Saturday Jan. 19, 2008 General Meeting Minutes

1. Call to order: 12:45
2. MOVED Bowles/E. Braid: That the agenda be adopted as amended. CARRIED
3. MOVED E.Braid/Jong-Bowles: That the minutes of December 11, 2007, be adopted as circulated. CARRIED

i) Treasurer – none
ii) CBC (G. Bureau) – Comments on attempt to publish new copies of contract, bargaining issues and possible schedule.
iii) Social Justice – none
iv) Pro-D (C. Pudsey) – Comments on attached report
v) TOC – none
vi) Local Rep. – see below
vii) Labour Council (M. Jong-Bowles) – General Comments.
MOVED Jong-Bowles/Bowles That the $280 from fundraising at LC Dinner/Dance last fall be donated to the Unemployment Action Centre, and that our union match that donation. CARRIED
viii) President (J. Larson) – Speaking informally on variety of subjects, including District Visioning Committee, need for contract language in the event of school closures.


i) District Visioning Committee: Recommendation from the Executive to the General Meeting that PRDTU withdraw from the Visioning Committee. MOVED Bowles/E. Braid: That the PRDTU withdraw from the District Visioning Committee. CARRIED
MOVED Konsmo/Cowley: That we place a quarter-page ad in the newspaper, explaining the union reasons for withdrawal and our position on the issue. CARRIED
ii) LR Position: Notice of resignation from LR (Marty Bowles); Gabriel Bureau appointed by Executive until election at next general meeting; our constitution requires notice of motion at this General Meeting and official election at the next (probably February).
iii) Elections of AGM Delegates (elect 2 plus alternate, president and LR go as well): MOVED V. Delorme/E. Braid: That D. Konsmo and M. Cavin be selected as scrutineers. CARRIED ELECTED: Andrew Braid, Gabriel Bureau, alt. Mae Jon-Bowles
MOVED Bowles/E.Braid: That the ballots be destroyed. CARRIED
iv) BCTF Action Plan for Teaching and Learning Update. There is money available for our local to take further action about FSAs and other concerns, if we are interested.
v) Endorsement of Candidate for Member-at-Large of BCTF – MOVED Bowles/Konsmo: That we endorse Michelle Davies as a candidate for Member-at-Large of the BCTF Executive, being elected at this year’s AGM. CARRIED MOVED Bowles/Konsmo: That the PRDTU contribute $500 toward Michelle Davies’ campaign. CARRIED MOVED Bowles/Jong-Bowless: That the PRDTU donate $200 toward the cost of “Fantasy Island” hospitality suite at this year’s AGM. CARRIED



9. ADJOURNMENT – MOVED Bowles at 2:15

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Decisions of Fall Representative Assembly

