B.C. teachers' union offers vote on binding arbitration

Vote will ask members if they're prepared to end strike if government agrees to proposal

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Teachers’ Federation will conduct a provincewide vote on Wednesday, asking members if they’re prepared to end the strike if the government agrees to drop a contract clause over class size and composition and to binding arbitration.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender already rejected the idea of binding arbitration over the weekend, but Federation president Jim Iker says he is giving the government yet another opportunity to agree after the union spent nine hours over the weekend providing details of their proposal to the government’s chief negotiator and veteran mediator Vince Ready.

Iker told his members in a statement that binding arbitration is the most fair means of bringing an end to this long and difficult dispute.

A tax increase to pay for the contract demands of British Columbia’s striking public school teachers has also been firmly rejected by the province’s finance minister.

Mike de Jong says voters made a choice not to increase taxes when they re-elected the Liberals and the union needs to understand it has the responsibility to make realistic demands that taxpayers can afford.

De Jong says if the government accepted the union’s demands, it would cost every property owner in B.C. another 200 dollars a year (CHNL, The Canadian Press)