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Government negotiator seeks student safety agreement with teachers' union

VICTORIA - The preparation for job action between the union representing B.C.'s public school teachers and the government intensified Friday into acrimonious accusations about student safety. Peter Cameron, the government's chief negotiator, said he found it bizarre that the B.C. Teachers Federation did not respond to his proposal to work out an agreement on supervising students during job action. BCTF President Jim Iker responded that Cameron appears to be attempting to provoke public sentiment against the teachers.

B.C. teachers to talk contract after 89 per cent vote for job action

VANCOUVER - B.C.'s education minister says the government is waiting for the teachers' union to table contract demands — especially wages — now that members have voted 89 per cent in favour of a strike. Peter Fassbender said Friday that government negotiators have been essentially negotiating with themselves because their offer is the only one on the table. B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker said union negotiators continued bargaining Friday and are prepared to be at talks scheduled for next week.

Leaked document says teachers prepare to strike, union says its not their paper

VICTORIA - The long-standing animosities between British Columbia's unionized teachers and the Liberal government surfaced again Wednesday with the release of a document outlining strike plans, amidst a union strike vote and the resumption of contract talks. B.C. Teachers' Federation President Jim Iker denied the document was written by the union, but Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the paper was leaked to the government by a union member.

NDP says court documents reveal B.C. Liberal strategy to provoke teacher strike

VICTORIA - British Columbia's Opposition New Democrats revealed the contents of court transcripts Wednesday that they said confirm what a judge has already concluded: the Liberal government had a strategy to intentionally provoke a full-scale teachers strike two years ago. NDP Leader Adrian Dix led off the first question period of the spring legislative session by calling on Premier Christy Clark to publicly release cabinet documents that could reveal how the government handled contract talks with teachers.

B.C. government to appeal court ruling that awarded teachers' union $2 million

VICTORIA - British Columbia's education minister says his government will appeal a court ruling that said the province violated teachers' bargaining rights, setting the stage for an escalated fight with educators. Education Minister Peter Fassbender said last week's court ruling, which awarded the BC Teachers' Federation $2 million and struck down a law related to their collective agreement, is not affordable for taxpayers and would create disruptions in schools. Fassbender estimated the cost of the ruling at "upwards of $1 billion."

Court fines B.C. government $2M, restores teachers rights to bargain class size

VANCOUVER - A judge has ruled that the British Columbia government was so hung up on provoking its public school teachers into strike action that it failed to negotiate in good faith, costing the province $2 million in damages. In a 12-year battle over legislation that eliminated teachers' rights to bargain on issues such as class size and composition, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has concluded — for the second time — that the law is unconstitutional.

Children's book 'Yertle the Turtle' now OK again in unionized classrooms

VANCOUVER - "Yertle the Turtle" is no longer under ban. "Yertle the Turtle" can gather more fans — in school districts around British Columbia. A freedom of expression grievance has been settled between the BC Teachers' Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers' Association based on the Dr. Seuss children's book about a turtle trying to assert its rights. The complaint was one of several made by the union when some school districts were banning classroom displays of union posters, buttons and T-shirts in the middle of a teachers' contract dispute.

B.C. teachers say government didn't comply with court order over class size

VANCOUVER - The B.C. government thumbed its nose at a court order and instituted only a "sham repeal" of legislation that the B.C. Supreme Court concluded violated teachers' rights to bargain, a lawyer representing the B.C. Teachers Union argued in court Monday. In April 2011, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Susan Griffin ruled that the government violated teachers' constitutional rights in 2002 by passing legislation that stripped them of their right to bargain for issues such as class size, class composition, and teacher-student ratios.

B.C. teachers seek damages from government as latest court battle begins

VANCOUVER - The latest court battle waged against the British Columbia government by the teachers' union could ding taxpayers for $6 billion to start, the province says. That cost will be ongoing because the union's demands to have its contract provisions restored to 2002 levels regarding class-size limits and staffing ratios would require more funding, the government said in court documents as part of a B.C. Supreme Court trial starting Monday.

Majority of B.C. teachers vote against government interference in bargaining

VANCOUVER - The BC Teachers Federation says 96 per cent of members who were polled by the union recently are backing the position taken by their contract-negotiating team. But fewer than 22,000 of the federation's 44,000 members actually cast ballots between Wednesday and Friday. Outgoing BCTF President Susan Lambert says teachers want long-term stability, a fair deal, better support for students, and negotiations that have been underway since February to continue.
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