Teachers rally at Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district’s administration office Nov. 27 to bring awareness to education funding and the state of negotiations in a new collective bargaining agreement. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Without a deal since June, Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers rally

No substantive contract offer since April 2, says Ladysmith teachers’ union president

Without a contract and looking to drum up support, Ladysmith and Nanaimo teachers rallied at the school district’s administration office Wednesday evening.

A contract expired June 30 and a mediator, Dave Schaub, has been assisting in negotiations, but Denise Wood, Ladysmith teachers’ local union president, said the sides haven’t met since October and the union has not heard back from B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, the bargaining agent, about a request for more dates.

Teachers seek salary improvement that will address recruitment and retention in B.C., and although the Nanaimo-Ladysmith district has terms related to class size and composition, such language is sought for all districts, according to Wood.

“We are here to highlight to the public the lack of funding for public education, the state of bargaining, but also to call trustees to account because trustees direct BCPSEA,” said Wood. “The [B.C. School Trustees Association] has gone on the record as saying they support BCPSEA and their efforts at the bargaining table and that they consulted extensively with the development of the proposals that BCPSEA brought to the table, which were huge concessions and really insulting to teachers.”

RELATED: Ladysmith district sees 259 more students than projected

RELATED: School starts with uncertainty around teacher’s contract

RELATED: NDTA president worries new deal could see job losses

Wood said although a “rollover package” – essentially an extension of the previous deal – was offered in late September, the employer hasn’t brought anything new to the table since April 2.

In an e-mail, Stephanie Higginson, Nanaimo-Ladysmith trustee and BCSTA president, said she believes that next steps to reaching a deal are about both sides seeking common interest and possessing a willingness to compromise. The association is willing to work creatively and collaboratively with teachers at the table to help both in reaching their objectives, she said.

“As the employer, boards of education always work from a broader perspective, the big-picture view,” said Higginson. “We must look to balance the interest of student needs with teacher workload provisions. Collectively, the employer is looking to optimize student learning conditions through modernizing collective agreement language to meet the complex needs of students in 2019 while protecting teacher workload provisions.

“We are not looking for concessions, we are looking for changes in outdated collective agreement language that dates as far back as the late 1980s. We absolutely believe this is possible and we are willing to do this at the bargaining table.”

In a statement, B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming said the ministry hopes an agreement is reached soon.

“Negotiations are a give-and-take process,” said Fleming. “It is our hope that both sides will take time to consider this constructive path forward and consult their memberships.”

Charlene McKay, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board chairperson, said the school district supports teachers during bargaining and understands demonstrations are part of the process.

“The board encourages the provincial bargaining agents to commit to a process that will lead to a renewed collective agreement,” McKay said in an e-mail. “We respect the mediator’s request that bargaining remains at the bargaining table.”

Approximately 50 people attended the rally, say organizers.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Downtown Public Washroom project ‘shovel ready’ thanks to FortisBC community grant

FortisBC has awarded the Ladysmith Kinsmen Club $15,000 toward the Downtown Public Washroom project

LRCA Volunteer Counselling Program receives $7,500 boost from Oyster Bay Microtel

The Microtel raised funds through the MasterBUILT Common Ground program

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Ladysmith man arrested in Saanich after towed sawmill draws attention

Police located the man thanks to social media and a keen-eyed witness

Killer whales cause a scene

WHALE OF A TALE Art Carlyle captured these images of killer whales… Continue reading

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Abandoned Neucel mill in Port Alice to cost at least $17 million to decommission

Removing hazardous waste and de-risking the site ratchet up bill to taxpayers

Long-term care study credits fewer COVID deaths in B.C. than Ont. to funding, policy

The study was published Wednesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal

Most Read