Taking issue with teacher’s letter

I have little appreciation for some educated persons hiding behind the teacher position.

Editor: I would like to take this time to reply to the teacher from Langley and her letter to the editor (The Times, Jan. 5) headlined “Teachers have been busy bargaining.”

First, I would like to thank all those teachers who have shown true professionalism during these difficult labour negotiations and difficult economic times in our province.

I would also like to take the time to comment regarding a few points made by the writer of this letter. Many of her points are valid, yet many, I find, are somewhat disturbing and insulting to me, an educated business person in the Langley community.

In response to her point of “other professions such as the police and nurses” receiving raises in the past year, and reasoning that the tuition costs of teachers while they were in school should be used as a justification for raises is rather confusing. Though I cannot speak for the policing and nursing professions, I personally have spent many years receiving an education, at my own cost, with no pay, in order to have a future career.

My first job was not in my educated field of study but as a warehouse employee. I received low pay and it took many years to catch up to my education costs, once I was positioned in the business world.

I did not argue with my employer that my wage was not fair, trying to bargain with him that my wage should somehow be connected to my education costs. My employer bore no responsibility to those costs, nor should he have. The choice was mine, become educated and hopefully in the future I would be paid accordingly and solely on my job performance.

She stated that “teachers in B.C. are among the lowest paid in Canada.” Her parting comment uses the “highest cost of living” here as a reason as to why teachers should be paid more.

Why should the high cost of living in B.C. be a factor when the employer pays their employees? It is not the employer’s duty to judge and base wages with consideration given to our cost of living in B.C. Our employees get paid a fair wage for their job performance. Do your job and get paid for it. It’s an odd concept, I know.

If the economic climate is not to your liking, much like our weather, I suggest a new residence may be in order.

The point made that “teachers have paid more than $10 million dollars fighting the government” is invalid. I take great offense that she has chosen to make the point that we in the private sector do not make concessions, 0 per cent pay raises, to “improve the conditions for their customers.”

Well, we do. Tough economic times have called for tough measures. The private sector has faced and will continue to face these turbulent times head on.

I have had to make tough choices within our company to ensure all our employees have a job today, tomorrow and the day after. The management of our company has also faced a 0 per cent increase in wages for three years running, to ensure our employees keep their jobs and we maintain our position within the marketplace, while ingredient and manufacturing costs have risen over 35 per cent in those three years.

I have not raised the pricing of our end product to reflect these increases, as the public would lynch me. The company has “eaten” many of those increases. The insinuation that “we don’t” is quite a comment. It is not factual, and I will leave it to others to try to interpret and decipher.

In closing, I would like to say that as a private sector, non-unionized employee, I get paid on job performance. My job security lies with doing my job. Do it and I have one, do it poorly and I get paid in like, and don’t do it well and I am looking for new employment.

I would also like to add that in order for me to have reason to justify a raise, I have taken additional courses on my own time, outside of work hours and at my own cost. I guess I am the fool, I chose the wrong profession.

I would like to add that I truly appreciate the hard work done by our teachers who are there to teach our children. I do however have little appreciation for some educated persons hiding behind the teacher position. There is a big difference between an educator and an educated person. The educator is a teacher, the educated person is there for the money. In parting, I believe I have my facts in order.

Jeff Mitchell,