New Rule in B.C.’s Education Debate

New Rule: 

Regardless of how many journalists do, you’re not allowed to call the B.C.T.F. “one of B.C.’s most militant unions” anymore.

It’s a ridiculous thing to say.

 If a militant union, let’s say the Longshoremen’s Union , was offered zero percent for six years of the last twelve, and in seventy six consecutive “negotiating “ sessions, their employers demanded, at the table and through the media, that they accept zero percent and then accused the union of refusing to bargain, we would see a “militant” union in action.

 Now imagine that over twelve years, the Longshoremen’s employer had been repeatedly censured for bargaining in bad faith, by the United Nations, (10 times), the Supreme Court of Canada, (2007) and the Supreme Court of B.C. (twice) Imagine too that the employer blithely ignored every ruling.

The Longshoremen wouldn’t still be “ bargaining”.The docks would close until the outrage was fixed, regardless of the anti union media buzz, back to work legislation, or an uninformed public suspicious that it’s “both sides” or just the “union’s”, fault.

The Longshormen’s Union wouldn’t be merely refusing to do paperwork or staging rotating loading slowdowns, or being apologetic for their justifiable outrage after twelve years of  non –bargaining.

If their employer then suggested that if they didn’t accept a pittance final offer within a few weeks, they would actually cut their salaries by five percent, or ten percent or whatever whim told them was fair, any real union would close down the industry until some sanity and actual bargaining was restored. How would a militant union like the Longshoremen respond ?

The B.C.T.F. is not one of B.C.’s most militant unions. That’s the problem. They’re not very good at this fighting thing. Teachers hate labour disputes, in fact, they dislike disputes of any kind. That’s why they became teachers; they like discussing, collaborating-  everyone playing nice.

And teachers never wanted to be a union. Bill Vanderzalm made them choose between being a labour union or remaining a Professional Federation with reduced collective bargaining rights. It was still a close vote.

Since 1995, teachers strikes have closed schools for 14 days, ten of which came in a single response to the tearing up of contracts. That’s still less than a day per year.

Annual government education cuts have caused school districts to lengthen Spring Break, go to four-day weeks, and adopt other cost saving measures responsible for many more lost school days than the “militant” B.C.T.F. has ever  caused.

 The B.C.T.F. is not one of B.C.’s “most militant” unions, – it’s one of B.C.’s most reluctant unions – that’s why twelve years of censured, unethical and unconstitutional government behaviour towards teachers continues.

About jimnelson806

Educational consultant from Port Moody. "The Stuff Isn't What's Important" " School Wide Discipline Programmes Don't Work" " Vice Principals are crucial towards setting direction"
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19 Responses to New Rule in B.C.’s Education Debate

  1. Judith Comfort says:

    This is brilliant Jim. It speaks to the doublespeak of the spinners behind the Liberal strategy. Thanks for your insight, Judith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ian Weniger says:

    Hello Jim…Neat article; the last two paragraphs are really important facts most young teachers didn’t know. Maybe my BCTF isn’t consistently militant, but it’s the only union that the Liberals haven’t smashed. When we did walk out province-wide in defiance of Gordo in 2005, we actually gained quite a lot.
    Are you a teacher who works as a consultant to make up for the ten percent lockout grab? 😉


    • jimnelson806 says:

      I wish I were a consultant – it’s great work if you can get it.
      No, I’m a retired teacher/coach/ principal from district 43 – Coquitlam , Port Coquitlam, Port Moody.

      You’re right, we stood up and were counted in that strike. I don’t minimize our courage and commitment,I’m proud of what teachers did( by then, I was a principal relegated to barbecuing smokies for the staff. It’s just that union militancy is not in the D.N.A. of teachers – it’s totally opposite of what we teach every day. Cheers, Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  3. miner49er says:

    Hi Jim,
    Your blog is a treat! We need to keep spreading the word about what is really going on in education. The non-teaching public is absolutely lost. The BCTF needs to wage a huge information campaign. Some of us minions are doing our best, but it needs to be organized, funded and publicized.


    • jimnelson806 says:

      Hi Miner49er;
      Thanks for the support – I’m a bit of a tech newbie,so it took me a while to answer – sorry.

      I love your coal mine site.It’s so nice to see the way you respond to the loonies, insisting that they confine their hate to acceptable discourse… great.

      I continue to be puzzled at the level of visceral hatred of teachers out there. It’s got to be more than just personal bad schooling experiences or anti union Canadian tea partyness. The spewing is vile, like the green vomit scene in the Excorcist.

      Anyway, thanks for what you’re doing and for the standard you set on your site – it’s incisive. You may find me a bit more sarcastic and bitter from time to time; can’t help it, two kids who are teachers, confused at what they did to deserve the thashing they’re taking; also, I have Finnish forebears in my background, which gives me some insight on what really good public schooling can be….

      Cheers, Jim


  4. weijinross says:

    Thanks Mr. Nelson for your lucid insight.


  5. Dean R. McGee says:

    5th para: uninformed, not “uniformed”

    8th para teachers, not “teacher’s”


  6. Scott Susin says:

    Thanks for the informed, researched and well thought out write-up Mr. Nelson. 🙂


  7. Dan says:

    This rather evokes the Kelowna accords, struck between Bill Bennett and Jack Munro, to defuse what looked to be a looming general strike. Seems like it was a total sell-out and set the stage for all the bad business that the Campbell and Clark administrations have unloaded on us. Thanks for the perspective: it would be great if your piece were widely broadcast and cited (I came here from the Pacific Gazetteer).


  8. John Weir says:

    If journalists bothered to consult a dictionary, they might understand the strength of teachers that the Libs really and rightly fear is not their militancy, but their solidarity.


    • jimnelson806 says:

      Thanks for the parsing – you are correct, solidarity is more intimidating than militancy. The “militant” term is a rhetorical one tossed around capriciously by lazy journalists….

      Cheers, Jim Nelson


  9. Reblogged this on Shawn L. Bird and commented:


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