Decisions of the
Fall 2007 Representative Assembly

Collective Bargaining Defence Fund – CUPE
That the BCTF donation of $82,000 to the three striking CUPE locals in Vancouver be a charge to the Collection Bargaining Defence Fund.
Contingency Fund – Sooke
That costs related to the Sooke support demonstration be a charge to the Contingency Fund.
Reducing the Environmental Footprint
That the following motion be referred to the Executive Committee for report back to the Spring RA.
That BCTF investigate immediately ways in which it can significantly reduce its environmental footprint. Specifically, to change its policy of sending the pocket calendar (cost $19,000) and Teacher magazine ($171,000) as one-per-member and send these items on trial basis on a one per three members for one year. To begin effective January 1, 2008 to January 1, 2009.
Procedure 10.J.10-3
That the following be added to BCTF Procedure 10.J.10-3:
3(p)   That locals unable to schedule SURT training during instructional time within the school year may provide such training during non-instructional time.
3(q)   That members attending SURT training referred to in 10.J.10-3(p) can be compensated with time-in-lieu equivalent to time spent in training.
Mid Contract Modification
That locals be encouraged to negotiate, as a mid contract modification, a clause to support green lateral exchange/transfer between districts.
That there be established a link on the BCTF web site to facilitate carpooling, both to BCTF events, meetings, and generally among teachers.
Langley Special Education Review
That the BCTF provide up to an additional $15,000 in order for the Langley Teachers’ Association to successfully complete their Special Needs Inquiry, and that this be a charge to the Contingency Fund.
Bill 33
That the BCTF inform parents, boards of education, partner groups, and the public about the inability of Bill 33 to provide any genuine assistance for class composition issues.
Adult Educators
That the BCTF work with the BC College of Teachers to develop an Adult Educators’ Teaching Certificate.
TOC Costs
That the following motion be referred to the Executive Committee with report back to the Winter RA:
That the BCTF cover TOC costs when necessary for a local to send delegates and local representatives to the BCTF AGM.
1.   That the BCTF work with locals to collect from all teachers, signed Statements of Principled Assessment that express our professional belief in fair, effective, and reliable evaluation and our opposition to the Foundation Skills Assessment, district mandated assessment, provincial exams, and the proliferation of mandated standardized tests.
2.   That the Representative Assembly adopt the Support for Teaching and Learning Action Plan in principle.
3.   That the Executive Committee be granted the power to act to amend the Support for Teaching and Learning Action Plan as necessary to achieve Federation goals related to the plan.
That the Employment Equity for Aboriginal Teachers Plan be adopted.
To support members in their day-to-day work with and for students by providing effective leadership and advocacy in support of public education and by involving members in the professional, economic, and social justice initiatives of the Federation.
The challenge to the organization and its members in 2007-08 will be to continue to build upon the foundation and improvements achieved in the previous year. The following priorities are an extension of that important work.
1.   Focus on Collective Agreement Implementation and Enforcement
a. Develop and implement strategies, including training and data collection (class size, class composition, non-enrolling ratios and caseloads), that support all forms of negotiations, including local negotiations, mid contract modifications, grievance resolution, and implementation of collective agreements and legislation.
b. Develop an electronic system of consistent grievance record management and processes that will support timely and co-ordinated grievance handling.
c. Continue to build and advance the public case for inclusion in the collective agreement of all class-size, class-composition, and other working conditions matters.
d. Develop an ongoing campaign to promote full, free local bargaining.
e. Support locals in using existing legislation to help ensure adequate learning environments.
f.    Begin to build a public campaign for a fair and reasonable salary increase leading up to our next round of bargaining.
2.   Focus on Education Underfunding and Privatization
a.            Promote a funding formula that addresses issues of education quality, teacher workload, and the creeping privatization of education, and is based on the principles of equity of access and the critical value of publicly funded public education to society.
b.   Assess the cost of the implementation of BCeSIS and its impact on teacher workload and related matters.
c. Support locals in analyzing school district budgets, in resisting school closures, and in opposing cuts in services for students.
d.   Press government to fully fund all new government legislative initiatives and school program changes, including funding districts for resources losses from school fees and fully funding the implementation of Bill 33.
e.   Defend the current system of democratic community-based school governance.
f.    Ensure consistent delivery of services to all students every day of the school year.
g.   Begin a public campaign to end government funding of independent schools.
3.   Focus on Professional Autonomy and Professional Issues
a. Promote the “BCTF Statement of Professional Rights and Autonomy” which articulates the professional autonomy rights of teachers to have authority over their practice and professional development.
b.   Engage members in implementing the Federation’s Rethinking Accountability plan that challenges the government’s bureaucratic accountability scheme that emphasizes inappropriate testing, ranking, and narrow achievement measures.
c.   Provide leadership for the development of programs that assert the central role of teachers in student learning, such as Program for Quality Teaching, Peer Support, and mentorship programs.
d.   Engage members in discussions about pedagogy, professional practice, and their professional development needs.
e. Challenge government initiatives that expand the mandate of local school boards and diminish their capacity to focus on K-12 education, undermine the integration of students, and reduce access to neighbourhood schools.
f. Implement strategies that pressure government to consult with teachers, through their democratic structures, about education policy changes.
g.   Resist any attempt by government to introduce merit pay for teachers.
h.  Oppose Professional Learning Communities models that are contrived or coerced.
i.    Assess the impact of distributed learning on teachers’ work and student success.
4.   Focus on Social Justice
a. Implement decisions of the Annual General Meeting that result from the Social Justice review.
b.   Analyze and publicize the actions of governments, federal and provincial, in respect to social justice issues.
c. Develop and act on strategies that focus on increasing the success of Aboriginal students in public schools.
d.   Initiate work with members and other unions on environmental issues, including the impact of climate change on future global sustainability.
5.   Focus on Teacher Well-Being and Union Renewal
a.   Engage in a consultation with members about the future of their pension plan.
b.   Develop strategies to engage new members in the work of the union, locally and provincially.
c.   Seek government funding to develop province-wide teacher mentoring programs in each local/district.
d.   Promote the well-being of members by developing strategies that reduce the overall demands upon teachers while respecting their right to professional autonomy.
Education Funding
1.   That the BCTF demand that the Ministry of Education reverse its decision to eliminate the .5 base funding for each secondary student in Grades 10, 11, and 12.
2.   That the BCTF work with other education stakeholders to get the Ministry of Education to reverse its decision to cut funding for secondary students.
3.   That locals be encouraged to work with trustees and other local stakeholders to call on the Ministry of Education to reverse its decision to cut funding for secondary students.
4.   That locals be encouraged to lobby their MLAs to support the call for reversing the Ministry of Education decision to cut funding for secondary students.
AGM Recommendation 17
1.   That the BCTF calls on the BC government to place the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement before the legislature for debate and action rather than proceeding with the significant changes in BC that have been secretly negotiated by the BC and Alberta governments without legislative authority.
2.   The BCTF opposes the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) between Alberta and British Columbia.
Procedure 27.36 – Teachers’ Congress
That procedure 27.36 be amended by deleting #2.
Procedure 25.D.38 – Members of the RA
That procedure 25.D.38 be amended by deleting “duly accredited LRs” and replacing the phrase with “members of the Representative Assembly.”
Policy 9.A.19.10 – Provincial Exams
That policy 9.A.19.10 be amended to read: “That the BCTF’s long-term objective continue to be the elimination of provincial examinations in BC public schools.”
The following were elected to the Judicial Council:
Andre Cote (Nicola Valley), Michelle Davies (Central Okanagan), and Cliff Schwsartz (Central Okanagan).
The following were elected to the RA Agenda Committee:
Grace Hoover (Burnaby), Viva Moodley (Greater Victoria), and Paul Steer (Delta).
Michelle Davies (Prince Rupert) was elected to the BC Federation of Labour Executive Council.

