(This column was published in the North Shore News on Aug. 28, 2002)


Teachers' union gets failing grade in PR

 By Leo Knight

WHILE I would be the last person to suggest the public sector unions show any common sense at the best of times, I was stunned by the blatant ignorance demonstrated by members of the BCTF outside the Richmond Inn last week following a session with arbitrator Eric Rice, QC.


Rice was trying to mediate outstanding issues left over following the provincial government legislating the teachers back to work with the imposition of a three-year contract that included a 7.5 per cent salary increase. Following the session, union members who clearly emanated from the shallow end of the gene pool blocked Rice in the parking lot.


The lawyer was jostled and his vehicle blocked and rocked as he tried to leave the lot. On the TV news footage, you can clearly hear one thuggish union boor saying, "Look, he's so scared, he's shaking."


You then hear Rice saying, "I've got Parkinson's disease."


Now, apart from the incredible ignorance displayed by these so-called community leaders, as teachers represent themselves, I am appalled at the bullying tactics they took and at the concept that they revelled in causing fear. Whether or not Rice was actually scared is unclear. The teachers thought that he was and they took pleasure in it.


Did they then run home and pull the wings off some flies or boot around some puppies just for giggles?


But it didn't end there. Union leader Neil Worboys began vying for the title of Labour Leader with the Worst Understanding of Basic PR Skills. He was up against some stiff competition in Debra McPherson of the nurses' union and Jim Sinclair of the B.C. Federation of Labour.


And now, the envelope please.


It's Worboys, hands down. His performance on the John McComb show on CKNW the night after the event at the Richmond Inn was a classic in a public display of ignorance. Four times McComb asked Worboys would he apologize for his members slagging a man with Parkinson's disease because he was shaking. Four times Worboys blathered on about how tough the teachers have it, but refused to acknowledge anything wrong had occurred.


The next day after receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of complaints about the incident, Worboys realized public opinion was against him and his union. So he apologized. Or so he would have us believe.


Here is the wording of the so-called apology: "We deeply regret that teachers' anger and frustration with the political process that Mr. Rice is engaged in spilled over into this type of incident."


Come again? You're sorry that teachers are angry and that is why this happened? What self-centred arrogance.


But this is all so typical of the left, isn't it? They are only happy when they are in control. When they can't have their way they scream and yell like petulant children. They invent all sorts of scourges. They try and make society's most vulnerable think the sky is falling and all because they can't have their way.


The teachers' union is the worst of the lot. They work less than two-thirds of the time the rest of us do and they make more money, on average, than a police officer or a nurse. They whine and say they deserve it because they have a degree or they work a couple of extra hours coaching basketball. As though they are the only part of society that is educated or who puts in extra time. What stuff and nonsense.


The only reason Eric Rice was in that position is because the arrogant jerks in the BCTF wanted more than a 30 per cent in salary increases. They then began job action penalizing the very people they claim to protect: the students.


Now they are claiming this too is all about the students. Well, not in this lifetime or the next. The BCTF is all about leftist causes and self-centred ideals. Nothing more.


They should be mandated to actually teach our children to read and write and the assorted life skills they will need in adulthood. That is their job. Indoctrinating our kids in politically correct leftist nonsense is not. Yet that seems as though it is their driving motivation.


There are good teachers and bad teachers. The good teachers are appalled at what occurred in their name. The bad teachers are the ones who acted like the children they are supposed to educate.




And speaking of shame, this story was front page in the Sunday edition of the North Shore News. The headlines read, Teachers Demonstrate Against Contract Review, and inside on the turn, Counsellor and Librarian Hours Face Cuts. Not a word was mentioned about the incident with Rice.


Excuse me, but that incident was front-page news on every paper in Vancouver and the National Post, not to mention every talk show on every radio station in this market. And somehow this paper failed to even give it a mention while still covering the protest?


I'm not sure how that might have happened, but I do know that it should not have happened.






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