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BC Teachers Federation members give overwhelming yes to new contract

It’s official, BC teachers will be getting a substantial pay hike.

Last night (Wednesday), members of the BC Teachers Federation voted to ratify its agreement with the BC Public School Employers Association.

The vote was 94% in favour with 35,559 ballots cast.

The total number of eligible voters was 49,684.

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On November 1st, both groups reached a tentative three-year contract.

In an earlier interview with Vista Radio, BCTF president Clint Johnston stated the new package would see experienced educators cross the 100-thousand-dollar-a-year threshold.

Under the new deal, this will leapfrog BC into the top tier of teacher salaries.

“It’s been a long time since we were among the lowest paid in the most expensive jurisdiction and it wasn’t viable. Hopefully, the new deal will keep us on pace with that cost of living increase on what we are seeing right now. We are very happy with the deal overall and glad to recommend it to members so that teachers can continue to work in the classroom and get a good deal.”

“I think that says everything. We’ve tried to get a good read on the membership and understand where they are at and we think this deal meets their needs and is good for them.” said Johnston.

For instance, annual pay for teachers on the high end of the salary grid will make $10,000 to $13,500 more per year according to Johnston.

New members, on the other hand, would earn about $6,000 to $8,500 more per year depending on their current role.

The new deal will also include other significant benefits.

The BCTF represents nearly 49,000 teachers who deliver education to students in the province’s 60 school districts.

Johnston also issued the following statement:

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for engaging in the bargaining process and taking part in this vote. Our union is strong because of our democratic process and member-led decision making.

With ratification now successful, there is a lot to look forward to that will help members in important areas, such as salary improvements, better extended health benefits, and increases to professional development funding and preparation time.

Together, we achieved some historic gains that will help members who are struggling with the affordability crisis and will make us more competitive with other provinces to help recruit and retain more teachers.

There is a significant shortage of teachers in BC and that is negatively impacting our workload and the support we are able to provide for students. Too often, specialist teachers like counsellors are being pulled from their important work to cover classrooms, while other teachers are not getting the preparation time they are entitled to. This new deal will help BC be more competitive in terms of salary, but we need the government and school districts to do more, as the employer, to ensure our schools are properly staffed and students get the support they need.

The BCTF will be working hard in the months ahead to not only get the government to report out publicly on the impacts of the shortage, but to also take meaningful action.

Thank you for your hard work and commitment to your students. You make a lasting, positive difference in the lives of BC’s children and youth every single day.

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