Letters: Paycheques and public servants

Teachers’ “paycheques and perks” should be compared to other hard-working, selfless public servants like nurses and police officers

Re: “Both sides urged…” letter to The Progress May 28, 2014

Mr. Kelly expressed dissatisfaction and frustration over the negotiation process/progress between the BCTF and BCPSEA, and ends his letter by flippantly stating that he “would have loved to get the paycheque and perks the teachers and politicians get.” People may have the right to their opinion that teachers are well-paid, vacation-saturated whiners, but they should at least get some basic public facts right.

A quick Google search provides the current salary/wage of teachers, police officers, and nurses. Disregarding extra pay for various shifts that teachers are not eligible to receive (nights, evenings, weekends), using a 40-hour work week (which is unusual for any of the above-mentioned groups), and adjusting for a 10-month pay period as most teachers do not work (and therefore are not paid) over the summer, here is a quick comparison:

As of April 6, 2006 the salary grid for teachers, based on 10 increments over 11 years of full-time employment, lists an entry salary for a teacher with five years of post-secondary schooling as $40,776; the same teacher will “max out” at the end of 10 years at $64,116.  If teachers earn their master’s degrees, their maximum income after 10 years of teaching becomes $70,269.

As of April 2, 2013 nurses, with a minimum of a four-year bachelor degree, have a nine-step wage scale starting at $31.71 per hour; this translates to an annual salary of approximately $50,000 based on a 40-hour week over 10 months.  Their wage increases are based on hours worked; so, using the same formula, they would experience three increases over the 10-month period, and reach their maximum wage of $41.63/hour or $66,000 for 10 months within three years of full-time employment.

I don’t know how long it’s been since Mr. Kelly was a working police officer, but as of January 1, 2014 an entry level salary (adjusted for the 10-month work period) for an RCMP constable with a high school diploma is $42,228.  A constable will have five pay increases over three years to reach a maximum salary of $67,590.

Teachers’ “paycheques and perks” should be compared to other hard-working, selfless public servants like nurses and police officers, not politicians.  Teachers, nurses, police officers – in addition to a multitude of other public and private sector workers – deserve to be paid a fair wage, and to work in safe and reasonable conditions; more importantly, they deserve a fair and respectful process by which these basic rights are negotiated with their employers.

Cori-Anne Klassen

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