Re. "Time to intervene in teacher talks: SD43 board chair" (tricitynews.com).
School District 43 board chair Melissa Hyndes' suggestion that it's time for intervention in the B.C. teachers' dispute through legislation shows either a serious lack of understanding of the issues or a deliberate mischaracterization of the provincial government as a disinterested mediator.
Legislation was used illegally in 2002 by the education minister of the time, who is now the premier. The courts deemed that it was illegal for the BC Public School Employers Association to unilaterally remove class size and composition language from the contract. But even now, after the courts have twice (once on appeal) found BCPSEA's action illegal, the employer still refuses to discuss those issues -or any issues, for that matter.
The basis for the court's condemnation of BCPSEA's practice was that it found irrefutable evidence that the government was secretly directing BCPSEA's efforts at collective bargaining. In other words, BCPSEA was a puppet of the government. If the government were to impose another contract through legislation, it would be repeating the same action that was found illegal in the first place.
Labour law encourages negotiated contracts and ensures unions the right to strike. Strikes are meant to be inconvenient and costly. They are the only clout available to employees. This is the law of the land, based on fundamental human rights. A government that intervenes for the sake of convenience is in violation of these principles.
I'm surprised that a school trustee in a democracy would recommend this course of action.
Jim Watson, Coquitlam