The miracle man: Why all hopes hinge on mediator Vince Ready?

There is optimism among B.C. teachers for the first time this year.

Some were smiling behind picket lines today for the first time since the dispute began as mediator Vince Ready sat down with BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker and education minister Peter Fassbender behind closed doors in what are being described as “exploratory” talks. 

But why is Vince Ready the go-to guy for getting a deal?

His methods are so effective, people who have dealt with him on both sides of the bargaining table still sing his praises.

Former Premier Glen Clark says he has incredible stamina: he wears you down and then comes up with a creative solution.

B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair says he knows when to push, and he gets a solution when no else can.

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“I think he is the best in the country,” says former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm. “He has been at it for a long time… I am surprised he is still doing it as well as he is, although not surprised because he is a master at it.”

A simple Prairie boy, Ready began his working career as a steelworker at Cominco in Trail, but when he left his union roots, he stopped picking a side.

A neutral observer at the table, he has been a tough, but fair mediator in over 5,000 negotiations and ended a lot of strikes.

He settled the nurses dispute, province-wide shutdowns by government workers, ferry workers and pulp and paper employees.

He also he settled a big truckers strike that threatened to cripple the country’s economy.

With files from Brian Coxford

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