The teachers’ labour dispute in B.C. seems to be on a time out now that spring break is underway. During this brief respite, it makes some sense to take a look at the current model of public sector collective bargaining.
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the public sector collective bargaining process is broken. The challenge, of course, is to find ways to fix it.
To me, the teachers’ dispute demonstrates the worst failings of public sector collective bargaining, in which neither party is motivated to bargain. Each has adopted an extreme position and seems determined to stick with it until the inevitable conclusion.
Because the employer is, effectively, the provincial government and because the government has the ultimate legislative authority up its sleeve, it knows it need not compromise. And because the union knows the government will ultimately play that trump card, it has little motivation to compromise its own stance.