The endless days of summer don't seem so endless when there's the looming spectre of possible job action in schools come fall. Members of the B.C. Teachers' Federation recently voted 90 per cent in favour of job action, should an agreement not be reached between their union and the employer, the B.C. Public School Employers' Association.
That's a strong mandate, and given how contract negotiations have gone in the past, and what we're hearing this week about the union's proposals, we can't say we're confident about any agreements being reached by then.
Over the years, in this very space, we've backed the teachers' efforts many times: their calls for renewed education funding, for re-instating contract language around class size and composition, their concerns over closed schools and lack of support for special needs students.
But we can't this week.
To be clear, the proposals - including such things as 10 days paid bereavement leave when a friend or family member dies - won't necessarily be included in the final contract for negotiation.
And we understand that there's a strategy for bargaining in which both sides tend to come out with more extreme positions than they really expect to end up in.
We hate to use the jargon, but let's be honest: it's bad optics.
The public, even those who staunchly back calls for wage increases, and improved classroom sizes and composition, will have a hard time swallowing some of these proposals - even though behind these "extreme" proposals are sincerely valid ones, like cost of living adjustments and wage increases.
This is no critique of teachers, whose jobs are critical to the very fundamentals of an open and educated society.
But we have to give a thumbs down to the union for undermining their own efforts by coming out with proposals that will do little but alienate the public.