A silver lining among the COVID-19 concerns could be a tentative agreement between B.C.’s teacher and the province.
The deal, not yet revealed to the public, could resolve months of negotiation that put B.C.’s teaches on a potential job-action footing and puts at least some stability to the province’s pandemic-ready education system.
The BC Teachers' Federation is already letting teachers know via a Tweet that they could soon be voting on this deal, although voting during B.C.’s COVID-19 restrictions will look different this year.
“We are already working on what that would look like,” the BCTF reassured its unionized teachers, including those working in School District 43.
The tentative agreement comes as teachers are returning to work after spring break to empty classrooms where they will have to find ways to continue with student instruction without breaking social distancing rules meant to keep them safe.
The tentative agreement covers just over 45,000 teachers represented by the BCTF who deliver education to students in the province's 60 school districts.
After several days of marathon negotiation sessions this week, a tentative agreement between the BCTF and the #bced employer, BCPSEA, has been reached. Our Executive Committee is recommending the deal to the membership. An email with more info is on its way to members now.— BCTF (@bctf) March 27, 2020
In a statement today ,Thursday, the province said the tentative agreement under the B.C. government's Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate was reached between the members of the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA).
"The mandate focuses on improving services for people and ensuring fair and affordable compensation," the statement says.
Further details about the agreement will be available once the ratification processes for the teachers and the employer-members of BCPSEA have been completed.
Although the agreement is not available to the public, it was widely known that the teachers sought higher wages comparable with those in other provinces where pay is higher and they also wanted class size and compensation language improvements.
The Tri-City News will publish more details when they become available.