We have logged your concerns about education and teacher bargaining this spring/summer. We all understand how important this negotiating process is, and how vital teachers are to our children and our communities.
Minister Fleming (Education) and Minister James (Finance) are the Cabinet ministers most directly involved in this negotiation, and they asked us to share the general message that they want to reach an agreement that will get wage increases into the pockets of teachers as soon as possible and provide certainty for classrooms in the fall, and that they are hopeful that we can reach this goal. We have negotiated with other important public sector employees recently as well, resulting in 70% of public sector employees now getting fair wage increases and equitable working conditions for their employees the next three years.
We are also hopeful that the negotiation will be successful because we as a government have a demonstrated commitment to reinvestment in public education. Your provincial government has already increased education operational funding by 17%, or one billion dollars since we were elected – B.C. is the only jurisdiction we are aware of in North America to so dramatically increase education funding—as well as a new $2B in capital funding for seismically safe schools and playgrounds.
Overall, as of July, 2019 this is where negotiations stand, according to Ministers James & Fleming:
- BCPSEA applied for mediation services through the Labour Relations Board in late June, and the BCTF have agreed to participate.
- Dates have been established for early July and late August.
- As part of this process, the mediator has requested that both parties adhere to a media blackout so they can focus on the process and on getting a deal.
- We all understand how important this negotiating process is.