Western Canada Labor Battles Show Need for Solidarity

Thirty-eight thousand public school teachers in British Columbia voted on October 23 by seventy-seven percent to end a sixteen-day strike that had brought the province to the brink of a general strike.

The teachers, members of the BC Teachers Federation, walked off the job on October 6. Bargaining for a new collective agreement was going nowhere. They were demanding a fifteen-percent pay raise over three years and the right to negotiate their conditions of work and the quality of the education services they provide. In particular, they wanted to restore the right to negotiate over classroom sizes. The latter had been steadily rising as a result of cuts to education funding.

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