Abitrator rules BCTF must remove provincial matters from local tables

VANCOUVER, Sept. 2, 2011 /CNW/ - "The BC Public School Employers' Association is pleased that Arbitrator Marguerite Jackson has directed the BC Teachers' Federation to remove provincial matters from local bargaining tables," said Melanie Joy, Chair of the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA).

The BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) had sought the assistance of the Labour Relations Board given the persistence of the BCTF and its local teachers' associations in presenting provincial collective bargaining matters at local matters negotiation tables, contrary to the existing agreement on what is known as the provincial-local split of issues.

Following the referral of this dispute to the arbitrator, Arbitrator Jackson issued a first decision on August 28, and clearly stated that the BCTF could not unilaterally delegate provincial matters to local tables, as it had been doing. The arbitrator's decision today provides further direction and timelines for action.

"This issue can be put quite simply," said Joy. "The BCTF and its locals must remove all provincial matters from local tables. The BCTF must bring to the provincial table, by September 5, a list of any provincial matters at local tables that they consider key issues. And further, the BCTF has to bring any proposals associated with those matters to the table by September 16."

"This resolves a process dispute that was obstructing bargaining at both provincial and local tables," Joy said. "If the parties need further clarity, then we can go back to the arbitrator again. But she has been quite clear that the BCTF must comply with the existing agreement on which matters are provincial and which matters are local."

"The BCTF has advised us that they will be working through the weekend to provide BCPSEA with the information required by the arbitrator. The BCTF has also confirmed that they intend to meet with BCPSEA on Monday, September 5, to present the required list at the bargaining table," said Joy.

"The BCTF is starting Phase 1 of their strike on the first day of school. It is imperative that the parties engage in productive bargaining. The arbitrator's decision will assist that process," said Joy. "We also hope that the BCTF will return to the table with realism and focus, and will be prepared to move off of the $2.1 billion of compensation improvements they currently have on the table. That represents a 75% increase to teacher compensation, which is not realistic. We can't strike our way to a settlement — it has to happen at the bargaining table."

BCPSEA is the accredited bargaining agent for the province's 60 public boards of education.

SOURCE British Columbia Public School Employers' Association

For further information:

Deborah Stewart, Media Liaison
BC Public School Employers' Association
Cell: 604.764.2901 |  Office: 604.730.4506  |  www.bcpsea.bc.ca

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British Columbia Public School Employers' Association

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