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Media Statement – August 31st 2014

Andrew Weaver Calls on BCTF and Government to Agree to Binding Arbitration

For Immediate Release

Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, the MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head is calling on the British Columbia Teachers Federation, the British Columbia Public School Employer’s Association and the Provincial Government to immediately agree to binding arbitration to resolve the ongoing contract dispute, and to suspend the strike and lockout.

The departure of mediator Vince Ready from the talks this weekend portends to more than the first few weeks of September without classes for the over 550 000 students enrolled in public schools, their 41 000 teachers, and the thousands of support staff who were due to begin the school year this week.

The government has stated it will not recall the legislature early or introduce back to work legislation when MLAs return for the fall session in October. A framework to continue bargaining has not been established and no talks are scheduled leaving teachers, students and parents with little hope for an early resolution.

“The signs are clear that this dispute could stretch for months which will severely disrupt the lives of students, their parents and teachers, as well as their school support staff. I have been inundated with calls and emails from educators and parents desperate for a solution as the realization is hitting home a good part of the school year could be lost.” said Andrew Weaver. “There is a path forward, there is way to get classes started, and that is with the BCTF and government agreeing on binding arbitration and an immediate suspension of the strike. It takes leadership and resolve to do what is in everyone’s best interest.”

Media contact
Mat Wright – Press Secretary, Andrew Weaver MLA
1 250 216 3382


  1. Rudy Haugeneder-
    September 8, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Naw. Binding arbitration just sets it up for the next strike or lockout a couple of years from now. They have work things out for the long term without some outsider arranging what becomes another temporary agreement.

  2. Shannon Moore-
    September 2, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    As a CEA in a Resource Room and a very concerned parent how do we get the “binding arbitration” rolling. I spoke to many teachers from my school today on the picket line and they too agree there should be binding arbitration. We have to get our children back into their classrooms. Another concern that not much has been talked about is students like mine with Special Needs who cannot attend regular day cares, where are my students each missed school day? The impasse has to be dealt with – NOW – and binding arbitration, I feel, is the way to go! Time is critical for all students!

  3. Another concerned parent-
    September 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I would like to say that I agree with the last concerned parent. As I completely understand what and why both sides are saying, however I don’t like the fact that my children are missong their much needed education to succeed in life.

  4. Concerned parent-
    September 2, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Both sides are to blame not just the govt and it’s horrible the way kid are being used as pawns to work through this stuff…disappointed in both sides

  5. Graeme-
    September 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    How can one trust an arbitrator with this government? The LRB was very much biased towards the government in its ruling that the government was entitled to deduct teachers 10% in June. Could both sides even agree upon an arbitrator? The government needs to listen to the courts. Can this appeal to the courts be expedited?

    • September 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      An arbitrator can be appointed by the Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court. Arbitrators take all into consideration.

  6. Mary Macintyre-
    September 1, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    It’s hard to have any faith that the Government would accept the decisions made by an arbitrator. They certainly haven’t respected the rulings of the Supreme Court.
    Is it possible for the opposition to argue they drop the appeal? They’ve lost twice already, it’s a waste of tax payers money and a transparent ploy to bust the union.

  7. September 1, 2014 at 1:00 am

    I like a lot of what you say, Mr. Weaver, but here is what worries me. If there is a “negotiated” settlement that does not address the restoring of class size and composition language that the courts have granted the BCTF, that could negate the court ruling forever and the teachers would just let go of what they have been successfully fighting in court for 10 years at their own expense, as opposed to the government fighting with public funds. Shouldn’t an arbitration board be required to abide by the court’s ruling?

    • September 1, 2014 at 11:10 am

      Hello Heather, in choosing an arbitrator, typically both sides produce a prioritized list of potential nominees. If they can’t agree from the lists, the parties would typically appeal to the Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court to appoint an arbitrator. Arbitrators would take everything into consideration, including supreme court decisions and the fact there is an upcoming hearing before the Court of Appeal. Best wishes Andrew

  8. Wyatt-
    August 31, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Sorry Andrew, it’s not as simple as saying “have faith and go back to work”. The Supreme Court has ruled on this and the Liberal government is in the wrong. Why should the teachers settle for anything less than what the Supreme Court has ruled? Since when is our governing body above such rulings? As a non-union working parent of 2 school age children, I am very much affected by this. Heidi and others, PLEASE HOLD THE LINE. My children and I will drop by the line at our school and will drop off goodies. I’m sure other parents from other school will do the same. As for Mrs. Clark and the rest of the Liberal party. Congratulations, you have absolutely ensured that I will never again vote for the Liberal party.

    • August 31, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Hello Wyatt, that is what binding arbitration is for. Once you agree to it, you know there will be a settlement. And an arbitrator will have to look at the positions on both sides put forward as a “final offer” and come up with a settlement that is either: 1) the BCTF proposal; 2) the government proposal; 3) some merger of the two. This is the normal final stage of collective bargaining: Stage 1: face-to-face; Stage 2: mediation; Stage 3: arbitration. But I think it is critical to have binding arbitration.

  9. School Now Foundation-
    August 31, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    But it’s all about the kids, right Heidi Tester? Enjoy your rice and beans at the expense of BC’s children.

    On the other hand the School Now Foundation Board of Superprincipals endorses Andrew Weaver for Premier.

  10. Heidi Tester-
    August 31, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Binding arbitration, IMO is a very good idea. For us to suspend the strike, however, the government has got to show some good will. For starters, the can give us back the 10% they clawed back, even though we were still doing our jobs and more. This government has been antagonistic and punitive from the start. They’ve shown no interest in resolving this dispute. Until they show some good will, I will live on beans and rice, and hold the line.

    • gladys-
      September 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      The governments actions and attitude is very disturbing and has a hidden agenda. HOLD ON!