Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

BC Teachers vote for job action

At a press conference in their Vancouver headquarters this morning, the BC Teachers' Federation announced their members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action starting September 6 if no progress is made in collective bargaining with the BC Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA).

Close to 70 per cent of the union's 41,000 members voted from June 24-28, with 90 per cent voting yes in favour of job action, which calls for teachers to meet their classroom responsibilities but not attend staff meetings, supervise students out of class, or collect data. The BCTF hopes the increased pressure on school administration will translate into pressure on the BCPSEA and the government to make a deal with teachers.

"This is the latest chapter in a long and difficult history of teacher bargaining in this province," says BCTF President Susan Lambert, making specific reference to the passing of Bills 27 and 28 in January 2002 when Christy Clark was minister of education.

"Teachers all over the province see the consequences of these cuts everyday in terms of students' needs that cannot be met. And now in this latest round of bargaining the government is, once again, trying to strip our collective agreements even further."

At the bargaining table since March, the teachers' union has been asking for a wage increase that puts them on par with teachers in the rest of the country, as well as a restoration of class size and composition to pre-2002 conditions. But the government has rejected the idea of increasing salaries, citing their net-zero mandate for public service wage increases in B.C.

Teachers' aren't happy with what BCPSEA has brought to the table, either, rejecting many of their provisions, including yearly teacher evaluations, elimination of seniority rights, and allowing a forced transfer of a teacher at any time with only one month's notice.

"Facing this concerted campaign by the government and the employer to turn back the clock on our rights and to reverse provisions on due process, we had no choice but to take a stand: a stand for ourselves, a stand for our students, and a stand for public education itself," says Lambert.

While the strike vote covers job actions up to and including work stoppage, Lambert says she believes the government will come around before they get to point and she wants to reassure parents that teachers are committed to educating the province's students.

"Teachers will continue to be focused on excellence in their classrooms. Because we won't be doing many of the bureaucratic and administrative tasks that have been added onto our jobs, we will have more time to teach, to offer individual attention to students, and to keep in close communication with parents."

Katie Hyslop reports on Education for the Tyee Solutions Society.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus