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BC Teacher's Strike

I don't intend that this be filled with daily news items but feel free to put things in here that you think will interest us, or generate discussion.
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BC Teacher's Strike

Postby NC » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:02 pm

It's time for a rant, I had told myself not to lock onto the teacher strike in BC. I live in BC and this topic floods our media. A gentleman by the name of Herbert Grubel was published in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesday, March 14. His opinion matched mine and got me to thinking about a number of topics related to the teacher's strike.

It wasn't actually this article that dragged me out of my recent quiet. It was when I went online to the Vancouver Sun and read some of the asinine comments made by the ignorant.

First Mr. Grubel's article:
Like most striking workers, B.C. teachers tend to believe they are underpaid and overworked. And like most employers today, the provincial government is facing tough economic times and can’t afford to be generous with its workers.

It’s a classic labour relations standoff that stems from attitudes deeply embedded in human nature and driving the almost universal belief that one’s work is not valued properly.

In market economies this belief is tamed by the invisible hand of competition. Employers who have unfilled vacancies pay more. If they are swamped with job applicants, they pay less. In the end, workers find jobs with the highest pay they can get and employers can afford to pay.

The market solution to determining workers’ pay was damaged when governments passed bills allowing public sector workers to form unions and strike without having to pay damages.

In the private sector, the ability of unions to extract benefits for their members through strikes is limited by market forces. If union demands are excessive, employers go bankrupt and the workers lose their jobs.

However, in the public sector, unions face no such limits. Politicians put up some resistance to union demands, but in the end give in and raise taxes to pay for the increased costs.

As a result of this game, public sector union members now enjoy compensation levels much above those for comparable private sector work. But the game is now over. Deficits are unsustainable, debt has become excessive, and the public opposes higher taxes.

In British Columbia politicians have chosen to freeze the salaries of public sector employees. This policy has been accepted by almost all public sector unions, except the teachers.

Fights between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the government have a long history. Give people the power to decide what they should be paid, and they will always try to get what they want.

The only solution to this problem is to deprive teachers of the right to strike. Such a policy is consistent with the view that anyone who does not want to work for an organization that is prohibited from striking is free to work for one where the right exists.

The policy would restore the role of market forces. The government as the employer would rationally set wages so that there are neither unfilled vacancies nor teachers looking for work. School curricula and working conditions for teachers will be set in response to demands from parents and the political pressures they generate, with input from teachers.

To not only prevent strikes but also increase the effectiveness of the educational system, the government should change the current system further by giving all parents vouchers that they spend on schools, which through competition are induced to provide the type and quality of education parents believe their children need.

Under this system, governments continue to meet their commitment to provide universal access to education. The big difference is that parents indirectly hire teachers who meet their standards, replacing the system in which teachers are hired directly by government agencies that are much less sensitive to children’s needs.

The use of vouchers will end some current practices that make contributions of questionable value to teaching such as preparation time, further education and other conditions negotiated by the union. Merit will take the place of seniority in setting teachers’ pay.

The special needs of some students are readily accommodated under the voucher system by providing them with vouchers that compensate schools for the extra cost they need to incur.

There is no time like now for at least a debate, if not action, on the prohibition of teachers’ strikes and the universal use of vouchers. The public is tired of strikes, the deficits and debt caused by excessively generous wage packages and never-ending demands for better and costly working conditions. The public is looking for leadership, not just Band-Aid solutions.

Herbert Grubel is professor of economics (emeritus) at Simon Fraser Universityand a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun,
Now to reiterate some of a comment made that I think best portrays the ideology that sets the modern "Unionist" from the rational thinkers in our society.
2:18 PM on 3/14/2012
What rot. It is the style of comfy ivory-tower fools to spew this trash. The air at the top of Burnaby mountain must be thinner than we thought. How much does your market-driven Fraser Institute pay you to barf up this rainbow lunch of ideas. Do you 'bid' for your job every year? Nope, didn't think so. And prep time? It is obvious from reading your juvenile arguments that this practice is foreign to you. You are not qualified to sit in on this argument. Shut up. Sit down. Stop wasting class time.
What sort of inane a** would submit such unconsidered drek as this idiot? Offering no solutions he instead uses the typical "attack" union methodology. Missing that he is speaking to a professor at Simon Fraser University this a** wipe suggests Mr. Grubel's arguments were not prepared, juvenile and that somehow market-driven by the Fraser Institute. Good job FWB you manage to use the name of the union pariah "Fraser Institute" in a paragraph.

I can envision the worn little pin holes in the front of his down vest where he attaches his union buttons - "Profit Is Theft".

"Do you bid for your job every year?" He asks helpfully, really? Can you imagine what sort of efficiencies our public sector would discover if they were forced to bid for their jobs?

I give up I've been reading all of the other comments, every one of them fails to see the truth in Mr. Grubel's reasoning. Unions cost more; there is no competition for the teachers, they can ask for all the money they want.

Because Mr. Grubel opposes unions he is one of the 1%. Unions make less sense now than they ever have, especially for public sector job that refuses to be measured for effectiveness.

FWB and all the other supporters should try to start up a company so they can realize how the world really runs - making more money is a privilege, not a right.

End rant.

Find - Desiderata - read it

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Postby NC » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:25 pm

I moved this over into the News section because I put it in the wrong place to start.

It bothers me that I can't fight this with anything but words. It's a short little sword but it's the only one I have - (that's called "slow and across the plate").

So the BCTF is raising dues to fight bill 22.

Their President Susan Lambert was my Grade 1 teacher, I swear! (circa 1967)!


I think it puzzling that, like legislating where prostitutes can and cannot ply their trade, so can Ms. Lambert state that "a wildcat strike is possble". it's illegal!! Why is it "possible"?

What ever happened to the other BCFT leader?


Not surprisingly, this is not the first time for the BCTF on the stage.

I found this one particularily funny: "BC Poly Blog"

There's lots of press to avail one's self of. I also liked Pete McMartin's piece:
The real struggle for him [a newly minted teacher] and thousands like him is a demographic fight, not a fight between union and government. He is young: the established teaching corps is old, and getting older. Meanwhile, the shrinking provincial market for teachers can't absorb the waves of new teachers like him.
Read the whole piece HERE

...and finally, a letter from a Van Sun reader:

Government can't afford to give in to BCTF

By Dave Bains, Vancouver Sun March 20, 2012

The B.C. Teachers' Federation is a belligerent union. It misleads the public with outlandish pronouncements and demands. Lets take the issue of mediation.

Some say mediation sounds like a conciliatory move on the part of the BCTF, so what is wrong with it? Why is the government so unreasonable?

Fact of the matter is the unions which have wisely signed on to the net-zero mandate have a clause that says if any other union gets anything above net-zero, their net-zero contracts become open to renegotiation.

The province cannot afford more than net-zero while in deficit. Keep in mind natural gas, which previously gave us huge royalties has tumbled from about $8 to $3 per unit.

Under the mediation process, if savings can be identified then those monies can go to the union. If getting a wage increase is so important to the BCTF, they can trade in some of their ample benefits.

As for wage hikes, it is not that no teacher is going to get a wage hike. All those on the step scale still automatically get wage hikes.

I respect teachers. Most of the public does too. The BCTF, with its war-like stance and its protection of poor teachers, hurts itself.

The BCTF equates respect with meeting their demands for wage and benefit hikes and having sole control of education policy. It does not compute.

Dave Bains Surrey
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
I'm going to wind this up but tomorrow we will find out if Susan Lambert stays the Union Boss or if someone new comes in.

Find - Desiderata - read it

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