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Former BCTF president disturbed by move at bargaining table

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The latest move by the BC Public School Employers’ Association to put pressure on the teachers’ union to reach a deal isn’t sitting well with a local Member of Parliament.

If a deal isn’t reached by the end of the school year, the BCPSEA has threatened to bill the union millions of dollars for teacher benefits.

Jinny Sims, who is a past president of the BC Teachers Federation, is outraged by the move, especially since the BCPSEA is just a bargaining agent–not the teachers’ actual employer.

Usually Sims isn’t thrown by politics in BC, but the unprecedented move came as a surprise.

“There’s a first for everything and nothing surprises me in BC anymore. I was actually shocked. They’re not even on full strike,” says Sims.

Teachers’ benefits have never been downloaded onto the union in any previous contract negotiations in the province.

Sims says classes aren’t being disrupted by the current phase of teacher job action so the move is uncalled for. “I think this is just a further bullying tactic. I just want everybody to sit down at the table and find an agreement, and let’s not keep playing these games.”

The BCPSEA claims it’s just trying to resolve a stalemate at the bargaining table, and if a deal is reached by June, the $5-million-a -month bill to the union will be refunded.