“Close to zero” chance of dissatisfied teachers breaking away from BCTF: expert


VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s an idea that has come up before, and it’s being floated again — in conversation and online — in response to the labour troubles in our schools: Teachers breaking away from their union to form a new one or join another.

Is there any chance that teachers dissatisfied with their union may break away from the BCTF?

Labour expert Ken Thornicroft with the University of Victoria says the chances of that happening are “close to zero.”

He says if teachers wanted to displace the BC Teachers’ Federation and put another union in place, they would have to go through a process to decertify the BCTF and have a new union certified.

“My recollection is they would need at least 45 per cent of the teachers in the province to sign a petition to get that decertification, [get a] new certification vote… and I just don’t see that happening,” he says, adding it would be a “Herculean” task.

“This isn’t a small little workplace with 50 employees; this is a gigantic bargaining unit and just the sheer magnitude of the administrative task of going about this, I think, is such that it’s highly unlikely that it’ll even occur. Or if it did occur, that it would be successful.”

Thornicroft notes the BCTF has never been challenged before.

He says decertification applications of other unions happen regularly.

“Either because the employees are dissatisfied with union representation and wish to be negotiating their terms and conditions of employment on their own, or because perhaps another union is raiding the bargaining unit and wishes to take over representation.”

He adds the labour movement in general doesn’t like the idea of one union raiding another.

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