Frustrated antagonists await Labour Relations Board ruling

By David F. Rooney

The Revelstoke Teachers Association is frustrated with a BC Public School Employers Association application to the Labour Relations Board asking it to compel the teachers’ union to remit 15% of teachers’ salaries and benefits, to school districts because of their work-to-rule job action.

“This is without precedent,” RTA President Jennifer Wolney said in statement. “It is a ludicrous assertion that teachers are working 15% less and this has aroused the ire of RTA members. It is yet another element poisoning the relationship between teachers and the employer.”

The LRB earlier dismissed BCPSEA’s first application saying there was no evidence for a 15% charge against the BC Teachers’ Federation for unearned salaries and benefits.

“They [teachers] are not performing certain non-essential duties but there is no assertion teachers are working only 85%… while receiving 100% pay, ” stated Michael Fleming of the LRB.

Wolney said it “would be a crazy world where teachers should be working 115% in order to get 100% salary. Teachers are working 100% in classrooms.”

The BCTF once again will be arguing vigorously against this attack.

“Efforts to get a negotiated settlement must be focused at the bargaining table, ” Wolney said. “The government must show respect for teachers and change its mandate and drop demands for concessions so a fair and reasonable settlement can be achieved.”

But BCPSEA Vice-Chairman Alan Chell said the intent is not to penalize teachers, but to force the BCTF to pay for that estimated portion of a teacher’s work-time is being lost through the job action.

“It’s incorrect to think that teachers are on a 9-3, bell-to-bell work day,” he said, adding that they are not paid as workers at an hourly rate. They have duties that go beyond their instructional time. They are classed as professionals and are paid a salary.”

While no one knows how the Labour Relations Board will rule, Chell said it is not BCSEA’s intent to make individual teachers cough up 15% of their salaries.

“Our intent is to have the BCTF remit money,” he said. “We’re also hoping to make the BCTF get serious at the bargaining table.”

Chell said the two sides have been meeting for 91/2 months and the union refuses to budge from its demands.