A looming strike/lockout in B.C. schools gets my attention more these days due to living with my son and his two school-age boys, who are bracing themselves for disappointment now that their final month of school is about to be disrupted by lockouts and rotating strikes.
One of the boys is worried about losing out on his band trip to Tofino this week, which looks pretty likely. The younger one will probably have to give up a field trip to Victoria. I'm sure there are kids like them all over B.C. who - far from cheering for more days off in the event of a work shutdown - are really worried about what this latest work action at their schools is going to mean to them.
Way to go, government and teachers. Stick it to the kids just because you're completely incapable of settling a contract like grownups.
As a CBC report rightly notes, the essence of the problem between teachers and their employers is that "this is a dysfunctional bargaining relationship." In 20 years, the B.C. Teachers' Federation and bargainers for the provincial government have successfully negotiated just two contracts. All the rest have ended up like this one.
What's up with that? If there's one thing that ought to be obvious to both sides by this point, it's that contracts come due with surprising regularity. The rest of the world manages their employment contracts without getting into a work stoppage virtually every time. Why can't these guys?
Read the media coverage and you'll soon see that there's much more than the usual contract issues running below the surface here. But really, big deal. This is not a question of who's right, it's one of why each side can't get past their own interests long enough to see how pointless and damaging all of this is.
And as always, what a disastrous message to our young people: That our government can't be trusted; that the people in charge of educating our kids are ready to throw them under the bus any time a contract expires.
Shame on everybody. Grow up, people. Find a new way, just like everybody else does when their relationship turns toxic. This public scene you're always making got tiresome quite some time ago.