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)

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 teachers rally

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

Without a contract and looking to drum up support, 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, Nanaimo 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 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: Nanaimo 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

The City of Nanaimo will further investigate an initiative to set up two 12-cabin sites to create transitional emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness. (Black Press file photo)
City of Nanaimo will ask for expressions of interest to operate tiny cabin sites

Staff expresses concern about workload, councillor says sheltering people must take priority

Capt. Alan Millbank, head of Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s Fire and Loss Prevention Division, takes photos of the scene of a blaze that heavily damaged two apartments on Wakesiah Avenue on Sunday, April 18. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
RCMP, Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigating suspicious apartment blaze

Fire destroyed ground-floor apartment, spread to second storey at Wakesiah Avenue complex

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations with RV hook-ups

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help them find a 16-year-old who has been missing since Sunday. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: 16-year-old Nanaimo boy located safe

Teen had been reported missing last week and it was thought he may have left town

Capt. Alan Millbank, head of Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s Fire and Loss Prevention Division, takes photos of the scene of a blaze that heavily damaged two apartments on Wakesiah Avenue on Sunday, April 18. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
RCMP, Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigating suspicious apartment blaze

Fire destroyed ground-floor apartment, spread to second storey at Wakesiah Avenue complex

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
B.C. man living a full, active life after double-lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

The City of Nanaimo’s finance and audit committee has recommended spending $200,000 from reserves on a feasibility study and conceptual designs for a community centre in the south end. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will study options for south-end community centre

Finance committee recommends spending $200,000 from reserves for feasibility study and concept plans

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Nanaimo NightOwls. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo NightOwls cancel season due to COVID-19

Baseball team’s inaugural season in West Coast League will have to wait until 2022

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

Most Read