Lots of interesting comments to read after this article from the Tyee.
What's Jamming Teacher Bargaining?
Sources say Clark gov't insists on clauses insulating it from another Supreme Court loss.By Crawford Kilian, 25 Aug 2014, TheTyee.ca
Bills 27 and 28, passed by the Gordon Campbell Liberal government in 2002 when Christy Clark was education minister, effectively tore up the contract teachers had been working under, and removed class size and composition from the bargaining table.
In 2011 the BC Supreme Court declared the bills unconstitutional. It gave the government one year to make amends, and in 2012 Victoria introduced Bill 22, effectively restoring what the Supreme Court had rejected.
Again the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) went back to the Supreme Court, and in January 2014 the court again ruled in the teachers' favour, saying "the government did not negotiate in good faith with the union after the Bill 28 decision.... Their strategy was to put such pressure on the union that it would provoke a strike by the union."
The government appealed the ruling and a decision is expected from the Court of Appeal sometime after hearings in October -- maybe as late as next year.
The Tyee could not confirm the existence of "rollback" language that would oblige the teachers to give up what they had gained in two Supreme Court decisions. However, the government has also proposed a clause stipulating that when the Court of Appeal decision is handed down, any existing contract may be terminated by either party and new bargaining will resume.
In effect, if the government loses a third time, it can ditch any contract the teachers may agree to in the next few weeks.
The proposal, "E.81," was submitted by the B.C. Public School Employers' Association on June 15. It says in part: "Within 60 days of the ultimate judicial decision, either party may give written notice to the other of termination of the collective agreement. If notice is given, the collective agreement terminates at the end of that school year, unless the ultimate judicial decision occurs after the end of February, in which case the termination takes place at the end of the following school year."
It is hard to imagine what the government was thinking when it proposed this, and also hard to understand why it wasn't promptly withdrawn. The BCTF has every reason to see E.81 as the government's admission that it will lose its appeal, but still hopes to escape the consequences.
Justice Griffin ordered the restoration of the 2001-02 contract, when the provincial operating education budget was almost $3.8 billion. All things being equal, that was the equivalent of $4.8 billion in today's dollars -- before adjusting to today's declining student numbers and aging-teacher demographics. And in fact last year's operating budget was $4.68 billion -- so a restoration of 2002-level funding wouldn't break the provincial bank