BC Legislature Bill 22, undermining teachers’ / BCTF rights to fair bargaining and job action. BOO !
(1) An employee, the BCTF or an officer of the BCTF or of a local of the BCTF or a representative of the BCTF or of a local of the BCTF, who contravenes section 3 (1) (b), (c) or (e), as the case may be, commits an offence and is liable to the following:
(a) in the case of an employee, a fine amount of not more than $475 for each day on which the offence occurs;
(b) in the case of the BCTF, a fine amount of not less than $1.3 million for each day on which the offence occurs;
(c) in the case of an officer of the BCTF or of a local of the BCTF or a representative of the BCTF or of a local of the BCTF, a fine amount of not less than $2 500 for each day on which the offence occurs.
Once again on the leading edge of the labour movement, BC teachers are on strike across 60 school districts within the province. In a show of solidarity, community and labour advocates have vowed to support the teachers and the BCTF throughout the job action. On day 1, teachers and supporters showed up in force at 7:00 to create an informational line, keep signs up, and talk to those who dropped by or others workers continuing their work in the schools. The 7:00-10:0o shifts in Vancouver were met with inclement conditions– horizontal rain and howling wind. The weather spirits smiled on later shifts and heartfelt, with the public on their side, the teachers could smile for a few moments as well.
BC Teachers at U Hill Secondary
Within labour, an informational line is not a picket line per se. Labour disruption proves to be an effective strategy and in this case the teachers are taking advantage of an opportunity to show their strength, generate public support, and strike before the BC Legislature passes the ominous anti-union Bill 22. The BC Federation of Labour is rallying support and uniting the movement tomorrow (6 March) in Victoria.
It takes a ton of courage for a student to walk out of school and today these young citizens demonstrated en masse across the province. Every teacher should stand proud as their students stand side by side with one voice. Every parent of these kids should feel the payoff. And the students themselves have to know they make the difference for all of us. This is education (see slide show below).
At the Vancouver Art Gallery, at least 1,500 students convened around 2:00 and stood, spoke, and shouted in solidarity with teachers and the BCTF. Students at Eric Hamber Secondary seem to have been the first group, exiting the school around 11:00 this morning. Despite the typically uncooperative weather (5C and rainy), the students were still protesting through the late afternoon.
It has been quite some time since BC saw a student movement but what struck me most was how many showed up and how well organized the demonstration was. These kids know their politics and how to win hearts. Signs everywhere with the critique of the BC government’s decision-making loud and clear, a young woman kicked things off: “BC” she shouted and 1,500 hollered back “students”… “BC” she shouted and 1,500 screamed “teachers.” That’s a solid show of force.
As post-secondary students in BC deal with compounding challenges that seem relentless, let’s hope the high school students spark this from grass roots to an all out BC student movement. Quebec post-secondary students are putting everything on the line right now. Time to take inspiration from the younger crowd to stand up and be heard BC post-secondary students!
BC Students Walk Out March 2012 Slide Show (photos by S. Petrina)
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.
CTV: B.C. teachers plan strike vote, gov’t prepares bill
The ongoing contract dispute between British Columbia teachers and the provincial government is promising to heat up before it cools down, as each side prepares its next move. Teachers have been on a limited strike since September, and while they can’t legally walk off the job, they’ve been refusing to perform administrative duties like filling out report cards.
On Friday, the BC Teachers’ Federation, which represent 41,000 members, announced it will hold strike votes province wide, asking educators Tuesday and Wednesday whether they want to escalate limited teach-only action to a full-scale walkout.
Posted in BC Education, Strikes & Labor, Teachers, Unions
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