.”
“I can say that we’re very pleased with it, it does restore all the language around supports for the students in terms of class size, class composition, those articles that we stripped out have all been returned. And that has been really good news for students and parents across this province, it’s just incredible.”