With overwhelming support, BC Teachers approved a motion to strike. The vote was cast “to resist the unjust actions of the provincial government in yet again moving to impose a contract on the province’s 41,000 public school teachers. A total of 27,946 teachers voted yes in a province-wide vote conducted February 28 and 29, 2012. In all, 32,209 teachers cast ballots, of whom 87% voted yes.” See the BCTF for updates.
The full scale strike, limited to 3 days by the BC Labour Review Board, begins on Monday morning (6 March). On 27 January, BC teachers wore black (see BCTF Teacher p. 18), to mark the 10th anniversary of Bills 27 and 28, which stripped their collective agreements of class size, composition, and specialist service-levels language. Bill 22 is now threatening to undermine the teachers’ bargaining rights even more.
Labour advocates see this courageous escalation of job action as a spark for solidarity for coalescing the BC labour movement. At the University of British Columbia, CUPE and FAUBC contracts are in bargaining and at least two bargaining units, CUPE 116 and CUPE 2278, are looking at job action scenarios. Many BCTF members teach at the University and the BCTF strike may once again force the Faculty of Education to play its hand, as was the case for the 2005 BC teachers strike as university professors turned out in support and documented the 2005 strike. Look for leadership here from UBC’s Institute for Critical Education Studies.