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IEP Letter

  Letters for Teachers with More than 3 Designated Students
A motion was passed at the most recent executive meeting to develop and distribute a letter to teachers to aid them in communicating with parents regarding students with special needs (Please find the attached.)  Teachers in some schools have been directed not to use the letter during meetings, and I am currently discussing this issue with the board office.  The letters may be used outside of these meetings, and some teachers are choosing to simply mail them out.  For a copy of the letter or information regarding this topic, talk to your staff rep. or phone Joanna. 

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Leave Forms

The new leave forms that the Board Office is requiring employees to use were designed to be as general as possible.  They are to cover all employees in the district, not just teachers.  Therefore, there are items that may or may not be applicable to us, and many of our leaves are not present on the form. The “details” section is specifically there to deal with leaves not listed.  If you are taking a leave that is in our contract, but not listed on the form you would tick the “other” box, and then fill out the clause number. Each site has also been provided with a quick reference to the leaves available to us and the corresponding clause numbers in the contract.  The “details” section is not to share the details of your illness or other matters you deem private.  Requests for further information must follow the clauses below: 

G1.10 Teachers may be required to provide an acceptable medical certificate in relation to any absence due to illness.  Any teacher required to provide such a certificate will be notified in advance, and such notification shall not be given unreasonably G1.11  Notwithstanding paragraph G1.10, a medical certificate may be required for an illness extending beyond three days. 

Supervisors signatures are as required.  They are not required for sick leave.   A regular sick day requires nothing more than your name, and a check beside the G1 box. 

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Start of the Year Checklist

1)      Check to make sure you are on:

Automatic deduction for College of Teachers or that you have paid the College directly by June 30 for the next school year.

You are correctly on either ten or twelve month pay periods.  You may need to do paperwork on this.  Please keep a copy for your files.

All the amounts, (pay and deductions,) are correct on your pay cheque.  Do this for every pay cheque.  The amounts deducted will change during the year.

2)      Make sure you are receiving the correct amount of Prep. time.

3)      If you are on partial leave, then calculate your days missed due to statutory holidays and plan when you will have those days made up during the school year.

4)      Make an appointment to check your file at the Board Office, to clean out any information that has expired or should not be there.  Also check to make sure material is up to date on your resume etc.

5)      Plan to attend a Harassment Training workshop.

6)      You have read the information from the BCTF about class size/composition.

7)      Do not speak with an administrator about your class size and composition without Union representation.

8)      Your class size and composition are what you agreed to – copy for your records and to the Union Office.

9)      Proper supports are in place.

10)  Do not sign anything that says you will do more than you are sure you can do.  i.e. Only sign off on the number of IEP’s you know you can do.  Probably 3 or less.

11)  Plan to attend a Retirement Conference.  Find out where one is being held or when one will be in Prince Rupert.  The sooner you plan for your retirement the better, but especially if you plan to retire within 5 years.

12)  If you are at factor 88, (your years of experience plus your age equal 88,) you will probably want to withdraw from SIP.  Get the form from the Board Office and fill it out.

13)  Make sure your Seniority is correct when it comes out for the new school year.

14)  Make sure you know who your Staff Rep. is, and who fills your other Union positions.  You may want to sign on to a position yourself.

15)  Sign up for the Union email List Serve, so you can keep up with what is going on – locally and provincially.  Email me at to be included.

16)  Find out when the first General Meeting is to be held and plan to attend.

17)  Make sure you know how to locate a copy of your contract.

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Pension information

There has been a small number of teachers who have had pension service reported incorrectly by their board to the Teachers' Pension Plan (TPP), for periods when they worked less-than-half-time prior to 1993. As well, members may have other periods of service reported incorrectly.

All members are advised by both the BCTF and the TPP that they should check the accuracy of the service recorded and reported to them annually on their Member's Benefit Statements. Neither the local, nor the BCTF, have personal pension information for members, and while members receive this advice, they do not always act on it.

As service is usually not adjusted after retirement, the most important time for members to ensure the accuracy of their service is when they retire. If a member believes that their service is inaccurate, they should check what was reported by the employer.

It would be helpful if you could pass this message on to any teachers who are retiring this year.

Any teachers with questions regarding this message can contact me at the numbers below.
Arnie Lambert
Director, Income Security Division
British Columbia Teachers' Federation

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Get postings emailed to you

You can get postings emailed directly to you by going to the District Web site and subscribing under the Human Resources section.

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Message from BCTF Table Officers

The BCTF’s FSA campaign has been truly “member-driven” in
the current situation. Clearly the campaign has been
effective. Our initial strategy, of having teachers
communicate with parents about the negative consequences
of these high-stakes provincial tests, worked to raise the
awareness of parents and the public about the harmful
effects of these tests.

When the Ministry responded with measures to constrain our
actions, we were able to find alternative means of
delivering our message (the two-page Georgia Strait
centrefold comes to mind!) and not be sidetracked into a
fight on another issue. In the end the Deputy Minister has
had to put relentless pressure on superintendents,
principals and even parents who have all come to realize
that these tests are undermining the quality of public
education. And in so doing have found themselves isolated,
struggling to implement an agenda that is becoming
increasingly discredited. We were unable to adopt and
implement our planned strategy but we found other actions
that have proved to be equally effective.

