Tight rein kept on local teacher talks

Chilliwack school district and Chilliwack Teachers’ Association had its first meeting on Wednesday to start local bargaining, but not much was discussed, said CTA president Katharin Midzain.

Chilliwack school district and Chilliwack Teachers’ Association had its first meeting on Wednesday to start local bargaining, but not much was discussed, said CTA president Katharin Midzain.

While the process is called local bargaining, it’s “muddy” as to what exactly can be talked about as this is the first time since 1994 negotiations have occurred at the local level. (The contract signed five years ago was done solely at the provincial level.)

Under the Public Employer Labour Relations Act (PELRA), negotiations dealing with salaries, benefits, prep time, paid leave, and hours of work are to be done at the provincial table.

“Essentially anything that involves money goes through the provincial body,” said Midzain. “But realistically, anything in the contract is going to involve money, even a local item.”

Despite the narrow guidelines for what can be discussed at the local level, Midzain hopes Chilliwack school district will be open to in-depth Chilliwack-centred discussions. However, she wasn’t holding her breath.

At the recent BC Teachers’ Federation annual general meeting, the consensus from teachers in other districts, who had already started negotiations, was that local discussions were essentially being shut down.

“There is a question right now about how broad the local table can be,” said Midzain. “And while local matters are already quite narrow, what BCPSEA [British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association] appears to be doing is wanting to narrow them even further.”

British Columbia has 60 school districts, some in urban centres, others in remote, rural areas. Each district has their own sets of issues, said Midzain. And because of that, “local bargaining should be local.”

The last contract signed five years ago was the only time since the BCTF was turned into a union by the Social Credit government in the 1980s that a contract was negotiated rather than imposed by legislation, usually after a strike in public schools.

A recent BCTF survey of teachers showed that class size and special needs support is the top issue for teachers.

The current contract expires on June 30.

~ with files from Tom Fletcher

Just Posted

First court date in Chilliwack for man accused of murdering Belgian tourist

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance Wednesday

Around the BCHL: Nanaimo Clippers acquire defenceman from Langley Rivermen

Around the BCHL is a look at goings on around the BCHL and the junior A world.

Public to get access to ‘detailed listing of expenditures’ incurred by council every year

Newly amended Council Remuneration and Expense Bylaw given three readings and approved Sept. 19

Chilliwack man charged in 2017 drug bust pleads guilty, released on time served

Second accused still faces numerous trafficking and weapons charges

Barn fire closes Prairie Central Road

Fire quickly brought under control

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Pot, cash, mansions: Judge divvies up illegal estate of divorcing B.C. couple

The Smiths ran a multi-million marijuana operation that spanned three counties

‘Little Feet’ book documents B.C. woman’s horrific 2001 accident

Heather Williams has documented the two profound stages beforeand after the accident

Most Read