BCTF, March 4, 2014–After a full year of bargaining and more than 40 sessions at the table, BC teachers have called for a strike vote to push back against major concession demands, an unfair salary offer, and a deliberately confrontational attempt to reverse the recent BC Supreme Court decision on class size, composition, and staffing levels, said BCTF President Jim Iker.
“Teachers care deeply about our schools, our students, and our communities. We don’t take a strike vote lightly,” said Iker. “However, this government seems incapable or unwilling to let the BC Public School Employers’ Association negotiate fairly with teachers. Christy Clark, her government, and BCPSEA are insisting on rollbacks, freezing wages, and ignoring the Supreme Court of British Columbia.”
Iker said he was incredibly disappointed and frustrated as teachers have worked hard this round to create a sense of calm and purpose at the bargaining table. While the last round was dominated by government acting in bad faith, this time teachers were hopeful that new players and a new framework agreement would help both parties reach a fair and reasonable deal….
On the call for today’s strike vote, BCTF President Jim Iker said: “For teachers, our only recourse in response to the unfair, unreasonable, and deliberately confrontational proposals at this point is to apply pressure through a strike vote. Such a vote, however, does not mean imminent school closures. We will consider all job action options and timing very carefully. Our goal is to reach a negotiated deal at the bargaining table without having to resort to job action.”
Once a strike vote is taken, a union has 90 days to activate it with some sort of job action.
The BCTF strike vote will take place on March 4, 5, and 6, 2014. Results will be announced on the evening of March 6.
Job action, if needed, will occur in stages, but any initial action will not:
- include immediate school closures or disruption for students.
- stop teachers from participating in extracurricular activities.
- affect report cards or communication with parents.
Any escalation of job action will depend on progress at the negotiating table.