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March 6, 2012

Why we should oppose Bill 22 – the Liberal Attack on BC Teachers

SS Editorial

Bargaining for a Fair Deal

Bill 22 is a blueprint for an attack on all workers. Here’s what it does to teachers:
  • Takes away their right to strike for six months through a “cooling off period”;
  • Prevents them from negotiating fundamental working conditions like class size and composition;
  • Strips negotiated provision out of their collective agreement again, despite being told by the BC Supreme Court that when Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark did the same thing in 2002, it was a breach of the Charter of Rights;
  • Imposes unheard-of fines of $1.3 million, $2,500 on union officers and representatives, and $475 on individual union members—per day;
  • Sets up a phony mediation where the government picks the “mediator”;
  • Eliminates their Charter-protected right to free collective bargaining by forcing them to participate in this phony mediation;
  • Predetermines the outcome of the “mediation” by requiring that the employer’s concessions on seniority, layoff and recall, evaluation and dismissal, and teachers’ autonomy on professional development be addressed in the new collective agreement; and
  • “Net zero” is a law, not a mandate
Bill 22 is also a blueprint for eroding the quality of our public education and the future of our children:
  • Repeals the School Act limit of three students with special needs in a class. Even though government and school districts treated this limit more as a license, and we have more than 10,000 classes that exceed the limit, employers will now be free to do what they want with the composition of classes.
  • Removes the involvement of teachers in the organization of their classes by repealing the requirement for teacher consultation.
  • Ensures larger classes in Grades 4 to 7 because it removes the previous requirement of teacher consent.
  • Removes parent involvement in the organization of classes by repealing the requirement that the principal consult with parent councils about class size at the beginning of the school year.
  • Eliminates public transparency and accountability by repealing the requirement that the superintendent provide a report to school trustees in a public meeting about class sizes in the district.
Bill 22 makes a mockery of the BC Supreme Court decision on Bills 27/28:
  • Rather than dealing with the repercussions of the court’s decision and recognizing that class size and composition provisions are restored, it reintroduces the contract-stripping language, word for word
Bill 22 must be stopped. It’s not just bad news for teachers. It’s bad news for all workers, especially those that negotiate with public sector employers. It’s bad news for our kids. And it’s bad news for British Columbia.

JUST SAY NO TO BILL 22 – Join BC Teacher pickets and rallies.