Our campaign was effective because there was a clear goal
that was overwhelmingly endorsed by members. We were able
to respond to the situation as it changed with effective
analysis and alternative strategies. We were able to
convince public opinion as we continue to enjoy the
respect and credibility we achieved during our own strike
action, and because locals worked independently but in
tandem to achieve our collective goals.

The FSAs are the lynchpin of the
Accountability/Achievement agenda of the ministry. That is
why there was such a vigorous defence mounted and such
strenuous attempts to coerce administrators and parents to
participate. The FSAs, which result not only in the
ranking of schools but clearly, with the move to align
classroom assessment with FSA results, in the erosion of
the professional responsibility of teachers to design
instruction for the individual students they teach and in
the undermining of public education itself.

Through our FSA campaign we are acting at the best
standard of professional practice as advocates for public
education. Our actions have been effective. We have
succeeded in building an awareness of the hollow promise
of test-driven accountability, the negative consequences
of the achievement-at-any-price agenda and of the role of
teachers as defenders of public education.

We are grateful to all of you who have worked so hard and
so effectively. Thank you for your wisdom and your courage
in carrying out this campaign. The list serve has been an
effective tool, helping us share concerns, strategies and
successes. We are grateful for your strength and regret we
were unable to help as much as we would normally do.
Please refer to the report on the meeting that we had with
the Ministry yesterday for updates on issues related to
Bills 20, 21 and 22, the PQT grant request and the adult
educators situation.

Jinny Sims
Irene Lanzinger
Susan Lambert

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Category 5+

The BCTF and BCPSEA have agreed to the following with regard to Category 5+ issues.

Category 5+ under local rules
Teachers who began courses of study toward a category 5+ under local rules will have until June 30, 2011 to complete those studies in order to qualify under local rules. However, they will first apply to TQS to see if they qualify for the provincial certificate. Failing that, they would then apply to the district for a local certificate. That way, they will likely qualify for the provincial and not have to worry again should they change districts. 

Teachers who qualify for Category 5+ under local rules will have a certificate issued that defines it as a “district 5+” as opposed to a “provincial 5+.” Districts will be asked to submit all the names and BCCT numbers of teachers who so qualify so that the certificates will be issued without teachers having to make a submission to TQS.

Effective September 1, 2007, the provincial rules shall apply for teachers beginning a course of studies toward a Category 5+.

Retroactive pay
Teachers have until June 30, 2008 to apply for retroactive pay to April 1, 2006 for Category 5+ if they qualified for the provincial one and were not already in receipt of a local one. Retired teachers must also apply for their retroactive pay in this regard. Retroactivity does not apply to local category 5+s, only the new provincial category.

Two-year teacher programs
There is a group of teachers who took four-year degrees and then two-year teacher programs who have to date been denied Category 5+ status simply on the basis of the organization of their studies as opposed to the courses taken which in most cases qualify them for 5+ status. We have requested that TQS make any changes necessary to ensure that equity is maintained. If the courses of study equate to the qualifications for Category 5+ regardless of how they were organized in these circumstances, we believe they should receive the category status.  BCPSEA has taken no position in this regard other than to say that they are satisfied with TQS making the decisions. We will update you about this matter after the TQS board meeting on June 22, 2007.

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Purchasing service if layed-off

As this is lay-off/recall time in many school districts, I just thought I would remind Presidents that members who have been laid off can purchase the time they are on a recall list.  You may want to share the following info with any of your members who find themselves in this quandary plus file a copy of it in Section 8 of your Benefits Binders:

Purchasing Layoff Periods
You can purchase periods of layoff as a general leave of absence if you were placed on a recall list and didn’t return to work, or if you returned to work for the same or different employer and worked less than your previous assignment. You must apply to purchase this service before your recall rights expire.

Calculating the Cost
The cost of a leave of absence is based on your current full-time equivalent salary, multiplied by the length of the leave period, multiplied by:
• the current employee contribution rate (9.16% as of July 1, 2007) – this applies to maternity, parental and adoption, and compassionate care leaves, or
• the current employee and employer contribution rates (21.45% as of July 1, 2007) – this applies to general leaves

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